Off to a Good Start

It’s been a crazy week-and-a-half so far.  I’ve been focusing on laying the foundation for my project.  In order to do this, I needed to sift through Fairfield Plantation’s artifact catalog to sort prehistoric contexts from historic artifacts.  This catalog is a complete list of (most) units excavated at Fairfield.  To put this in perspective, the catalog includes thousands of entries.  Needless to say, it took a while to remove every historic context from the catalog.  However, now that this step is finished, it’s time to move on the next stage of my project.

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Settled into Blantyre: Let the prep work begin!

I’ve had a great first week in Blantyre preparing for my study! In my first few days of working at clinics in Malawi, I have been able to observe some interesting social dynamics related to child feeding and hygiene. As I had expected, most of the children have been brought in by their mothers (and are often breastfeeding throughout the appointment). However, a few children have been brought in by their fathers, which goes against the norms I’d anticipated and have observed. Another interesting factor is that it is currently harvesting season in many parts of Malawi, meaning that mothers have to be in the tea/bean/rice fields to harvest and replant and are unable to bring their children in to clinic. In one case, a granny brought in a child for this reason, but we’ve also counted many children not coming for their appointments for this reason.

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The Sub-Study Begins! Entry from 5/27/13

 

We have begun the sub-study! After typing up transcriptions from community meetings that had been held the day prior, I put together a list of community members that had not yet been interviewed by the MANOS team. I decided to use this sample in hopes of interviewing a marginalized group. Using the team’s documents I identified those participants and located their homes on our map of the community. Interestingly, many of the people who had not been interviewed were located furthest from the main road. I soon found out that could have been due partially to the steep inclines and rocky terrain around some of these homes.

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Braving a Swim in Some Non-Cartesian Uncertainty

In order truly to share with you what my research process looks like, I need to continue to share my subjective feelings and reasonings publicly. However, I don’t feel justified in doing that until, as promised, I further explain a paradigm that allows for that. To this end, I’ll explain more about Jürgen Habermas’s system of communicative action.

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Week 2: Richmond, Roanoke, and Records (that were sealed)

What a week this has been. A good 15 hours on the road and many hundreds of miles later, I have interviewed two physicians, a Planned Parenthood administrator, a nurse practitioner, and a grassroots rep, spanning from Richmond to Roanoke to right here in Arlington.

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