W038
Turning back to the 'Mediterranean': the Mediterranean Voices project

Convenors:
Julie Scott (Canterbury Christ Church University)
Vassiliki Yiakoumaki (University of Thessaly)
Chair:
Vassiliki Yiakoumaki
Stream:
Worskhops
Location:
Wills 3.30
Start time:
21 September, 2006 at 11:30
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

These panels will explore the resignification of 'the Mediterranean' and its relationship with Europe by reflecting on the experience of anthropological involvement in a European Union project on the 'Euromed' region.

Long abstract:

In recent years the Mediterranean has undergone reinvigoration and redefinition in response to the changing configuration of Europe. Today the Mediterranean constitutes the borderlands of the European Union, a shifting zone where the project of European enlargement confronts Europe's historically constituted other on its southern and eastern shores. The Mediterranean thus has a special significance for Europe, and is given reality through the implementation of a range of bureaucratic and policy instruments of which the Mediterranean is the object. At the same time, claims to qualities of European-ness have become a symbolic resource to be mobilised and contested in local discourses and power struggles. This is a rather different Mediterranean from that conceptualised by the mediterraneanist anthropology of past decades, and poses ontological, epistemological and methodological questions concerning its location, analysis and representation. <br/>The Mediterranean Voices project represents an attempt to engage with the resignification of the Mediterranean from within an EU policy framework. Funded through the Euromed Heritage II programme, which promotes the concept of transnational civil society united within a common Euro-Mediterranean heritage, the project established a network of researchers in 13 cities across the Mediterranean, carrying out ethnographic research in urban neighbourhoods over three years, and creating a series of visual products, including a multi-media online database of the results. The papers presented in these panels will interrogate the idea of the Mediterranean on a number of different levels: at the level of European policy; cultural, political and economic institutions; the virtuality of an online Mediterranean; the materiality of the concrete, local and day-to-day; and the interplay of diverse temporalities connected to the emergence of (often conflicting) memories and the creation of heritage.