Mursic, Rajko, U. of Ljubljana, Slovenia - To aid 10th EASA conference on 'Experiencing Diversity and Mutuality,' 2008, Ljubljana, Slovenia
'Experiencing Diversity and Mutuality: The 10th Biennial Conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists'
August 26-29, 2008, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Organizer: Rajko Mursic (University of Ljubljana)
The 10th biennial conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) aimed to explore public discourse on diversity and cross-cultural communication and highlight the underestimated aspects of mutuality, such as the borrowing of practices and beliefs. Approximately 1,200 international scientists attended the conference and participated in 121 workshops and presented 1,040 papers. They also participated in plenary sessions, round tables, network meetings, special events, etc. Funding from Wenner-Gren Foundation was used to defray travel and accommodations for 52 participants, as well as provide support for the 'Claude Levi-Strauss Centennial Tribute' as well as the Levi-Strauss Chill-out Room, which presented videos about the scholar and his books. The exhibition was an opportunity for younger scholars and students of anthropology and related sciences to learn more about the famous ethnologist.
Erickson, Dr. Bradley Robert, Independent Scholar, Oakland, CA - To aid research on 'Convivència and Local Citizenship: A New Path for Islam in Europe?'
Preliminary Abstract: The project explores how Muslim communities grapple with isolation as they experiment with European plural modernity and novel forms of citizenship. This research centers on the region of Catalonia, Spain, where half of Spain's Muslims reside, and specifically, on the city of Vilanova i la Geltrú. The people of Vilanova--both hosts and immigrants--deploy the term convivència (engaged coexistence), as a discourse orienting ideals and practices of virtuous community life. Convivència constitutes a space of tension and negotiation that serves as a secular model for managing difference which has been embraced by the city's Muslim community. Convivència forms a new front of popular autonomy that is unmistakably both modern and sectarian, thereby assimilating religion and civil society. The key question is: how does convivència--a discourse with autochthonous Iberian roots and internationalist Islamic supports--conform to or challenge conventional understandings of citizenship and liberal pluralism? At a time of escalating tensions about Islam in Europe, this research contributes to our understanding of new possibilities of plural coexistence at the crossroads of ethics and politics.
Prato, Dr. Giuliana Beatrice, U. of Kent, Canterbury, United Kingdom - To aid IUAES inter-congress on 'Urban Identity, Power, and Space: The Case of the Trans-European Corridors,' 2007, Tirana, Albania, in collaboration with Dr. Italo Pardo
'Urban Identity, Power, and Space; The Case of Trans-European Corridors'
August 21-27, 2007, University Our Lady of Good Counsel, Tirana, Albania
Organizers: Dr. Giuliana Beatrice Prato and Dr. Italo Pardo (University of Kent)
The IUAES Commission on Urban Anthropology's Silver Jubilee conference stimulated well-integrated analyses of key issues in contemporary Europe. It brought together high quality, ethnographically varied papers offered by a strong field of international specialists from anthropology and other disciplines, including sociology, geography, and political science. Junior scholars were actively encouraged to present their work and participate in the discussions. Conference participants discussed the processes that are occurring throughout Europe in relation to the construction of the Trans-European Corridors and their impact at local, national, and international levels. Contributions addressed such issues as urban change and expansion, internal migration, integration and citizens' rights, and the methodological challenges raised by carrying out research in this new geo-political situation. The conference was structured around three major sessions: 'Corridors of Power;' 'Anthropology, Research and Local Spaces;' and 'History and Memories,' as well as a session of poster presentations. The meeting as a whole was an expression of the contribution offered by interdisciplinary debate to a renewed theoretical and methodological approach. It highlighted the value of an in-depth anthropological understanding of the political systems, and culture, of the societies that we study.
Guell, Cornelia, U. of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Chronic Illness at the Margins: Turkish Immigrant Experiences of Type 2 Diabetes in Berlin,' supervised by Dr. Stefan Mathias Ecks
CORNELIA GUELL, then a student at the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, was awarded a grant in May 2007, to aid research on 'Chronic Illness at the Margins: Turkish Immigrant Experiences of Type 2 Diabetes in Berlin,' supervised by Dr. Stefan M. Ecks. This research explored Turkish migrants? experience with diabetes in Germany. Health statistics frequently identify minority groups as vulnerable to chronic illness, and ethnographic studies, accordingly, explore conflictual lay beliefs and medical encounters, and experiences of suffering and inequality. Interviews with healthcare professionals alluded to a Turkish migrant patient group disadvantaged and immobilized by high illiteracy rates, lacking language and health knowledge. Further ethnographic exploration, however, revealed an active engagement with diabetes within the Turkish migrant population of Berlin. Informal diabetes care, for example a Turkish-language self-help group, was individually and communally negotiated where formal care was inadequate. 'Diabetes among Turkish-origin Berliners' can therefore be understood as a form of political activism and economic enterprise that involves a whole community, not only patients and their healthcare professionals, in order to fill a provision gap. On an individual level, migrant diabetes patients who have access to such care support manage their self-care actively, for example negotiating between clinical German dietary recommendations and their Turkish home cooking. Rather than representing the common image of the inert, disadvantaged migrant patient, these Turkish migrants engage in deliberate 'tactics of diabetes control' in order to make their chronic illness experience habitable.
Guell, Cornelia. 2011. Candie(e)d Actions: Biosocialities of Turkish Berliners Living with Diabetes. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 25(3):377-394.
Guell, Cornelia. 2012. Self-Care at the Margins: Meals and Meters in Migrants' Diabetes Tactics. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 26(4):518-533.
Sabate, Dr. Irene, U. of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain - To aid research on 'The Spanish Home Repossessions Crisis as a Case for the Study of Debt and Credit'
Preliminary abstract: The object of this research proposal is the (over-)indebtedness of households derived from mortgage borrowing in Spain, focusing on the strategies used by households and ordinary people in order to cope with their difficulties to repay, and the relationship between the perception of their condition as debtors and their life projects. Credit and debt relations are examined in this context, paying special attention to the articulation of moral economies with hegemonic understandings of financial market dynamics. The current wave of repossessions is interpreted here as a breach of the obligation to repay on a societal scale, which provides it with the potential to contest the usual dynamics of debt and credit relations under 'conventional' capitalist circumstances. A vigourous, grassroots social movement, the Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH), that has emerged in the aim of representing debtor's interests, is playing a crucial role in trying to reverse commonly accepted moral judgements about lenders and borrowers, and about the practice of lending and borrowing, while contesting the penetration of household economies by finance capital.
Isenhour, Cynthia K. U., of Kentucky, Lexington, KY - To aid reseach on 'Exploring Sustainable Consumerism as a Response to Perceived Environmental Risk,' supervised by Dr. Lisa Cliggett
CYNTHIA K. ISENHOUR, then a student at University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'Exploring Sustainable Consumerism as a Response to Perceived Environmental Risk,' supervised by Dr. Lisa Cliggett. While perceptions of ecological degradation have inspired a wide range of responses from citizens and states alike, this research focuses on individual attempts to reduce ecological risk via consumption practice. Over the past 30 years we've seen the proliferation of recycled, eco-labeled and organic goods in the market and a significant rise in voluntary simplicity groups, compacters, boycotts and buycotts. However, very little is known about 'sustainable consumers.' Drawing on in-depth ethnographic research with 72 individuals and 28 interviews with governmental, academic, and NGOs in Sweden, this paper focuses on the environmental philosophies, views of nature, and perceptions of risk that underlie alternative consumption discourse and behavior. The data reveal significant diversity. Environmental philosophies range from radical eco-socialism to ecological modernization while perceptions of risk range from feelings of acute and immediate personal risk to vague perceptions of future risk to others. There is also great variability in sustainable consumption behavior. While some buy eco-labeled products as often as possible, others are selling their cars, growing their own food and buying clothes second-hand. Despite this considerable diversity, however, the data suggest several interesting relationships between perception and sustainable consumer motivation and action in the Swedish context.
Isenhour, Cindy. 2010. Building Sustainable Societies: A Swedish Case Study on the Limits of Reflexive Modernization. American Ethnologist 37(3):511-525.
Kim, Dong Ju, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on ''True Modern Scientific Agriculture': Interactive Knowledge of Soil Nutrients among Farmers and Scientists in Post-Socialist Poland,' supervised by Dr. Gillian Feeley-Harnik
DONG JU KIM, then a student at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, was awarded a grant in April 2008, to aid research on ''True Modern Scientific Agriculture:' Interactive Knowledge of Soil Nutrients among Farmers and Scientists in Post-Socialist Poland,' supervised by Dr. Gillian Feeley-Harnik. This project examined the impact of EU agricultural policy in Poland and its implications for ecologically sustainable management of state-owned and private farmlands. The grantee expected that the new policy and environmental standards, although designed to sustain small farmers and the environment, would be better observed and more effective in former state farms with state-owned lands. It was discovered that corporate farm managers often criticized the European Union because they believed direct subsidies enabled small farmers to survive, thus keeping Polish agriculture from developing towards modern European standards. Private farmers, on the other hand, contended that taking good care of the soil and practicing environmentally responsible agriculture could only happen with thorough care and knowledge of owned land. The barriers corporate farms faced in practicing sustainability were declining profitability and the fact that employees did not care as much about the soil and environmental consequences. In contrast, small farmers did care for the soil but learned changes slowly, and had to deal with lower profits and more uncertainty with limited crops. However, small farmers and corporate farm managers agreed that continued distribution of information about proper dosages of chemical fertilizer and herbicide is essential for profitable and sustainable cultivation.
Ammerman, Prof. Albert J., Colgate U., Hamilton, NY - To aid 'The Longitudinal Study of Landscape Dynamics at Acconia in Italy'
DR. ALBERT J. AMMERMAN, Colgate University, Hamilton, New York, received funding in May 2007 to aid research on 'The Longitudinal Study of Landscape Dynamics at Acconia in Italy.' Land use at Acconia has witnessed dramatic changes over the last 80 years. If one goes back to the 1930s, malaria was endemic on the coastal plain and the main activity in the area was the seasonal herding of animals. Today there is prosperity at Acconia due to the production of strawberries and other forms of horticulture in greenhouses. The first strawberries were grown in the mid-1960s, and the number of strawberry fields has steadily increased since then. Under the grant, there was the chance to conduct the fourth mapping of land use in 2007. Previously, the mapping of the whole landscape on a field-by-field basis had been done in 1980, 1989, and 1998. Thus, the four maps now make it possible to trace the evolution of the landscape in detail over a span of 27 years. The fourth mapping revealed, among other things, the further intensification of strawberry production and the recent collapse of the citrus sector. And there are signs today -- rising costs and changing attitudes -- that strawberry production itself is on the verge of a crisis. In addition, the many interviews conducted in 2007 and 2008 have led to a new understanding of the social and economic changes that have gone hand in hand with the transformation of the landscape over the last 27 years. Finally, mention should be made of the implications of the study for the development of recovery theory when it comes to the design and interpretation of archeological surveys.
Van Den Bos, Dr. Matthijs, Birkbeck College, U. of London, London, UK - To aid research on 'European Shi'ism: Peripheral Networks and Religious Renewal'
DR. MATTHIJS VAN DEN BOS, Birkbeck College, University of London, London, United Kingdom, was awarded funding in May 2007, to aid research on 'European Shi'ism: Peripheral Networks and Religious Renewal.' The research has explored networks and religiosity of Shiites in Europe to answer the question of what comprises European Shiism. It was hypothesised that Shiism in Europe occupies a peripheral position, enhancing autonomous 'European (Shiite) Islam' through context sensitive lay religious exegeses and the adoption of reformist thought that decenters clerical jurisprudence. These issues were investigated through a database of approximately 300 Dutch and British organizations, and key French and German organizations, which listed their board members and ethnic affiliations; approximately thirty interviews with representative Shiites in Britain, the Netherlands and Iran; exploring Shiite publications; and observing Shiite communal life in Britain. Core findings refuted the premises. Many key organizations were related to global Shiite authority; Shiites' formal organizational life in Europe did not cohere cross-ethnically and transnationally, but was nationally and ethnically fragmented. Thus, European Shiism did not constitute a particular, peripheral space. The research identified both indicators of European Shiism, lay readings and decentering jurisprudence, but did not find them to define European Shiism. Ideational lines in major lay organizations derived from clerical statements; a non-jurisprudential focus was experimented with at relatively low levels in an hierarchy of knowledge where provision at Iranian (and Iraqi) seminaries ranked supreme.
van den Bos, Matthijs. 2012. European Shiism? Counterpoints from Shiites' Organization in Britain and the Netherlands. Ethnicities 12(5):556-580.
van den Bos, Matthijs. 2012. 'European Islam' in the Iranian Ettehadiyeh. In Shi'I Islam and Identity: Religion Politics and Change in the Global Muslim Community. L. Ridgeon, ed. Routledge: London.