As global health inequities continue to widen, policymakers are redoubling their efforts to address them. Yet the effectiveness and quality of these programs vary considerably, sometimes resulting in the reverse of expected outcomes. While local political issues or cultural conflicts may play a part in these situations, an important new book points to a universal factor: the prevailing deficit model of assessing health needs, which puts disadvantaged communities on the defensive while ignoring their potential strengths.
This volume presents the data, analyses, and interpretation of a wide range of osteological and burial data. The Petexbatun bioarchaeology subproject included complete assessment of burial practice and osteology. The chapters on this research explore population variability in time and space, paleopathology, and trauma from skeletal remains throughout the various sites and the inter-site areas of the Petexbatun, as well as from Seibal and Altar de Sacrificios. Yet Wright's innovative study goes on to apply the most recent physical and chemical techniques, particularly isotopic analysis, to assess diet and health in the populations of the Pasion region. Variability between sites, across levels of status, and over time are assessed and conservatively interpreted in the light of contemporary issues and problems of physical, chemical, and statistical methodology. Finally, the Petexbatun and Pasion region results are compared in order to reassess past and current studies and interpretation of skeletal remains in other regions of the ancient Maya lowlands. In the final chapters of this work, Wright's cutting-edge osteological analyses are used to critique current alternative interpretations of Late Classic to Postclassic culture history and alternative hypotheses on the role of changes in climate, ecology, diet, nutrition, invasion, and other factors in the end of Classic Maya civilization and the transition to the Postclassic period.
This volume also provides an independent assessment of the results of other Petexbatun region subprojects and a comparative evaluation of recent studies by other projects of Late and Terminal Classic culture change. For bioarchaeologists, this work sets a new standard in breadth and depth of osteological study. For Pre-Columbian scholars in general, it provides new insights into the environmental and biological issues involved in the debate on the end of the Classic period of Maya civilization.
VIMA Series #2
Organizational life has inevitably felt the knock-on effect of the economic downturn and the unease that has accompanied it. High unemployment, redundancy and fear for the future are commonplace. Studies repeatedly show that 'trust' in the workplace is critical to ensure a happy and productive workforce and yet trust in organizations and management is at an all-time low. As fear permeates organizations, from the top layers of management down to the ground floor, the knee-jerk reaction is often an attempt to impose control; hierarchical control supported by regulation, red tape and rigid administration; control through performance targets, and control of oneself, in order to survive in a toxic working climate. This approach rarely works. Fear and over-control lead to paralysis; risk aversion, a lack of innovation and a depressed workforce. It may seem counter-intuitive, but placing greater emphasis on 'human' values of trust, participation and greater autonomy in the workplace has been shown to promote a happier, more engaged and more pro-active workforce. People stay longer, put in more effort and work together more cooperatively. Equally important, productivity increases. This has been shown to hold true even in times of restructuring and redundancies. This essay explores the human and business costs of viewing staff primarily as a resource and looks at ways of re-thinking organizations. In particular, it examines Qualitative Productivity as a route to healthy, productive and innovative organizations.
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