EASA, 2006: EASA06: Europe and the world

Bristol, UK, 18/09/2006 – 21/09/2006

(W066)

Different manifestations of identities and space in a global context

Location Dept. Arch Anth M1
Date and Start Time 21 Sep, 2006 at 11:30

Convenor

Unnur Dís Skaptadóttir (University of Iceland) email
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Short Abstract

The panel invites contributions in regard to the diverse manifestations of identity in relation to space and mobility, focusing on these from various angles, both theoretical and methodological.

Long Abstract

This panel explores how identity has many faces in the mobile world of today. In recent theoretical discussion of globalisation mobility has been one of the central concepts. Anthropologists and other social scientists are increasingly focusing their research around the mobility of people, things and ideas across time and space. In modern research identities are thus no longer merely explained through localities and places but increasingly in relation to more diverse physical and non-physical spaces. Questions have been raised about what kind of social spaces are created in motion, and how diverse notions about space are created in different contexts. Hybrid identities based on nationality, gender, sexual preference and local ties are common themes in current research and theorising. The growing discussion of connections with other factors such as health problems, medicalisation and mobilities of ideas through information and communication technologies is placed in the foreground in this panel. Participants are invited to discuss the diverse manifestations of identity with relation to space and mobility from many angles, to present their studies or to discuss the theoretical concerns and/or methodological questions that these issues raise in anthropology (and about anthropology). We would like to involve anthropologists who have considered global encounters in relation to issues such as identity, power, questions of citizenship, nationalism, bodies, property rights and entitlement, connecting these with mobility and space. We particularly welcome contributions that stress gendered dimensions of such encounters. By discussing hybrid identities with such diverse focus and within different settings we hope to create a new multifaceted discourse of the manifestations of the topic.

Papers

Locality, identities and social space in a Pyrenean valley

Author: Juan Frigolé (Universidad de Barcelona)  email
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Long Abstract

The main aim of this paper is to discuss, in the context of an ethnography of Pirinean valley, the limitations and unsuitable character of administrative categories such as "fixed" and "temporary" populations, of popular categories such as "locals" and "foreigners", with the sub-categories of "hippy" and "newcomer", and the category "neorural" of the social scientists and it's ability to represent, in a precise way, the social and cultural heterogeneity of a population that in the last two decades has stopped a deep decline. This is all due to the arrival of many waves of inmigrants with different resources and symbolic capitals, trajectories, projects, values and identities. This inmigration is related with consecutives crisis and changes that in the past 50 years have the economy and the local social estructure experiencied due to the growing impact of globall factors, going from a subsistence production system to a market oriented to milk production and tourism. The term "hippy", still in use, can not represent the inmigrants evolution from an initial search of an ideal of self-sufficiency in an rather depopulated countryside, according to foreigns guides, in a wage-earning world, based on an economy of tourism and services; the term "newcomer" unifies different processes of insertion of foreigners workers, both comunitary or outside the European Community, and nationals, and also conceals the genders differences. The term "neorural" doesn´t stress the important differences of planification and transition in the diverses inmigrants insertion processes, differences that made less clear the separation between fix and temporary population.

This paper also wants to explore the relationship between locality and community, examining the impact of a simetric separation within the main population of the valley, and its projection over the rest, over the inmigrants insertion process as long as this gap doesn't leave available social spaces except the marginal ones. It also studies this relationship through etnographical documentation about the structures of values and feelings corresponding to the diferents categories of inhabitants of the valley.

Dr. Juan Frigolé

Camila del Mármol

Universidad de Barcelona

Technological impact on social identity

Author: Kristín E Harðardóttir (University of Iceland)  email
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Long Abstract

Modern biotechnology and informatics have opened up a new world in which a multitude of information can be isolated and exploited for various purposes. This paper will examine mobility of identity in global context with a particular focus on how the internet effect individuals and shapes the identity of patient groups. Diagnosed individuals and people in risk groups become a part of new definition of identity, which are biological citizens. Through developments in technology and medical abilities western healthcare system are increasingly targeting symptom-free individuals for all kinds of screening. By monitoring those with genetic predispositions and their families new groups and individual identities will emerge. These developments can be explored partly through increased biomedicalization in Iceland and through individual interest in knowledge and access to information. In a way we can say that these developments have affected how we define "health". With augmented access to knowledge, surveillance, preventive processes, risk assessment, treatment of risk factor and by consumption of all kind of self-help services our aim is to stay healthy and it becomes our personal responsibility to stay healthy. In the paper I will focus on growing formulated and manifestation of identity within anthropological discussions and also use accounts based on research on screening procedures for colon cancer in Iceland.

The ghetto and the world: young rappers in Dakar between local identities and global languages

Author: Cristiano Lanzano (The Nordic Africa Institute (Uppsala, Sweden))  email
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Long Abstract

Senegal is told to be the third country in the whole world for the diffusion of rap music and the success of hip hop movement. In fact, starting from the early 90s, this kind of music has received more and more appreciation from local youth, especially in urban areas. Despite the lack of strong financial support, groups have multiplied (they are supposed to be at least three thousands today) and Dakar has become a centre of production and exhibition for rap singers from all West Africa.

But while a few artists gain fame and international renown, and consequently the opportunity to have their albums distributed abroad and even to perform in international arenas, most rappers and groups remain tied to local, often small-scale, audiences. Nevertheless, the relatively low cost of the initial investment (if compared with other local musical genres, e.g. mbalax) contributes to make rap music not only a popular form of entertainment among the younger generations, but even an instrument of self-realisation and expression worth trying.

The adoption of a "foreign" musical language, whose main model is the United States (and sometimes the French) scene, is coupled with an adaptation to local themes and sensibilities: thus, for example, in their texts Senegalese rappers often denounce the corruption of local politicians and the poverty of African ghettoes, talk about migrants' life and difficulties, sing their love for their families, invoke the moral redemption of women, and sing the praises of religious and spiritual leaders. Plus, the origins of rap (like of other musical genres as blues, jazz and reggae) are often claimed to be found in African rhythms and instruments, or even in local forms of ritual singing like tassu and bakku.

Somehow, this complex circulation of meanings and languages make out of the thousands rappers in Dakar a multitude of bottom-up agents of cultural globalisation, with all its specificities and contradictions. By means of some months of participant observation and several qualitative interviews with rappers, radio DJs and promoters, my research was aimed to investigate how these young rappers deal with their identity, assessed at multiple levels (their ghetto or their city area, their nationality, their African identity, sometimes their blackness), and at the same time with a globalised media network, which offers new means of expression and new senses of transnational belonging.

Paradoxes of globalisation: pastoral migrations in the contemporary world

Author: Kristín Loftsdóttir (University of Iceland)  email
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Long Abstract

Globalization can be seen as controversial and conflicting processes, involving reorganization of space, enforced boundaries and increased flow of people between places. As such it simultaneously creates windows of opportunities and causes increase marginalization. Global media often portrays African people as victims - be it victims of tradition, modernization or globalization - seeing them as passive recipients of goods and assistance. The paper emphasizes creativity, focusing on how marginalized people manipulate and strategically use variously processes of modernization. The paper focuses on changing ways of WoDaaBe migrant workers to manipulate global forces. Mobility has always been important for nomadic people to make use of various spaces, even though often being seen in the globalization literature as negative and as a sign of poverty. WoDaaBe use new ways of being mobile to take advantage of certain features of globalization, both by manipulating global images of themselves and by traveling temporarily to Europe to sell WoDaaBe jewelry. Simultaneously, these migrant workers conceptualize themselves as poor and marginal, wishing for more participation in the pastoral economy. In the paper, I emphasize the importance of locating agency within power structures, as well as exploring these paradoxes of globalization.

Gender and identity formation in a mobile world

Author: Unnur Dís Skaptadóttir (University of Iceland)  email
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Long Abstract

The paper will examine identity formations in a mobile world with a particular focus on the experiences of women who have moved to Iceland to work. I will depict individual accounts based on research among women from different East European and Asian countries that illustrate the importance of theorizing gendered migration, mobility, power and citizenship. With their participation in the global economy, characterized by inequality, these women tackle social and geographical boundaries in order to make a better life for themselves and their families' back home. The economic situation and the gender system in the country of origin influence their decision to leave and upon arrival in a new country they enter a gender divided labor market that affects their prospects. Many of them end up in the least valued jobs but are able to improve their economic standing and their social position in home country. They are connected in diverse ways locally and translocally to households, jobs and nation-states that affect their identities.

These issues, increasingly the subject of anthropological studies, raise important theoretical and methodological questions about the relation between mobility and place in the making of culture and society. The paper will be a contribution to a discussion within anthropology regarding mobility and transnational encounters that need to be explored further.

Muslim and orthodox spaces of childhood in Greece

Author: Kirstin Zu Hohenlohe  email
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Long Abstract

This paper investigates the relationship between identity and space. I propose to see a connection between the feeling of identity and the particular phenomenology and childhood experience of distinct domestic spaces and practice in an urban Greek context. Mobility in space is constructed as practice, movement and embodiment. The argument is that the distinct phenomenology and practice of space constitute religious, national or ethnic experiences formative for a child's notion of identity. The paper is based on twelve months research in central Athens with a particular focus on children and childhood in the urban multicultural neighbourhood. Greek Muslims locally labelled as Turks, Albanians and Greek Orthodox mainly populated the area. I investigated children's views and concepts of nationalism as well as citizenship but also belonging and home in this area. Working mainly with children posed particular methodological challenges of ethnographic research and writing, which I will present. The analysis is theoretically inspired by French concepts of embodiment and habitus and the anthropology of children and childhood in England.