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SIEF2013 11th Congress: Tartu, Estonia.
30 June - 4 July, 2013

SIEF2013: Circulation

Tartu, Estonia; 30th June - 4th July


The parliament of crisis: the saving of the European market and its effects

Location Jakobi 2, 336
Date and Start Time 03 July, 2013 at 10:30


Asta Vonderau (Martin-Luther University Halle) email
Kerstin Poehls (Universität Hamburg) email
Mail All Convenors

Short Abstract

Understanding Europeanization as a circular process, the workshop investigates the effects of 'crisis policies', which aim to save the market: What subjectivities and social relations are re-produced, and what social-material constellations make it possible to grasp these effects ethnographically?

Long Abstract

The current 'crisis' in Europe is mostly described in economical terms as ruining the European fiscal union and harming the common market. Accordingly, the main aim of European politics today is saving the 'market' both as an arena of power struggles and an ideal that guides political decisions. This attempt can be understood as a genuine neoliberal project in the sense of the "remaking and redeployment of the state as the core agency that actively fabricates the subjectivities, social relations and collective representations suited to making the fiction of markets real and consequential" (Loic Wacquant 2012: 68).

What are the every-day effects of fighting the crisis and saving the European market? What kinds of subjectivities, social relations and collective representations are being produced? And how can they be grasped ethnographically? Understanding Europeanization as a multi-layered and essentially circular process (Borneman/Fowler) and following Latour's notion of the parliament of things, the workshop will focus on temporal and situational social-material constellations in different everyday contexts which make it possible to grasp how the 'crisis' and 'the European market' are experienced, contested and (re-)produced.

We especially invite contributions that

(a) explore how materialities reflect and shape new social relations and changing power hierarchies;

(b) demonstrate how policies aiming to fight the crisis and to save the European market take effect through different scales/spheres of society and organize them in a new way;

(c) demonstrate how 'crisis', although being portrayed as a temporal phenomenon to be overcome, turns into a permanent state that brings about its specific material arrangements in every-day life.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.


EU conceptions: Europeanisation and kinship in a German fertility clinic

Author: Maren Heibges (Humboldt University Berlin)  email

Short Abstract

This paper focuses on the implementation of the EU Tissue Directive in Berlin fertility clinics and its effects on emerging forms of kinship, on new medical actors, and on institutional hierarchies. Within this process Europe is also constituted as a specific space for the different actors involved.

Long Abstract

For anthropologists the legislation and regulation of reproductive technologies in the European Union affords a unique possibility to grasp some of the complexities involved in the process of Europeanization: not only in terms of changing practices of identification and the circulation of political ideas, images and ideals, but also with respect to more mundane aspects such as laws, safety directives and standards. The paper focuses on one small and fairly specific piece of European regulation within the legislation of assisted reproductive technologies - on the EU Tissue and Cells Directive. It looks into one moment of its translation into actual practice when the EU Tissue Directive arrives at two Berlin fertility clinics and leads the actors there to pass through a number of often negatively experienced transformations. By ethnographically focusing on the effects and ramifications of the EU Tissue Directive from a local perspective and by way of a single case study the paper illustrates the role of seemingly unspectacular or, as Susan Leigh Star would probably have argued, "boring" aspects of Europeanisation. These aspects change how kinship in Germany (in this case with the help of reproductive medicine and donated sperm) can be done - and they also reveal how the discursive and material space called Europe is locally constituted.

The abolition of a culture: EU-policies and coastal fisheries

Author: Jeppe Høst (University of Copenhagen)  email

Short Abstract

The paper describes the crisis in European fishery and discusses the current EU-policies with their impact on coastal fishery. EU-policies for 2014 introduce privatization of maritime resources that will lead to a concentration of rights and the disappearance of coastal fishery with its cultural heritage.

Long Abstract

The paper describes the crisis in European fishery from an anthropological point of view and discusses the current EU-policies with their impact on coastal fishery. The central element of the EU-policies for 2014-2020 is the privatization of maritime resources that will lead to a concentration of rights and power and at the same time the disappearance of artesanial and coastal fishery with its cultural heritage (material and immaterial). The paper also shows strategies of coastal fishermen to avoid this destiny.

Since the 1970s European fishery is in crisis. Maritime resources have decreased significantly. At the same time fishing capacities have grown inspite of policies that aimed at a decrease. In this situation the European Commission has proposed to introduce a new tool: privatization of the amount that can be caught. This policy will create a market for a resource that until now has been free and it will attrack international companies willing to displace weaker competitors. Coastal fishermen, mostly organized as selfemployed, have to borrow money from the banks and will have difficulties in the run for privatized resources.

The paper deals with this situation analysing the competition between industrial and artesanial fishery focusing on the dailylife and strategies of selfemployed fishermen under these new conditions. How do they try to survive? Do they develope new forms of cooperation? What happens with their boats and other heritage? What happens with coastal communities?

Consumer citizenship in Greece: reflections on how everyday objects mirror and shape new social formations

Author: Kerstin Poehls (Universität Hamburg)  email

Short Abstract

By focusing on consumption in the Greek periphery, this paper discusses everyday effects the “European crisis”. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in the Greek Aegean, it addresses the links between ideal type "Consumer citizens", consumption, practices of exchange/subsistence and Europeanisation.

Long Abstract

This paper focuses on the relation between European crisis and everyday consumption and is based on (on-going) ethnographic fieldwork in the Greek and EU periphery.

It addresses two aspects:

(a) What does "Consumer Citizenship" mean - what are the political ideas behind, which are the (both affirmative and subversive) practices? How do individual life style decisions and political agendas under the auspices of crisis relate to the ideal type "Consumer Citizen"?

(b) What are the specific changes within everyday consumption as they can be observed in the context of a medium-sized city in the Greek Aegean? Where and when does exchange economy come in, what are the specific practices of subsistence in 21st century Europe? How do social actors talk about their changing lifestyles, and how do they link them to economic and political crisis?

Through the diverse and contradictory practices that often depart from a critical view of both the (Greek) nation state and EU integration, it can be seen how the circular effects of Europeanisation unfold precisely where the effects of Europe are being harshly criticised.

The shadows of transparency: crisis policies and disobedient markets on the margins of Europe

Author: Asta Vonderau (Martin-Luther University Halle)  email

Short Abstract

This paper analyses the material forms and effects of local crisis policies in Lithuania, which aim to fight the shadow economy of open air markets and to Europeanise these supposedly unregulated spaces.

Long Abstract

The paper ethnographically documents the introduction of cash registers in Lithuanian open air markets, and discusses them as an example for saving and transparency policies propagated in the country in order to overcome the economic crisis. It shows how open air markets and vendors active on such markets (traditionally perceived as unruly spaces and individuals, respectively) are politically contructed and publicly represented as territories and communities of shadow and missing transparency.

Furthermore, the paper observes the negotiations and resistances which emerge during this process, and which contest official notions of ‚shadow' and ‚transparency'. Pointing out the intended and unintended material effects of these policies, it demonstrates how forms of European neoliberal governmentality and subjectivity are spread following the rhetorics and politics of crisis, and it also questions the assumed omnipresence and effectiveness of these ideological models.

Lifemodes in times of crisis: Spain and Denmark as examples

Authors: Klaus Schriewer (Universidad de Murcia)  email
Niels Jul Nielsen (University of Copenhagen)  email

Short Abstract

The paper presents a research-project to carry out in European countries. It deals with the changes, life-modes (highly skilled specialists, civil servants, wage-earners) are undergoing these years. The related changes in everyday-life are part of European states strategies into a new world order.

Long Abstract

The project presented will study the transformations life-modes in European countries undergo. The paper explores the dramatic changes in different life-modes in Spain and Denmark and the strategies to manage the new situation. Wage-earners' conditions are challenged profoundly, subsistence economy life-modes are taken over by capitalist corporations. In Denmark it seems like the main priority of the state is to provide better conditions for specialists and innovative groups who are regarded the main tool in order to ensure that society will maintain its ability to cope with the challenges of a new world order, in Spain in contrast the state is not able to stop emigrating specialists and it substitutes civil servants through privatization meanwhile the conditions for wage-earner's worsen.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.