Title

Beyond the Eyes of the Dominant: Reciprocity and Peace-Building on the Street

Presenter Information

Saeed Mohamed

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC 271

Start Date

21-5-2015

End Date

21-5-2015

Keywords

Low-income, Masculinity, Pacific Northwest

Abstract

Low-income African immigrant young men in metropolitan areas in the United States are subjected to police surveillance as well as stereotypical media representations, which emphasize violence, drug abuse, and criminality. In my fieldwork with youth in a major Pacific Northwest city, I studied the ways in which this dominant gaze is both internalized and redirected. This paper concentrates on one nighttime ethnographic incident, in which a potential gunfight between two groups of young men was narrowly averted through replacing one form of negative exchange with a positive exchange action. In this social drama, an escalation of insults led to the ominous brandishing of weapons. At a critical moment, one of the principal’s attention was reoriented through the gift of marijuana, reminding him of bonds of fictive kinship with his companions and pacifying the situation. When can such gift economies co-exist with, or overcome, hegemonic structures of power and violence?

Faculty Mentor(s)

Mark Auslander

Department/Program

Individual Studies

Additional Mentoring Department

Anthropology & Museum Studies

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May 21st, 12:40 PM May 21st, 1:00 PM

Beyond the Eyes of the Dominant: Reciprocity and Peace-Building on the Street

SURC 271

Low-income African immigrant young men in metropolitan areas in the United States are subjected to police surveillance as well as stereotypical media representations, which emphasize violence, drug abuse, and criminality. In my fieldwork with youth in a major Pacific Northwest city, I studied the ways in which this dominant gaze is both internalized and redirected. This paper concentrates on one nighttime ethnographic incident, in which a potential gunfight between two groups of young men was narrowly averted through replacing one form of negative exchange with a positive exchange action. In this social drama, an escalation of insults led to the ominous brandishing of weapons. At a critical moment, one of the principal’s attention was reoriented through the gift of marijuana, reminding him of bonds of fictive kinship with his companions and pacifying the situation. When can such gift economies co-exist with, or overcome, hegemonic structures of power and violence?