Bjørn Ola Tafjord, Associate Professor at the Department of History and Religious Studies of the University of Tromsø, is studying dynamics of and interactions between religions and indigenous traditions in Talamanca, the south-eastern region of Costa Rica.
Latin America is experiencing an increasing call for more domestic controls of national resources and growing claims for a redistribution of the nations’ oil wealth from civil society. With increased revenues from oil and gas and new policy regimes in Bolivia and Venezuela, programmes for social and economic development have been publicized. “Flammable Societies” is an international research project that explores the organisation and outcome of these programmes, their potentials in reducing poverty and the conflicting interests between differing ethnic groups and classes.
In her PhD research project anthropologist Margit Ystanes explores the conditions under which a concession holding community of loggers and chicleros (men extracting chewing gum base from the forest for export purposes) in Guatemala enters into collaboration with representatives of national and foreign ‘developers’ of tourism. Ystanes suggests that people’s concept of trust should stand centrally in a comprehension of why the cooperation forum does not appear to fulfil all its proclaimed intentions.
Does original literature really exist? And if not, what is actually plagiarism ? These are among the issues that Wladimir Chavez deals with in his PhD research. From his desk in Halden, the young Ecuadorian researcher is stepping in to a literary minefield as he revises former evaluations and accusations of plagiarism among some of the history’s greatest Hispanic writers and poets. Chávez has developed his own methodology of text comparison, in order to clarify inconsistencies in use of literary terminology related to plagiarism , among colleagues.
A large collaborative research project aimed at improving the forage value of degraded pastures in Central America is now coming to an end. But the research continues, due to the project’s interesting findings and methodology.
With the appointment of Carlos Cabanillas as Associate Professor, the establishment of Spanish studies and the introduction of a new research project on cultural transfers in Latin American literature, the University of Tromsø is emerging as a new hub for research on Latin American culture and literature in Norway.
Ole Kristian Våge started on his PhD research project Harvesting the blue field: Norwegian and Spanish terminology in aquaculture within the discipline of Terminology approximately 2 years ago. Next to some teaching at the NHH, he is still working on his monograph, which in itself seems quite interdisciplinary, as may easily be associated with problem approaches from the social sciences.
Elin Cecilie Ranum's research on youth gangs, the socalled " maras ", in Central America shows that the way the state apparatus has handled the gang problem has led to an increase in violence and negative consequences for the trust in state institutions and support for democracy.
As a part of the extensive international research project Flammable Societies, the social anthropologist Iselin Åsedotter Strønen is doing field work for her doctoral thesis in low income urban areas, called barrios, in Venezuela.
By supporting the work of building competence at the local level, the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute contributes to reducing the degree of damage caused by landslides in Central America.
In his doctoral thesis in anthropology, Christian Sørhaug explains why the swamp dwelling Warao Indians pick up a bicycle at a large city garbage dump and use the funds from Chavez' missions to buy DVD players.
Mònica Guillén-Royo is currently finishing the paper Adequacy of life domains and relative consumption in Peru. The article is the culmination of five years of research on consumption and wellbeing in this Latin-American country. The study discusses the relationship between the consumption of the reference group (the group whom people compare themselves with) and people's wellbeing in seven poor Peruvian communities. It shows, in opposition to what is usually expected, that what others consume might have a greater impact on people's wellbeing than their own consumption levels.
Mariel Aguilar-Støen delivers her doctoral thesis at the Department of Ecology and Natural Resource Management at UMB, ås, in September 2008. Her thesis, entitled "Gardens in the forest: peasants, coffee and biodiversity in Candelaria Loxicha, Mexico", is a study of shade grown coffee, or coffee forest gardens, in Oaxaca, Mexico. It documents how small scale coffee production is done in a way that contributes to reforestation in the area.
Himself both a researcher and a screenwriter, José Andrés Fonseca Hidalgo at the University of Bergen has just finished his doctoral thesis on narrative tendencies in Latin American films, with samples from Colombia and his homeland Costa Rica.
In his PhD research Håvard Haarstad shows that not even Evo Morales has been able to counter the negative effect of global economic forces on the influence of labor unions.