Rakopoulos, Theodoros, U. of London, London, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Anti-Mafia Livelihoods: Work and Social Change in Sicilian Agrarian Cooperatives,' supervised by Dr. Victoria Goddard
THEODOROS RAKOPOULOS, then a student at University of London, London, United Kingdom, received funding in October 2008 to aid research on 'Anti-Mafia Livelihoods: Work and Social Change in Sicilian Agrarian Cooperatives,' supervised by Dr. Victoria Goddard. The grantee conducted ethnographic fieldwork amongst people working in cooperatives that make use of assets the State confiscated from 'the mafia' in Alto Belice (western Sicily). Research focuses on the livelihoods of people connected to the 'antimafia' microoeconomy based in these cooperatives. Paying attention to local moralities of labor and politics, the grantee conducted participant observation in workers' everyday life to understand the range of accounts regarding 'antimafia' values, how they connect to social relations, and the extent to which they reflect or contradict legalistic discourses promoted within 'civil society.' Attentive to networks supporting this micro-economy, the project analyzes people's entanglements with the authorities (often patronage-based), discussing how State functionaries contribute to consolidating an 'antimafia gift-economy.' Specifically, research participants organize production relations across reciprocity chains connected to the State's 'gift:' the confiscated assets offered to them. The work presents an ethnographic account of responses to social changes triggered by State intervention in redistributing resources on claims to 'legality' basis. Investigating what mafiosi activity implies, the research contributes a dynamic, relational analysis of mafia/antimafia. Tracing people's discourses and experiences, the research locates 'mafia' in everyday activity and explores contradictions that confront individuals and collectives regarding claims to legality and commitments to moralities of kinship and friendship.
Scaramelli, Caterina, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA - To aid research on 'Swamps Into Wetlands: Water, Conservation Science and Nationhood in Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Stefan Helmreich
Preliminary abstract: How have wetlands, previously 'swamps' to be drained and reclaimed, become sites of ecological value in Turkey, starting with its participation to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance in 1994? I argue that Turkish wetlands are becoming 'ecological objects' through which debates unfold about national water conservation practices; arenas in which scientists, birders, and citizens work through the relation of human and non-human phenomena in Turkish 'nature'; and venues through which such actors position regional dynamics within national narratives, international politics, and transnational scientific economies. I will conduct fieldwork in two delta wetlands of 'international importance'-- Gediz on the Aegean Sea, and Kizilirmak on the Mediterranean -- with wetland scientists, ornithologists, residents, visitors, and state officials. I will interview older wetland protection advocates as well, and will conduct archival research to track how wetlands have been operationalized in Turkey's scientific and policy circles. Wetlands are becoming novel sites through which national and transnational differences -- religious, ethnic, gender, economic-- as well as matters of international positioning are now negotiated; whether Turkey looks to Europe, the Middle East, or Asia is very much in the making, I suggest, in the wetlands. My project also complicates the anthropological questions of water's materiality and agency, treating it neither as essential to the material form of water itself nor as obviously the result of the underdetermination of material form. I ask, rather: Who decides what constitutes water in the wetland, and through which forms of knowledge and scientific techniques? Which sociotechnical worlds and infrastructures make it flow and how, and make materiality matter or not?
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest
April 27, 2007
Tesar, Catalina Constantina, National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania - To aid training in social anthropology at U. College London, United Kingdom, Supervised by Michael Sinclair Stewart
Kuppinger, Dr. Petra Yvonne, Monmouth College, Monmouth, IL - To aid research on 'Space, Culture, and Islam in Stuttgart, Germany'
DR. PETRA YVONNE KUPPINGER, Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois, was awarded a grant in April 2006 to aid research on 'Space, Culture, and Islam in Stuttgart, Germany.' This project examined spatial and cultural aspects in Stuttgart, Germany, where Islam has become a constituting and negotiating element. Conducting ethnographic research in three mosques and a multi-cultural neighborhood, this project examined the everyday making and remaking of urban spaces and cultures with the participation of Muslim individuals and communities. Central findings include the recognition of complex articulations of Muslims and mosque communities with the city and society. Depending on localities, ethnic and religious contexts, specific individuals, and aspects of urban politics, Muslims and mosque communities participate and shape, and are shaped, by spatial, social and cultural contexts. Mosque communities integrate into local contexts, in one case as a 'local' mosque which participates, much like a church, in community affairs. Another mosque is a vibrant social and economic center, a third is a platform for dynamic debates about what it means to be a Muslim in Germany, or increasingly a German Muslim. In the multi-cultural neighborhood, contrary to public statements, Islam does not figure as a hindrance to integration. Social, educational but also occupational disadvantages as experienced by many migrant teenagers, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, figure much more prominently in this regard.
Blim, Dr. Michael L., City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'After Industrial Development: Intergenerational Social Mobility in a Central Italian Town'
DR. MICHAEL L. BLIM, City University of New York, Graduate Center, New York, New York, received an award in July 2003 to aid research on 'After Industrial Development: Intergenerational Social Mobility in a Central Italian Town.' The field-based re-study of economic and social mobility in the Marche region of Italy, Monte San Giusto, completed in August 2003, discovered that the adults of twenty-five shoe entrepreneurial and worker households first interviewed in 1981-1982 (also with a Wenner-Gren grant) have solidified their economic successes and achieved substantial social status mobility. The outcomes for their children, now adults ranging in age from 22 to 40, are more mixed. They have had a great deal of difficulty gaining a foothold in labor markets for professions and service employment, despite significantly better educational preparation than their parents, many of whom had no more than fifth-grade educations. Members of the new generation with minimum educational preparation have trouble finding work in the shoe industry, the 'mono-crop' of the area, and many avoid employment in the industry on the belief that it will not last much longer. Finding blocked opportunities in a shoe industry in semi-permanent economic crisis and in professional and service industries governed by rigid and clientalist employment practices, some of the new generation are taking up small-time entrepreneurship in food, drink, and tourism. Of those taking up manual occupations, skilled tradespeople are doing well, perhaps better than the rest. Instead of serving the shoe industry, machine tool and dye workers and prototype producers are forming small firms seeking business outside the area. The prospects for their 'escape' from the declining shoe industry are as of now uncertain.
Witeska, Anna Dominika, U. College London, London, UK - To aid research on 'Making Political Subjects in Post-Socialist Poland: Memory Workings among 'Veterans' and 'Victims of Oppression'', supervised by Dr. Michael Sinclair Stewart
ANNA WITESKA, then a student at University College London, London, United Kingdom, received funding in October 2006 to aid research on 'Making Political Subjects in Post-Socialist Poland: Memory Workings among 'Veterans' and 'Victims of Opression,'' supervised by Dr. Michael Sinclair Stewart. Research focused on the local performances of national memory politics in the aftermath of the communist regime in Poland. Looking at the processes of objectification of the communist past taking place in the authoritative settings (courtrooms, the Institute of National Remembrance, exhibition halls, official commemorative rituals, unveiling of monuments) she searched for discursive and symbolic patterns of inclusion and exclusion of political subjects into/from the commemorative landscape of the Polish historidzed state. The grantee worked mainly with two broadly defined categories of people who got politically engaged during communism: the ex-officers of the Ministry of Interior Affairs and the anti-communist activists. Combining participant observation in various institutional settings with archival work, discourse analysis, and in-depth interviews with individuals, the project tackled the mediating role that the state-institutions, their agents, and representations produced by them, have played in individual processes of remembering, commemorating, and recalling. Research findings deal with ways in which overlapping ideologically loaded notions of state, nation, sacrifice, duty, authority, democracy, Catholicism and justice become differently reconfigured in individual actions concerning the communist past. This research points towards the ambiguities of the Polish allusive model of retroactive justice and their consequences for the homo politicus of the past political era.
Witeska-Mlynarczyk, Anna. 2007. Proces W Transkrypcji. (Op.Cit.,) 3(36):41-46
Marsh, Katharine Ruth, Brown U., Providence, RI - To aid research on 'Spiritual Care on the Move: Ethics of Care, Migrant Integration, and African Pentecostalism in the United Kingdom,' supervised by Dr. Daniel Jordan Smith
Preliminary abstract: This project will examine how Pentecostal Christianity shapes practices of care-seeking, care-giving and care-receiving among African migrants in the United Kingdom (UK). African Pentecostal churches provide extensive material, emotional and spiritual assistance to their members, particularly during difficulties with physical health, financial security, immigration matters and family conflicts. Pentecostal religious commitment also has a profound impact on how people understand their relationships and obligations to others, resulting in moral and ethical frameworks that further shape how people care for themselves and for others. Focusing on a large multi-ethnic African church in a medium-sized city in the south of England, this project will investigate how these various forms of material and spiritual care impact the broader institutional and social fabric of everyday life in the city. Through 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork, I will investigate how church members navigate state-based care services and the consequences of this for how the state envisions and delivers care to its citizens. This project will also explore the extent to which Pentecostal care practices help cultivate meaningful cross-cultural relationships with those who share the same institutional, work-based and other urban social spaces as church members. My project will contribute to a broader exploration of African Pentecostalism as a force of social change in the global North, while also engaging with ongoing anthropological debates on religion, on migration and on care.
Deoanca, Adrian, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid research on 'De-railed: Infrastructure, Politics, and Postsocialist Imaginaries in Romania,' supervised by Dr. Krisztina Fehervary
Preliminary abstract: This project will investigate the relationship between the technical and socio-political dimensions of railways in postsocialist Romania. During socialism, rails have been chief material and ideological vectors of state-sponsored social modernization. Twenty-five years after the end of socialism, the infrastructure that once signified the state's capacity to deliver progress now stands for desolation and backwardness. The transformation of a system deeply imbued with socialist modernist ideology raises questions about the impact of postsocialist reform policies on the legitimacy of the state, the everyday lives, and the political imaginaries of its subjects. Premised on the dual nature of infrastructures as technological and symbolic objects, I will examine how disruptions in the functioning of the railways produce affective responses among their users, and inspire political narratives. Informed by a synthesis of actor-network theory and Peircean semiotics, I will gather the data I need through participant-observation, interviews, mobile ethnography, time-space diaries, and archival research in and around two industrial towns impacted differently by rail reform. By answering these research questions, I will contribute to theorizing about the materially-mediated relationship between the technical function and the meaning of infrastructure, and produce new insights into the role of materiality in the affective enactment of the state.