EASA2012: Uncertainty and disquiet
Nanterre University, France, 10/07/2012 – 13/07/2012
Uncertainty and disquiet in the Mediterranean region
Date and Start Time 12 Jul, 2012 at 11:30
The MedNet workshop calls for papers on the ethnography of uncertainty, based on research in the Mediterranean region in contexts of catastrophe, violence and loss of significant dimensions of individual or collective identities or referring to interactions and strategies to master uncertainty.
The countries bordering on the Mediterranean Sea are at present undergoing a period of tremendous uncertainty, manifesting itself in the enduring economic crisis in southern Europe and the radical political changes in the Maghreb and the Middle East. It is in this context of varied and uncertain outcomes that the workshop organised by the EASA Mediterraneanist network (MedNet) - but open to all members of EASA regardless of whether the paper presenter is a member of MedNet or not - calls for contributions to the ethnography of uncertainty and disquiet based on anthropological research in the Mediterranean region in contexts of catastrophe, violence and loss of significant dimensions of individual and collective identities related to these crises. Understood in a very broad sense, dimensions of uncertainty can be found not only in political transformation or financial crisis, but in other forms of social interactions as well, for example in processes of migration, border crossings, health related issues or others, to which paper givers may address themselves. Contributions to the workshop might also refer to social interactions and individual or collective strategies to master uncertainty (including routines related to religious rituals) as well as to the perceptions and reflexive capacity of actors to understand and to react in various ways to 'what is going on' in various countries of the Mediterranean region.
This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.
Silent uncertainties: trust, law and integration among migrants, academics and citizens of the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla
This paper follows the daily uncertainties of migrants seeking to rebuild their lives in the equally contested Spanish Enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. These case studies lead us to question our anthropological understandings of 'trust', 'law' and 'Integration'
Ceuta and Melilla are two enclave towns on the Mediterranean coast of Morocco, belonging to Spain. The enclaves depend on flows of goods, labour and migrants out of the Moroccan hinterland, with individuals from different ethnic and religious groups forming informal, flexible and personal economic bonds based on mutual 'confianza' (trust). The Spanish government has recently erected border fences around the enclaves, and enacted several laws intending to halt incoming sub-Saharan and control informal interactions with Moroccan labourers. Based on 12 months of participant observation amongst migrants of the CETI (centro de estancia temporal de inmigrantes) and Moroccan labourers, this paper seeks to explore issues of uncertainty related to migration in border regions on three levels. First, given their geo-political context and the strong presence of well-organised 'comunidades' (ethno-cultural groups), local identity has long been a source of disquiet in the enclaves. Such migrations further unsettle such issues, and are considered as threats to the delicate 'convivencia' (co-existence) seen as the basis of social order in the Enclaves. Second, this paper follows the daily uncertainties within which migrants and non/semi-citizens rebuild their economic, social and religious lives. This is often achieved through the formation of tenuous ties of 'confianza' within hostile legal and cultural categories that equally lead to economic exploitation or legal, cultural and social integration. Thirdly, this paper observes how the case of the enclaves also raises other positive academic uncertainties, encouraging us revise our anthropological understandings of concepts such as 'migration', 'trust' and, above all, 'integration'.
Double presence or double exclusion? Ethnographic notes on migration and structural violence
The paper is an ethnographic description of the effects of the structural violence on the lives of prospective and actual migrants in Morocco and in Italy, focusing on some experiences of suffering and loss
In describing the transnational dimensions of contemporary migrations, it is usual to talk of the "double presence" of migrants, thereby stressing their social involvement both in the host and in the home country. Notwithstanding its usefulness, this image entails the risk of underestimating what we might term the double exclusion of migrants: the exclusion due to the lack of opportunities that often sustains the decision to leave; the exclusion suffered by many of them in the host society.
In my paper I will focus on some of the consequences of this double exclusion, with reference to my multi-sited research in Morocco and in Italy, through a series of ethnographic scenes and social dramas. The first part of the paper will be devoted to a description of some of the traits of the "culture of migration" that characterises the suburbs of Casablanca and the dramatic effects of the difficulties prospective migrants meet in putting in practice their migratory projects, with a focus on irregular migration and its "suicidal dimension". In the second part I will describe some personal stories of immigrants in Turin, which demonstrate the risks they run of losing themselves along the migratory path. Throughout the paper I will rely on these personal narratives to reflect on the link that unites the migratory experience with structural violence, which manifests itself in the walls of Fortress Europe as well as in the disciplinary migration policies enacted by Italian governments.
Destroying Ksamil: tourism, migration and uncertainty in an "informal settlement" in southern Albania
Ksamil is an informal settlement in southern Albania. In 2010 over 250 illegal houses built thanks to emigrants’ remittances were destroyed by local authorities. At the same time the economic crisis in Greece forced many migrants to return to Ksamil: today they have to live with their families in ruined houses waiting for an uncertain future.
In Albania, informal settlement in and around urban areas started to emerge right after the collapse of the communist regime in 1991 with the removal of restriction on internal migration. Informal settlement in Ksamil started in the early 1990s on the former state olive farm. The current number of residents in the informal settlement is estimated at 4,000 people. Most of the residents have at least one family member working in Greece, sending remittances to their families. In the last decade Ksamil has become one of the most frequented coastal resorts in southern Albania, by both domestic and foreign tourists, but in June 2010 many buildings (over 250) were partially or totally destroyed. Local authorities responded to the massive dose of illegal housing, with police, bulldozers and the order to destroy the pillars of illegal constructions. The same bulldozers did not care about the dismantle of the debris and today Ksamil seems a bombed village. At the same time, the great economic crisis in Greece has forced many migrants to return to Ksamil and their families had to carved out safe spaces inside the damaged buildings. Living in a ruined house waiting for the next tourist season or the next attempt of emigration represents the way people in Ksamil manage their lives in an era of uncertainty.
Uncertainty and disquiet in the ancestor's homeland: experiences of a Mediterranean Diaspora community
My participation deals about the experience of the revolutionary changes in the Arabic spring in the daily life of the Jewish Diaspora from North Africa in France. The social situation of this minority is in the centre of my observations. Case study is the Jewish Tunisian Diaspora in France.
The Jews of North Africa have a particular history, due to their social placing in the colonial system, as well as their identification with the Israeli state. In the neocolonial period the former Jews of North Africa are globally situated in opposition to the Arabic world. Nevertheless the Jews of North Africa have a notably relation to their home countries, especially heretofore the Jews from Tunisian.
An overlook will be given about the social situation of this community before and after the revolution. We will determine what has changed in the daily and ritual life of the social actors. Did the political and social changes influence their regard of themselves, their identification with their cultural memory? What happened to their rapport with their former homeland? Antecedent the Jews from France were regularly doing a pilgrimage to Djerba in Tunisia, we will thus determine, if this transnational transgression is still possible, and how are the circumstances for this travel nowadays. Otherwise did the rapport with the ancestor home country change? Are holiday visits, like it was the former tradition of Tunisian Jews from France, are still possible in the same condition? Especially did the relations to Muslims from Tunisia change? Can social actors observe an increase or decrease of anti-Semitism?
In sum my communication will analyze how the ensembles of the Diaspora Tunisian Jews in France are placed and are participating in the undergone changes by their former country and society.
Jerusalem and The Temple Mount: between religious plurality and political uncertainty
This work will try to point out the uncertainty and disquiet that exists regarding Jerusalem and its Temple Mount. We will try to pinpoint the question of religious plurality in a context of growing rival claims over this space.
Through this study we propose to point out the sacredness of Jerusalem in the three monotheisms, while insisting in particular on the Mount of the Temple (Esplanade of the Mosques).
We will then underline the role of the Six Day War which led to the Israeli conquest of Jerusalem, and its outcomes over this location.
Then, we will mention the unique and salutary "Dayan compromise", still much valid today, which contributed to instigate an original, flexible sovereignty over this place. This compromise, composed of several levels, framed the coexistence around the Temple Mount for several decades.
We will eventually mention the growing claims over the Temple Mount which threaten this compromise, converting this space into a center of increasing religious passions (reference to messianic and mahdist speeches) and political activism, both threatening regional and international stability. This will also permit us to stress the importance of understanding the social and political stakes around this place.
Rites politico-nationaux et désobéissance collective, ou la fête nationale du 28 Octobre en Grècede la crise socio-économique
Par l’exemple ethnographique de l’annulation du défilé du 28 Octobre dans plusieurs villes grecques célébré dans le cadre de la fête nationale, cette communication a comme sujet la désobéissance collective dans des circonstances d’incertitude et inquiétude, même dans le cadre d’un rite
caractérisé par la régularité et le contenu codifié.
La régularité, ou en d'autres termes la répétition à un moment fixe, et le contenu largement codifié, constituent deux des éléments les plus essentiels des rites, même de ceux qui n'ont pas de caractère religieux mais politico-national. Etant donné que ces deux éléments sont engageants pour la société qui pratique les rites en question, est-ce qu'il y a la possibilité que la régularité d'un tel rite soit rompue et que son contenu soit annulé?
L'annulation récente du défilé du 28 Octobre dans plusieurs villes grecques célébré dans le cadre de la fête nationale, atteint au point culminant par l'annulation du défilé à Thessaloniki, par le départ du Président de la République et par les graves événements qui ont suivi, ont bien montré que:
Aussi engageant (et dans le cas présent officiel) qu'un rite soit pour une société, la même société dans certaines circonstances, comme celles d'incertitude et inquiétude, peut provoquer son annulation malgré le fait qu'elle y participe habituellement.
Le but de cette communication est d'étudier:
a) le symbolisme de la fête nationale du 28 Octobre en général et en particulier le message symbolique qu'elle a pris dans le moment donné, c'est-à-dire en relation avec la crise socio-économique accentuée en Grèce.
b) la localisation et l'analyse des raisons qui ont guidé à une désobéissance collective ainsi que les attentes des coparticipants.
"Napišite da se ovdje dobro živi!": hopes and dreams of youth in post-post war Croatian society
The paper deploys ethnographic investigations of the ways in which multiple possible futures are given substance in shifting everyday contexts.
This anthropological study is based on in-depth interviews and focus groups with high school adolescents from two Croatian cities, Split and Knin, The aim of the study was to explore the intimate hopes and ideas of better life in the post-post war society faced with radical changes in different domains of everyday life.
Croatian society, especially Knin and Split are often defined as towns with a great potential developmental force, but stacked in the past due to the destroyed economy and the transitional context. In this study we aim to bring a sense of futurity in the positive context by presenting hopes and ideas of young people born after the war and the socialist period. The paper charts a new theoretical terrain through the focus on the post-socialist, post-post transition theory and post-conflict forms of 'hope' by critically reconsidering the social and intimate life of Croatian youth with different socioeconomic backgrounds.
The paper deploys ethnographic investigations of the ways in which multiple possible futures are given substance in shifting everyday contexts. By investigating adolescent's yearnings for possible futures and their capacity to engage in creating them we try to explore anthropologically the intimacy of feelings related with hope in everyday life in the transitional post-post war and pre-EU context.
Not just any port after a storm: patronage, political opportunism, cultural heritage, and maritime identity on the Catalan Coast
In 1911 a storm battered Spain’s Mediterranean coast with dramatic consequences. Analysis of the local response, construction of a fishing port in a town without fishermen, engages key foci of the Anthropology of the Mediterranean and of disasters, including patronage, identity and opportunism.
The 1st of February 1911 a terrible and unpredicted storm affected most of the Spanish Mediterranean coast, from Catalonia to Murcia, causing the loss of an unknown number of vessels and nearly ninety deaths, hundreds of injuries, mainly among the population engaged in fishing. Management of this catastrophe during the following weeks, months and years provides interesting examples concerning key foci of the Anthropology of the Mediterranean, such as patronage. But it is also useful to approach this event from the perspective of the Anthropology of hazards and disasters (Oliver-Smith, 1996) in order to analyze behavioral responses, social changes and what Terradas (2011) calls "the political opportunity of disasters".
As a result of this 1911 storm, a fishing port was constructed. This paper analyses the decision to build it in one of the rare villages on the Catalan coast with almost no fishermen, a village whose glorious marine past, related to commerce with America, ended half a century before the disaster. Drawing on ongoing ethnographic and historical research begun in 2009 in a fishing port of the central Catalan coast, this paper examines the management of this catastrophe as a process of re-construction of a maritime identity by local elites. Of particular interest is the place of attracting tourists in the decision-making of these elites. The paper closes with a brief comparison of two instances of heritagisation, processes subsequent to 1911 disaster and similar processes in the commemoration of 100th anniversary of the disaster in 2011.
Remembrance agency in the remaking of cultural landscapes: the case of the La Majella National Park in the Abruzzo region, Italy
This paper addresses how legitimate agency and authority of management regimes are sought through mnemonic entrepreneurship. It investigates the attempt to restore and safeguard the biodiversity of the Mediterranean basin focusing on the preservation and conservation of territorial heritage as a public-private arrangement.
The insight that human activity by now permeates all processes on Earth has led to a shift in the management of natural and cultural heritage towards approaches that recognize human-environmental resources as integrated and continuous. In the attempt to restore and safeguard the biotic communities and the genetic resources of the Mediterranean basin—one of the worlds' 18 biodiversity hotspots - international agreements and national decrees have been adopted to facilitate the protection of area biodiversity.
The establishment of the Majella National Park in the mountainous Abruzzi region, some 200 kilometres east of Rome, presents the background for this paper and addresses how the park through the enforcement of local cultural and biological diversity has constructed the Majella territory as a diversified cultural landscape. By constructing the Majella territory as a diversified cultural landscape and mobilizing the local communities as key partners in the protection of environmental assets, the park has strived to become part of locality, and actualizing the establishment of a 'native society' and taken the role of helping people of the area connect to place and time. It investigates how the park, in the arrival at legitimate agency and authority of management regimes, positions as an agent of 'mnemonic socialization' (Zerubavel 1006) in enabling residents' sense of belonging, intensifying protective concern and making the local communities more supportive of the park and its intention to recover territorial resources.
This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.