EASA, 2010: EASA2010: Crisis and imagination

Maynooth, 24/08/2010 – 27/08/2010


Globalisation, crises and imagination in contemporary social movements

Location Rowan Room 2
Date and Start Time 25 Aug, 2010 at 11:30


Cédric Masse (Research Centre on Political Action - University of Lausanne) email
Eliane Fernandes Ferreira (Philipps-Universität Marburg) email
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Long Abstract

The intensification of globalisation from the 1990s has contributed to the emergence, until today, of social movements. Globalisation and its related crises have incited people across the world to associate themselves around social movements in order to find alternatives to problems that affect them.

What kind of imaginative processes acting against crises do contemporary social movements propose? How do they look alike? Identities play a role in these processes and are built around particular discourses that generate representations and sense for the actors. Beyond discourses, social movements are a more or less structured space of concrete practices, interactions and mobilisation.

We invite ethnographically rooted papers focusing on identities, practices and mobilisations of social movements in diverse cultural settings.

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.


Introducing Suma Qamaña: the contested construction of indigenous knowledge in Bolivia's state transformation

Author: Eija Maria Ranta-Owusu (Development Studies)  email
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Long Abstract

Through Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) - a conglomeration of social movements, indigenous organizations and trade unions - class- and identity-based movements have assumed state power in contemporary Bolivia. This has led to an introduction of "indigenous knowledge" (vivir bien, suma qamaña), long studied by Andean anthropologists and promoted by indigenous intellectuals and organizations alike, to state policy-making.

In this paper, I examine the contested construction of "indigenous knowledge", in a context where state/society relations are re-negotiated due to increased role of social movements and indigenous organizations in state (trans-)formation. I will explore how and why contestations and power struggles emerge between and within the executive, social movements and development donors over proper definition of indigenous knowledge along the lines of universal-particular and global-local.

This paper draws on ethnographic fieldwork (2008-2009) among political actors, social movements and development donors in La Paz, Bolivia.

Knowledge of the forest - the endeavour to save a common space

Author: Eliane Fernandes Ferreira (Philipps-Universität Marburg)  email
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Long Abstract

In the 1970's more and more settlers came to the Brazilian region of the upper Juruá River in search of land and means to earn money. Since then, Indigenous peoples and settlers have lived side by side trying to share a common space. Their different interests, however, have often generated conflicts. Trying to solve this social clash, the Ashaninka people of the Amonia River established the Yorenka Ãtame ("Knowledge of the Forest") School in the town of Marechal Thaumaturgo in 2007. This happened because they realized the need to work together and to provide all the neighbouring populations with alternatives aimed at a sustainable use of the natural resources, so that they could live with higher awareness in their own environment.

This paper provides an overview of the cosmographies of the different social groups of the upper Juruá River Region and of their strife for survival.

Identities in crisis? Pride parades and imagination

Author: Begonya Enguix (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya)  email
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Long Abstract

In a context of increasing legal equality (including same-sex marriage) and depoliticization of public life, sexual dissidents and LGTB activism in Spain have had to face important changes in identity re-presentation and have adopted new strategies in identity-related practices. All these changes can be seen in LGTB parading.

With this paper based on intensive ethnographic fieldwork we want to focus on the variations in discourses and practices through the analysis of the Madrid and Barcelona Pride parades. Our aim is to pay special attention to organizational aspects, institutional support and founding LGTB activism assumed that both cities have adopted different discursive and organizational strategies. We also pretend to discuss issues related to re-presentation, sociality, consumption and, therefore, identity re-construction in a globalized context in connection with the different and imaginative strategies of mobilisation that are displayed in contemporary Spanish LGTB parading.

Virtual space and the diversification of student protest forms

Author: Gabriel Stoiciu ('Francisc Rainer' Institute of Anthropology)  email
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Long Abstract

Celebrating forty years since the protests of '68 and twenty years since the clash of communist regimes would be suitable pretexts to ask: are there anymore reasons in the "civilized world" to expect such mass protests or we can declare for the first time in history that the youth is pleased with the establishment of the welfare state?

I chose University of Nanterre (the place of initiation of '68 movements in Paris) to conduct my research as participant observer during my 2008-2009 postdoctoral fellowship. In addition to classic methods, I employed the visual techniques, which enriches the information and can induce a direct empathic state between the viewer and the author.

This diachronic comparison also lead to a discussion about the influence of virtual space over public attitude, to prove how website forums, socialising sites and blogs become the main place of gathering for youth in present time and stimulate their creativity in promoting new forms of protest (as die-in or brain-drain).

'The young and successful': reshaping the public sphere in Republic of Moldova

Author: Razvan Dumitru (University College London)  email
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Long Abstract

Disputes over linguistic and national identity have long remained unsettled as discourses and political alliances have been succeeding each other thus redefining the relation between politics and public space in contemporary Moldova. This paper looks into how a group of few individuals, part of Moldova's new generations, became involved in actively shaping this public space. The apex of their actions was the so-called "twitter revolution", which affected the course of Moldovan political life in the spring of 2009. Drawing on the cultural archeology of the youth and individual heroism as a patriotic duty formed during the Soviet era (Pilkington 1994), this paper ethnographically details how a few individuals made use of the post-1990s concepts of "success" and of "a self-made person" to promote images of politically active and successful individuals within Moldova. The new image takes advantage of both the moral imperative constructed about the youth by decades-long Soviet propaganda and the popular images of individual success displayed in the increasingly consumer oriented society.

Imagining a different kind of globalisation in Portugal: responses to crises from social movements

Author: Cédric Masse (Research Centre on Political Action - University of Lausanne)  email
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Long Abstract

According to many specialists, current economic globalisation has provoked several global crises and mainly environmental, social, health, economic, cultural ones. Including, some of them talk about "anthropological crisis", the whole of humanity being threatened. Parallel to economic globalisation, which is often perceived as a globalisation "from above" built by political and economic elites, other types of globalisation, "from below", from people around the world, have appeared in opposition to the former.

This paper explores imaginative responses to globalisation developed within the Portuguese social movements. Drawing on an ongoing research on different Portuguese social movements related to alter-globalisation, I will analyse the ideas that seem to belong to the transnational alter-globalisation movement as well as those that are more specific of the Portuguese reality. Focusing on the movements' action, I aim to show what causes and interests provoke these dynamics of imagination and reaction against the status quo.

Social movements in Mexico and the making of rights

Author: Lars Leer (Oslo and Akershus University College)  email
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Long Abstract

The struggle of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) in the state of Oaxaca and The Movement of Atenco (FPDT) in the state of Mexico have been given different anthropological interpretations. These two social movements were formed in a process of great complexity by lower and middle-class people, including indigenous groups, peasants,women, intellectuals and artists. APPO and FPDT challenged the criminalization of social protest and human rights abuses committed by the Mexican state.

By means of video testimonies, literary activism and appropriation of transnational human rights networks, APPO and FPDT allowed previously silenced groups the right to speak, using alternative frameworks of cultural and political participation that redefined perceptions of democracy and legality. This paper explores the resurgence of these movements, and discusses multiple structural and conjunctural factors which contributed to differences in their internal organization.

'Gaza in Oslo': social imaginaries in the political engagement of Norwegian minority youth

Author: Christine M Jacobsen (University of Bergen)  email
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Long Abstract

In winter 2009 thousands of people took to the streets of Oslo to demonstrate against the Israeli invasion of Gaza. Young people of visible minority and Muslim background were central actors in the demonstrations. The public manifestation of Muslim identities and symbols during the demonstrations, and clashes between some of the young demonstrators and the police, fuelled already polarized debates about the integration of immigrant youth and Islamic radicalism in the Norwegian public debate. In this paper we investigate how social imaginaries related to Islam, secular leftist internationalism, and integration nations mediated engagement in the Gaza question. Based on ethnographic fieldwork and web-ethnography we follow the engagement of youth organised in a multi-ethnic Oslo mosque on- and off-line. Challenging the framing of the demonstrations within a conventional migration and integration paradigm, we analyse the Gaza-mobilization in light of the concept of social imaginaries and transnational social movements theory.

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.