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SIEF2011: People make places

Lisbon, 17/04/2011 – 21/04/2011

Panels/Workshops

(W402)

Poster presentations

Location Block 1, Piso 0, Hall
Date and Start Time 18 Apr, 2011 at 11:30

Convenor

Cyril Isnart (CIDEHUS-Universidade de Evora) email
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Short Abstract

This is an opportunity to present work in a different format during the congress.

Long Abstract

The posters should be no bigger than A2 size, and should be put up at the beginning of the congress, and left up until the end. Materials to assist in fixing posters can be found at the reception desks, upstairs from the poster space.

Poster presenters will be available at their respective display to discuss their topic with colleagues, on Tuesday lunchtime, 13:30-14:30.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Applied storytelling through forms of expressive culture in post-conflict peace building: Northern Ireland since 1998

Author: Magdalena Weiglhofer (University of Ulster)  email
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Short Abstract

The poster displays a research project that seeks to examine if storytelling and narrative strategies, by using the tool of the arts, can contribute to a transformation process within the Northern Irish post-conflict society since the official peace agreement in 1998.

Long Abstract

Since the 'Good Friday Agreement' in 1998, peace-building initiatives have proliferated in Northern Ireland. Amongst these, the arts have played a prominent role, drawing on a range of international and locally devised models. Some of those, mostly community-based, arts projects attempt to reconcile identity groups who are in conflict by using narratives and personal storytelling. However, research and evaluation on both the processes and the impact of such work has been scanty and under-developed. The poster demonstrates a research project that analyses those processes of telling personal life stories in public and seeks to explore their impact on an inter-personal, inter-group and wider societal level within a violently divided society. It is taking into account the interdependency between private and public meaning and considers possible risks through this process of displaying one's own experiences to a public space.

Research up to now has included following and analysing a community project that used the tool of storytelling transformed into drama to foster stability, reconciliation and peaceful human interaction in the post-conflict society of Northern Ireland. At the end of a two year long process, two original theatre productions were performed by inter-generational groups of people from different backgrounds who have been affected directly or indirectly by 'the Troubles'. Through methodological triangulation using participative observation, in-depth interviews and other sources of data (written feedback, project reports, reviews, newspaper articles) I seek to understand and explain if storytelling can contribute positively to a peace process in a society coming out of conflict.

Expressions passing into content: the creative autonomy of contemporary site-specific art practices

Author: Piibe Kolka (Tallinn University)  email
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Short Abstract

This paper explores the autonomous potential of artistic expressions to create and change the meanings of a place. By emphasizing the relevance of sensorial and perceptive experiences of participating in contemporary art practices I discuss their potential epistemological effect.

Long Abstract

This paper explores the autonomous potential of artistic expressions to create and change the meanings of a place. By emphasizing the relevance of sensorial and perceptive experiences of participating in contemporary art practices I discuss their potential epistemological effect.

Based on the approach to expression proposed by philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari I explore the site-specific and socially engaged artistic practices as expressions that are not unidirectionally determined by a certain content but rather as autonomous events with a potential to act upon places, ideas and things and create new meanings. Thus the meaning of an art event is not only to be a representation of a certain idea but an open possibility for an undetermined emergence.

Based on ethnographic examples from site-specific art projects conducted in different locations in Estonia I explore the sensorial and perceptual processes by which people engage with their environment while participating in the art practices. I ask what kind of experience and knowledge these practices can create and communicate.

In addition I examine the practices of anthropologists to ask how experiences in the field could lead to ethnographic expressions with a similar creative potentiality.

Field interview as an act of seduction

Author: Tiina Sepp (University of Tartu; University of York)  email
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Short Abstract

Several anthropologists have claimed that ambivalent feelings are always involved in fieldwork. Since I started interviewing Santiago pilgrims in 2003, the overwhelming majority of my informants have been males. What might be the reason for this? I will try to answer some questions about the role of feelings in field interviews.

Long Abstract

I am doing research into belief stories told by Santiago pilgrims. Several anthropologists have claimed that ambivalent feelings are always involved in fieldwork. As a place for fieldwork, the Camino de Santiago is very special in several ways: people have left their home and are travelling per agros; they are often vulnerable, lonely and insecure. It is common to experience intense feelings of intimacy with your fellow pilgrims. Since I started interviewing Santiago pilgrims in 2003, the overwhelming majority of my informants have been male. When I realised it, I asked myself what the reason for this might be.

It has been pointed out that the fact that the Grimm Brothers collected fairytales mostly from middle-class women probably influenced the content of the stories. If these women had told their stories to a female collector, would we have different fairytales?

I do not think that the content of my key informant's camino-legends would have been very different if he had been interviewed by a male researcher. However, I do believe that his enthusiasm to collaborate might have been smaller if he had not been affectionate about me.

In my presentation I will try to answer some questions about the role of feelings in the process of fieldwork.

Illnesses described in Estonian and Swedish legends of changelings

Author: Siiri Tomingas-Joandi (Tartu University)  email
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Short Abstract

This presentation discusses the illnesses and conditions which could have resulted in legends about changelings in Estonian and Swedish folklore – stories about human children that supernatural beings exchanged with their own.

Long Abstract

In Estonian and Swedish legends from the 18th and 19th century we hear about many different supernatural beings and how they affected people's everyday lives. This presentation focuses on changelings - human children that supernatural beings exchanged with one of their own. In Sweden the change was made by fairies, in Estonia it was the Devil who took the baby and left the humans with a chunk of wood in the crib. Changelings are described as abnormal, with physical disabilities, often with limbs that are too long and with a large head. Changelings would age by years, but didn't grow in size, only the head was growing. A typical legend describes some method how to make the fairy or the Devil to come and bring the human child back; many of these methods were rather violent. Sometimes the child was returned, though often it remained ill and died after a while. It was said that the fairy woman's breast milk had affected the child.

These legends are most likely based on different illnesses that children were suffering from, but which at that time were unknown to medicine, the most common being Down syndrome and simple malnutrition. Both manifest many of the symptoms described above. In addition there are many more or less common illnesses that can easily lie behind the belief in changelings. In my presentation I will shed more light on some of these illnesses and the conditions which could have resulted in legends about changelings.

Landscape as a new potential tool for immigrants' integration

Authors: Benedetta Castiglioni (University of Padova)  email
Donatella Schmidt (Università di Padova)  email
Alessia De Nardi (University of Padova (Italy))  email
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Short Abstract

The research presented here explores the relationship between immigrants and the landscape in which they live in order to understand how it can foster their integration process. Field research made use of qualitative methods, in particular autophotography, involving both foreign and local teenagers living in the Veneto Region (Italy).

Long Abstract

The research, which was carried out in the framework of the LINK Project (Landscape and Immigrants: Networks, Knowledge), holds the idea that landscape may be considered as an "instrument of cultural intermediation", and as such it may potentially encourage intercultural dialogue in multicultural settings.

Every landscape can be seen as the product of the interrelation between a given population and its place of life: in this sense, it constitutes an important reference point for peoples' identity. Given this premise, the research aims to understand which role landscape plays in immigrants' everyday experience. The main directions of our enquiry are the following: to explore immigrants' perception of landscapes in the host country; to understand how new feelings of place belonging are constructed; to compare foreigners and Italians' landscape perceptions highlighting potential differences played by landscapes in identity construction; to identify shared views of landscape roles in view of a better social cohesion.

Field research was conducted among foreign and local twelve years old living in a densely populated neighbourhood in the city of Padua, and in the small town of Borgoricco, both located in the Veneto Region, in the north eastern part of Italy. The research made use mainly of qualitative methods, in particular autophotography, semi-structured interviews, and focus group.

Places of association and differentiation: the Italian immigration in southern Brazil

Authors: Augusto Neftali Corte de Oliveira (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul)  email
Ramon Tisott  email
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Short Abstract

Caxias do Sul was formed between 1876 and 1914 by Italian immigrants who early developed cultural values favorable to association, but under a specific dynamics: a differentiation between immigrants/descendants (Italians) and Brazilians. The research reveals this contradiction.

Long Abstract

We studied the presence of associative links in the community of Italian immigrants who formed Caxias do Sul (1876-1914). The research realizes historiographic review of associative patterns in three places: chapel societies in rural areas, mutual aid societies and cooperatives. The theoretical framework used is the social capital.

The rural community structure was given by the chapel, which brought together the neighborhood around the cult, the fair, the school and entertainment activities. It was the site of public life, where families developed bonds of religiosity and "italianitá" (Italianness, sense of belonging to Italy).

The associations of mutual assistance, founded since 1887, have become important social, economic and political institutions. The main one was the Società Italiana di Mutuo Soccorso Principe di Napoli, exclusive to Italians, who kept monetary assistance to members unable to work due to illness and where ran a school, a club, the first movie theater of the city.

Regarding the cooperatives, a woolen mill was founded was founded in 1898 by former employees of Schio. Subsequently arose wine cooperatives. Tacitly, in these companies the "italianitá" served as guarantee for trusting relationships.

These three sites provide evidence that immigrants were using strategies of the original communities to resolve collective challenges. The notion of "italianitá" was a cultural construction that produced mutual trust in an environment of limited information. However, the construction of places based on a exclusionary notion obstructed the integration of the different (Brazilians and other immigrants), especially those without commercial or government positions.

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Symbolism of pilgrimage sites

Authors: Zdenek Kucera (Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Science)  email
Silvie Kucerova (Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Science)  email
Daniel Reeves (Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Science)  email
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Short Abstract

Pilgrimage sites represent a landscape element, which, even in highly-secularized Czech society, still retains importance for believers as well as non-religious people. The poster discusses variety of meanings attributed to pilgrimage sites by various communities with different interests.

Long Abstract

Pilgrimage sites represent a landscape element, which, even in highly-secularized Czech society, still retains importance for believers as well as non-religious people. Such sites are places, to which certain values are attached and which can become significant symbols and contribute to individual and collective identities. As places of special meaning, pilgrimage sites combine spiritual values, based on religion, with secular values, connected with other dimensions of human values and needs. These arise primarily out of the cultural, aesthetic and economic demands of current society. Pilgrimage sites, perceived as an inseparable part of regional or even national heritage, can be a means of representation for regional communities, a component of their identities, or as an instrument in the commodification of their surrounding area (e.g. as part of regional marketing strategies). The current appearance of a pilgrimage site is a reflection of its importance and the manner of its utilization, but also more general problems, such as the position of a church and the utilization of religious heritage sites in Czech society. The objective of this poster is to discuss the variety of meanings attributed to pilgrimage sites by various communities with different interests. These meanings must be treated not only as a key factor influencing the nature of a given place, but also as a force in the formulation and reproduction of the connections between a given place and the territory, within which it is located.

The best place in Estonia? Experiencing space, place, temporality and identity on tourism farms

Author: Maarja Kaaristo (Tartu University)  email
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Short Abstract

How do the tourism farmers in South-East Estonia (re)construct their identities and how are their ideas of locality, space, place, nature, language and history expressed in their farms?

Long Abstract

Often tourism is considered to be travel to the unknown, an opportunity to experience something new, a movement from familiar to the unfamiliar and back. Therefore, traveling at home - domestic tourism - is a simultaneous journey to and between the unknown and known places, spaces and dispositions.

In Estonia, as in many Western countries, one of the alternatives for the traditional production farm has been to become a farm for the tourists. These new, 'tourism farms', are now fairly popular among Estonians. Can a trip taken there be considered a means to reconnect with the nature and/or with the (peasant) past? Should we view them as places of "identity formation" or rather just establishments of recreation where one can "spend time" with family, friends or colleagues? Which particular identities of belonging, out of the potential range of (contesting) associations with place or locale are currently dominant, and supported by the tourism farmers?

My poster will be based on my fieldwork conducted in Võru county since 2008 and map some of these meaningful and meaning-forming, lived spatio-temporal experiences or 'sites of identification' that are constructed as exemplified in the intertwined ideas of locality, space, place, nature, language and history and how these concepts are manifested in everyday lives and work of tourist farmers in Võru county, South-East Estonia.

The construction of a place in the contemporary art museum: the inter-relation between museum, community and artists

Author: Anna Thereza Menezes  email
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Short Abstract

How is the inter-relation between museum, works of art, local community and artists in the construction of a place identity? It can be done by using an approach on this thematic, using the study of the Inhotim, a contemporary art museum, and some of its works.

Long Abstract

By looking at Inhotim museum, located in Brumadinho, a Brazilian town, it exhibits works related with the local community and the museum space as one of its proposals. It has some art works that can't be dislocated and whose sense is directly connected to the local of its origin. Is through this works that certain social aspects, the memory and the local history are represented. In this way, by one hand the surroundings enters into the museum and, in the other hand, the museum enters in the community, not only as being a strange but also by avoiding an imposing attitude. So, there is an intersection between strangeness and familiarity and the art plays the role of mediator.

Thinking the contemporary art also reports the creative process. Many times it's not in evidence in the final work. Overall, since the sixties with movements like the Land-Art and Site-specifics the artists leave the atelier and the museum, modifying their methods of appropriation and representation. They use the space as a support, taking into consideration the population and local social-cultural aspects. The art work establishes a relation of dependence with the place where it's made. In this sense, to draw a parallel between the contemporary art museums adaptation and the rising number of works that approach art and the public without any mediation is a case of interest of study.

The texture of urban space

Author: Melanie Keding (University of Tübingen)  email
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Short Abstract

My case study on Ulm's Münsterplatz is interested in the semantic and phenomenological structure of urban space, produced by both built environment and every day users. The results of the ethnographic research show the texture of a city square as an interplay of topology, everyday practices, narratives and atmospheres.

Long Abstract

Urban anthroplogy no longer only deals with structural analysis of cities or with isolated social phenomenons within the cities but also with the research on the characters and logics of cities or urban space. The here proposed work wants to show a model for a cultural anthropological analysis of urban space.

I want to show how topology, practices, narratives and atmospheres build a polyvalent interdependency between actors and envirnomnet. The field of topology shows the symbolic and positional relations, the role of buildings and other spots as points of gravitation and the interplay of center and periphery. The practices make up topics like abidance and passing, watching static objects as well as interactional scenes and all related agencies. The narratives show the discursive connectivity of the concrete place into narrations od collective commemoration, strategies and legitimations of present developments or historic meaning. The atmosphreres or moods describe specific states of the place connected both with subjecitve and objective aspects, which have crucial impacts on the place.

The concept of appropriation (cf. e.g. Rahel Jaeggi) as a rather general way of relation to the world serves as an theoretical bracket for my model. 'Appropriation' is emphasizing actors' practices and their active and self-determined character, changing the appropriator as well as the appropriated.

There is no place like home: Palestinian women artists' self-referential practices

Author: Clara Zarza (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas)  email
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Short Abstract

In this paper I will focus on the study of contemporary Palestinian women artists’ self-referential artistic practices. My aim is to explore the use of personal experience as a tool to present ambiguous and inquiring positions regarding notions of home and homeland that sustain concepts such as ‘hybrid identities’ and displacement.

Long Abstract

Self-portraiture —and more broadly self-representation— have been traditionally widely practiced genres in visual arts. In recent years they have also become a fertile soil for critical discourses around authorship, identity and agency. These practices are often politicised. Particularly trasgressive examples of the political use of self-representation may be found during the Women's Art Movement (under the claim 'the personal is political') and further within postcolonial practices.

Within this general framework of self-representational practices, personal experiences of movement, migration and exile have been central to contemporary discourses on identity. In this poster I will address how the personal experiences of war and exile inform the way in which a number of Palestinian women artists represent themselves taking the ideas of home and homeland as their central subject.

Through the close analysis of two key studies —Mona Hatoum´s video installation Measures of Distance (1988) and Emily Jacir´s photo-text installation Where we come from / (Im)mobility (2001-03)— I intend to explore how these practices challenge both the artistic genre or practice in which they may be inscribed, and the theoretical background with which they are in dialogue. These artists imagine 'the self' as shaped by its 'home' and in turn 'home' as a place that no longer exists, that has never existed. The analysis of these critical, ambiguous, fragmented self-representations and personal narratives that I propose to undertake, intend to challenge conventional representations of the self and its story, and also puts forth a revision of theoretical discussions around displacement, belonging and hybridity.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.