Mattioli, Fabio, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Productive Debts: The Financialization of Urban Life and the Magic of Debts in Skopje, Macedonia,' supervised by Dr. Katherine Verdery
Preliminary abstract: Despite the promise that the center of Macedonia's capital 'will become like Times Square', the urban redevelopment project Skopje 2014 has run out of money. Yet, local building companies continue to erect new buildings, borrowing materials and not paying workers on time. What drives the continuing production of Skopje 2014's new urban spaces, once debt and not capital is being accumulated? How do building companies transform negative debt relations in productive forms of credit? Based on ethnographic fieldwork in three building companies of different size, this study analyzes the stalled relations of debt within building companies, and their continuing ties to the post-socialist Macedonian State and neoliberal international lenders. This research addresses the way in which networks of reciprocity at different scales manipulate debts to turn them into credits, and the problems of conversion that occur when debts and credits move across different domains of social life.
Demetriou, Dr. Olga, Cambridge U., Cambridge, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Insecure Minorities in Conditions of Ethnic Antagonism in the Balkans and Cyprus'
DR. OLGA DEMETRIOU, of Cambridge University in Cambridge, England, was awarded a grant in June 2002 to aid research on insecure minorities under conditions of ethnic antagonism in the Balkans and Cyprus. Demetriou investigated political expressions of marginalized identities from a comparative social anthropological perspective, bringing together research previously carried out in Balkan Greece and ethnographic research in multiple sites on Cyprus. This latter part of the project was designed to compare the experience of marginalization by different groups of Turkish Cypriots living in southern Cyprus. Demetriou compared groups in urban 'ghettos' such as that of the old Turkish quarter of the town of Limassol with those living in historically mixed villages such as Potamya, a village close to the dividing Green Line, which throughout the period of communal separation remained demographically bi-communal. She examined how 'ethnic' difference became instituted in state and legal structures; how Greek and Turkish Cypriot 'coexistence' was conceptualized and manifested in the southern part of the island; and the impact of state policies on the treatment of Turkish Cypriots in an environment of perpetuated political suspension. Following the relaxation of movement restrictions across the island's dividing line in April 2003, she also turned to the ways in which the accommodation of Turkish Cypriots in Greek Cypriot discourse and governmental policy shifted, as well as how the concept of 'coexistence' was reconfigured in official and unofficial rhetoric on both sides of the island. The results of the project were to be incorporated into ongoing research on marginalization and the experience of citizenship in the southeastern Mediterranean.
Demetriou, Olga. 2007 To Cross or Not to Cross? Subjectivization and the Absent State in Cyprus. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 13(4):987-1006.
Pellegrino, Manuela, U. College London, London, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Language Policy and Ideology: The Case of Griko,' supervised by Dr. Charles W. Stewart
MANUELA PELLEGRINO, then a student at University College London, London, United Kingdom, was awarded a grant in 2008 to aid research on 'Language Policies and Ideologies: The Case of Griko,' supervised by Charles Stewart. This research investigated the politics of language revival in the case of Griko, a language of Greek origins spoken in the southern Italian Province of Lecce (Grecìa Salentina). It explored mediating processes between national and international bodies that provide funding, and local groups that support Griko, with the aim of studying the impact of national and supranational policies on local linguistic ideologies and policies. The study was based on one year of fieldwork conducted in the villages of Grecìa Salentina. Ethnography included participant observation in local cultural manifestations dedicated to Griko (music festival, seminars, poetry competition etc); semi-structured interviews with leaders of local cultural organizations and local cultural brokers engaged in Griko's revival; semi-structured interviews with village mayors and school principals; and weekly observation in Griko classes given in primary schools. In order to capture the language-scape of Griko in the period preceding the current revival, a daichronic approach was adopted covering the last 20 years.
Franquesa, Dr. Jaume, U. of Buffalo, Buffalo, NY - To aid research and writing on 'Dignity and Power: Energy, Nature and the State in Rural Spain' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
Preliminary abstract: My book 'Dignity and Power: Energy, Nature, and the State in Rural Spain' aims to contribute to the anthropological comprehension of energy transitions through a historically informed, socially situated study of the development of renewable energy in Spain. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Southern Catalonia, the book analyzes the institutional arrangements, cultural mediations and social relations of production through which the energy from wind is harnessed. My research shows that energy transitions are complex, multilayered processes that open possibilities for new social arrangements, while also highlighting the ways that such new social arrangements rework inherited relationships of power. I analyze the contradictory tensions pervading this process, patent in the fact that wind energy development has created new ecological imbalances between producing and consuming regions, despite marking a clear step forward in environmental terms. The book explores local resistance to wind farm installation, and analyzes the cultural categories that frame these movements, placing special emphasis on the notion of dignity. Deeply rooted in historical peasant struggles, a range of local actors mobilizes the notion of dignity to express criticism against the increasing centralization of the country's energy model, thus providing crucial insights into the relationship between renewables and democratic decision-making.
Robbins, Jessica, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - To aid engaged activities on 'Beyond 'Active' Aging and Abandonment: Relations of Suffering, Care, and Hope in Postsocialist Poland,' 2013, Wroclaw, Poland
JESSICA ROBBINS, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, received an Engaged Anthropology Grant in August 2012 to aid ' Beyond 'Active' Aging and Abandonment: Relations of Suffering, Care, and Hope in Postsocialist Poland.' In May 2013, the University of Lower Silesia in Wroclaw, Poland, hosted two workshops based on the grantee's doctoral research on aging in Poland. The research found that experiences and ideals of aging in Poland are characterized by discursive and institutional contrasts between modern, progressive, and 'active' older adults, and supposedly 'backwards,' suffering, and abandoned elders in institutional care. Based on ethnographic findings that processes of relatedness provide other possibilities for moral personhood in old age, the workshops tried to avoid common practical and scholarly binary distinctions of in/dependence, East/West, and socialism/capitalism, and instead attempted to forge connections among practitioners and scholars. The first day's workshop brought together over seventy professionals and scholars working in fields related to aging, as well as older Poles themselves, for lively panel and open-forum discussions. The second day's workshop was an intimate conversation among anthropologists about the utility of the categories of socialism and postsocialism in contemporary research in central/eastern Europe based on scholars' ethnographic, anthropological, and historical research. During both days of the workshops, the topics of memory, personhood, and kinship recurred as vital areas to understanding contemporary Polish life.
Harmansah, Rabia, U. of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA - To aid research on 'Social Forgetting in Post-Conflict Landscapes in Cyprus,' supervised by Dr. Robert M. Hayden
RABIA HARMANSAH, then a student at University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, received a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Social Forgetting in Post-Conflict Landscapes in Cyprus,' supervised by Dr. Robert Hayden. The research investigated the practice of social forgetting by relating it to the selective construction of history and to the human interactions with the commemorative and religious landscape. Social forgetting was taken as practices of disremembering, misremembering, omitting, distorting, or silencing past events/experiences and their traces, in order to shape the collective memory. The research, conducted in Republic of Cyprus and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in 2011-12, entailed multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork, semi-structured and unstructured interviews with Greek/Turkish Cypriots and immigrant Turks, participant observation, archival research, and examination of patterns of transformations in built landscape. The research demonstrated that the local perceptions of the past have been shaped not simply by the official discourses, but by various complex cultural processes, personal experiences and active engagement of ordinary people with landscape in the process of memory and history. The research addressed theoretical and analytical issues of understanding social forgetting not only as a negation, neglect, failure of remembering, or unintended social amnesia, but as a positive process through which a certain kind of knowledge of the past is produced deliberately and actively by obscuring material evidence of what others wish to have remembered.
Silian, Alina Petronela, Central European U., Budapest, Hungary - To aid research on 'Identity Politics, Knowledge Production, and Governmentality: The Romani Politics of Difference in Romania,' supervised by Dr. Ayse S. Caglar
Karaca, Banu, City U. of New York Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Claiming Modernity through Aesthetics: A Comparative Look at Germany and Turkey,' supervised by Dr. Vincent Crapanzano
BANU KARACA, while a student at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York, received a grant to aid research on 'Claiming Modernity through Aesthetics: A Comparative Look At Germany and Turkey', supervised by Dr. Vincent Crapanzano. This comparative study is based on fieldwork conducted in the contemporary art scenes of Berlin and Istanbul. Drawing from interviews with artists, curators, critics, gallery directors, corporate sponsors, foundation and government officials, as well as observations at contemporary arts institutions, including each city's Biennial, and the analysis of cultural policy documents this research examines how divergent conceptions of art are mediated within the art world. Furthermore, this study centers on how modernization and nation-building processes in both Germany and Turkey impact the discourses, policies and practices in their present-day art scenes. In so doing, rather than asking questions about a Turkish or German 'kind of modernity' it aims to understand respective experiences and, most importantly, probe paradoxes of modernity through the lens of the arts. Paradoxes that manifest themselves, for instance, in tensions between the civic impact accorded to art and its pliability to market forces, and between understandings of art as a universally human and also particularly national expression.
Tishkov, Dr. Valery A., Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia - To aid research on 'Anthropology of Complaint: Changing Life Perceptions, Identities and Outside World Images in Transforming Russia'
DR. VALERY TISHKOV, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia, was awarded a grant in January 2001, to aid research on 'Anthropology of Complaint:Changing Life Perceptions, Identities and Outside World Images in Transforming Russia.' This research is a basic revision of the crisis paradigm in Russia based on a study of complaints, fears, and concerns demonstrated through surveys and participant observations by different strata, regional and cultural groups of the country. Research disclosed disparities between 'real life' improvements for the majority of Russian people and its negative perceptions dominant in public and academic discourses. The reasons for disparities and miscalculations lie in inadequate expert analysis of a rapidly changing society, in political instrumentalism, in mental inertia of producers alld consumers of elitist prescriptions. Several basic conclusions are meaningful for anthropological analysis of social change. The society overloaded with changes can perceive in negative terms even changes to the good. The growing complexity and uncertainties represent a challenge that is difficult to meet for post-Soviet populace accustomed to one-dimtnsional thinking, state protection, and a strictly controlled social life. At the same time, highly educated populace in Russia demonstrated innovative strategies and reached unprecedented level of consumption, often through extra-legal entrepreneurial activities. Complaint became a part of collective and individual strategjes to get more sympathy and material rewards. But the structureof complaints shows that Russia is a normal country where people are more concerned with basic needs in socia! conditions and individual success then in collective aspirations, such as a country status or ethnic group sovereignty. People in Russia are muddling through transformations as people do in other societies. This research helps to overcome a real crisis of understanding on how societies change and how people perceive and use these changes.
Leeds, Adam Ephraim, U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - To aid research on 'On the Subjects of Political Economy: Liberalism, Crisis, and Economic Knowledge in Russian Think Tanks,' supervised by Dr, Adriana Petryna
ADAM E. LEEDS, then a student at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received a grant in May 2010 to aid research on 'On the Subjects of Political Economy: Liberalism, Crisis, and Economic Knowledge in Russian Think Tanks,' supervised by Dr. Adriana Petryna. This fieldwork investigated the transformations in economic knowledge production in Moscow. The end of the Soviet Union meant the end of the ideological master code (Marxist-Leninism) governing uneasily co-existing strands of economic knowledge, the social system in which these knowledges formed, and the institutional regime within which they had been the means of social action. The community of economists in Moscow now constitutes a fractured field. Moving within it, this work examined several different moments in economic knowledge development: from 1960s 'market socialist' reformism and the dream of optimal planning, to the birth of the Gaidar team and their microeconomic critique of the Soviet state, to the international assembly of the think-tank world, to the implantation of Western economics, to the constitution of 'transition economics' as a subfield and its subsequent dissolution into a new comparative political economy of development. It tacks back and forth between underlying political imaginaries, ideologies of objectivity, and the everyday practices of economists working in different institutional locales. Finally, it asks: What are the meanings of capitalism, liberalism, and democracy today? How are they related? How do they, don't they, or should they operate in Russia? and, of course, What is to be done?