EASA, 2010: EASA2010: Crisis and imagination

Maynooth, 24/08/2010 – 27/08/2010

(Plenary C)

Young Scholars Forum

Location John Hume Lecture Theatres 1, 2, 3 and 4
Date and Start Time 27 Aug, 2010 at 09:00


Mark Maguire (Maynooth University) email
Stuart McLean (University of Minnesota) email
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Long Abstract

This plenary is a chance to show-case some emerging younger talent.

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.


'Here we're poor, right?!' Crisis, life-course and migration between Portugal and Bangladesh

Author: José Mapril (Universidade Nova de Lisboa and Center for Research in Anthropology (CRIA))  email
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Long Abstract

This paper will explore the relation between migration and crisis. The argument is twofold: on one hand, migration is frequently perceived as a way to overcome crisis related to economic, generational and life-course issues. On the other, though, it is in itself an experience fraught with ambiguities, where subjects have to deal with several vulnerabilities and dangers.

Based on an ethnography carried out between 2003 and 2008, it will be shown how young middle class, urbanized, Bangladeshi adults, face migration to bidesh (the Bengali word for foreign country), namely continental Europe, as a way to overcome unemployment and proceed in their life-course. However, migration is an ambiguous experience. Not only they have to follow unsafe migratory routes but also, once in Schengen, their status is frequently marked by "illegality", "undocumentation" and "informality". Some are able to overcome such a predicament and become "successful", exemplary figures, but others continually perceive their migration experience as a crisis.

'Any port in a storm': responding to crisis in the world of shipping

Author: Johanna Markkula (Stanford University)  email
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Long Abstract

In order to keep their businesses "afloat" in the global financial crisis, shipping companies increasingly opt for Flags of Convenience: a solution which compromises the wellbeing of their crews, entailing lower salaries and poorer working conditions. During research aboard a cargo ship in midst of a local crisis of flag change, I encountered the anxieties and imaginations of seafarers who felt helpless against more powerful external actors, such as shipping companies, manning agencies and unions. While these feelings of insecurity had devastating effects on the ambience and social cohesion of the crew, imagination sometimes also functioned as a source of hope, a tool for the seafarers to "ride out the storm". This paper attempts to understand the role of crises, real or imagined, and the effects and functions of imagination on a small "local" population in crisis, which, despite its apparent isolation, is deeply embedded in global events and processes.

The concept of genocide: international definition and local applicability in the fight for justice

Author: Katja Seidel (Max Planck Institute Halle)  email
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Long Abstract

Starting out with the UN Convention's definition of genocide, this paper explores the local application of the definition and its usefulness as an instrument to address state terror and mass atrocities. Drawing on my ongoing work with Austrian-Argentinean Holocaust survivors and Argentina's fight for justice under the flag of genocide, I examine the ways in which collective memories are embedded in specific socio-cultural and political discourses of power and representation. Following Feierstein's work on the social practices of genocide, I wish to provide insight into the political operation of human rights discourses on a local level, taking into account not only the potential legal constraints arising from the definition of genocide but also the symbolic value of defining state terror and mass atrocities as genocide. This paper will ask: what are the local meanings of international human rights concepts for agents actively pursuing societal transformation and justice?

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.