Identities, Cultures, Vulnerabilities
Identities, Cultures, Vulnerabilities
This research group promotes ethnographic-based research on themes of contemporary relevance, social impact and historical breadth. Researchers are predominantly anthropologists or anthropology-inclined sociologists, social geographers, historians, historians of science, psychologists and visual artists. Research conducted in this RG varies in subject and scale, from small-scale projects for immediate execution in communities with selected social and academic partners (migrant communities, inner-city, ethnography-based art, scientific societies, food practices) to large-scale projects based on funding allowing for team expansion, sustained ethnographic and archival research.
Our general aim is to document and analyse the ways in which groups and societies retain, reshape and reinvent their cultural legacies in the context of changing social landscapes. Changing social landscapes account for new, short-span, multi-cycle migrations and economic-related displacements that redefine and expand the flows of global circulation, with emerging mobile populations and with reinvented meanings for objects, consumptions, relationships, religious, special and political belongings; for the increasing income gaps and precariousness of labour, with new health vulnerabilities and shifting generational relationships; for reconfigurations in collective identities and faith-based movements in contexts of changing political landscapes and renewed arenas for xenophobia, racism and/or new patterns of conviviality.
Drawing on recent developments in anthropology, social history, sociology of culture and social psychology, and aiming to contribute for further conceptual developments across those disciplines, our group gathers senior and junior researchers, graduate students, visiting scholars and international partners engaged in the goal of documenting, with hands-on ethnographic or ethnographic inspired methods, what its like to live in the contemporary world, beyond the cold depictions of statistics, policy reports and quantitative-based analytical models.
The research will be organized into four clusters:
- CIRCULATIONS: people, capitals, objects, ideas. Accounting for the flows of people, capitals, objects, ideas, this cluster will host projects addressing (a) the experience of migration, displacement, border-crossing, re-defined ethnicities; (b) the circulation of goods, objects of consumption, desires, practices and meanings; (c) memory, heritage and the uses of the past. Drawing on previous experience on multi-site fieldwork, researchers are encouraged to develop new methodologies and account for the theoretical impact of their findings.
- EMBODIMENTS: health, science, labour, food. The cluster 'embodiments' will host projects addressing (a) different practices and cognitions related to health and well being, plus the resulting tensions in access to care; (b) the practices of science and the uses of knowledge in society; (c) the reconfigurations of labour and resulting vulnerabilities; (d) access to food, cuisine legacies and practices of commensality. While working on different empirical objects, researchers will converge in the prospect of theorizing along shared conceptual tools and analytical models.
- PLACE: personhood, belonging, territorialities. This cluster will include projects on (a) the experience of land as property and as territoriality in post-colonial contexts, accounting for colonial legacies, repair and compensation; (b) the making of territorialities in shifting urban landscapes; (c) shared places and multiple belongings. The synergy between different projects will promote conceptual development and methodological innovation.
- COLLECTIVE COGNITIONS: nationalism, religion, ideologies, conflicts, inclusiveness. This broad cluster will encompass research projects on (a) religiousness and religions in the contemporary world -- new, old, reconfigured, transformed, transnational; (b) nationalism as a latent and driving force in contemporary transnational societies; (c) ideologies and practices of citizenship, inclusion and exclusion (racism, xenophobia, etc); (d) new ideologies and insurgencies in the 21st century. Addressing the reconfigurations of classical research subjects, this cluster will be at once a locus for theoretical development and an observatory for the contemporary world.