Uni-Logo
You are here: Home LATE-SUMMER SCHOOL 2015 Participants
Document Actions

Participants

Acuna, EstebanUniversity of FreiburgRomani Mobilities across the Atlantic: An Ethnograpy of Movement and Connections Among Romani Groups
Aldridge, LynleyUniversity of LeedsThe Overseas Working Holiday and Graduate Employment Trajectories: A Cross-Cultural Comparison
Avdzhieva, AneliyaUniversity of Plovdiv 'Paisii Hilendarski'Mobility, Gender and Social Networks Among Roma People
Fitzpatrick, Kathy
 
Memorial University of NewfoundlandWhat's Mobility Got To Do With It? Newfoundland Home Care Workers' Experiences and Government Policies.
Fradejas-García, Ignacio
 
Mimar Sinan Fine Arts UniversityLiving Away From Home(land): Conflict Resolution and Resilience Imaginaries of Syrians Beyond Borders.
Godfrey, Nerida
 
University of New South WalesMoved to Move: Dancers Experience of Migration
Heusgen, Kirsten
 
Technical University DortmundArtefacts of a Transnational Mobility: Transnational Academics and the Meaning, Transformation and Circulation of Their ‚Moved‘ Objects
Johnson, Dana N.
 
University of Massachusetts AmherstWhat Will You do Here? Dignified Work and the Politics of Mobility in Serbia
Joos, AnjaUniversity of FreiburgOn the Significance of Mobility and Residency Rights. A Comparative Case Study on the Situation of the Yeniche Minority in Germany and Switzerland.
Kreusch, ElenaUniversity of ViennaCircus Mobilities. Negotiations of Space and (Re)Production of Meaning.
Labigne, JeanneUniversity of FreiburgMobile Work-Life Arrangements of Contemporary Street Performers in Europe
Ligurgo, ValeriaUniversity of LouvainNew Worlds of Work. Digital and Media Literacy in Teamwork and Distance Work Practices.
Lipan, StefanNational School of Political Science and Public AdministrationCaring Morally. The Case of Romanian Children in the Foster Care System
Majeed, Bhat Iqball
 
Jawaharlal Nehru UniversityNomadism, Armed Conflict and Marginalization: Bakkarwals in Context
Naidoo, Lucille-Dawn
 
University of KwaZulu-NatalSouth African Primary School, Migrant Teachers’ Experiences in the Arab Gulf countries.
Oommen, Elsa T
 
University of WarwickMigration for 'Work and Play': A Gendered Analysis of the Youth Mobility Scheme to the UK
Papageorgiou, Antigoni
 
University of LeedsMicro-Economies of Culture and Creativity: An Exploration of the Politics of Creative Work in Two Cities
Pavlova-Hannam, Gergina
 
University of SunderlandWork, Leisure and Mobilities of Bulgarian Students and Migrants to the North-East of England.
Ramella, AnnaUniversity of SiegenMobility as Place? A Digital Ethnography of Movement Within Music as a Profession
Schling, HannahKings CollegeGender, Temporality, and the Reproduction of Labour Power: Women Migrant Workers in South China
Sieber, MarkusUniversity of BerneMobile Lives in Switzerland Between 1930 - 2015
Telve, KeiuUniversity of TartuTransnationality in Estonia-Finland Mobility Sphere: Case Study of Estonian Men in Finland
Visic, TanjaLudwig Maximilians UniversityMicro-Politics of Motherhood and Transnationalization of Care: Experiences of Domestic Workers from Former Yugoslavia in Germany
Yadav, SmitaUniversity of SussexDignity from Nothing: Labour and Work Amongst the Gonds of Central India.


 


 

Acuna, Esteban (University of Freiburg, European Ethnology):

Romani Mobilities across the Atlantic: An Ethnograpy of Movement and Connections Among Romani Groups
 


Aldridge, Lynley (University of Leeds, Sociology):

The Overseas Working Holiday and Graduate Employment Trajectories: A Cross-Cultural Comparison

Background
Increasingly, young people in the UK are taking time out of formal education and employment to work and travel overseas (e.g., working holidays), supported by a burgeoning 'gap year industry' (Jones 2004). However, very little is known about the impact of such mobility (Jones 2004). Many claims about the benefits of the gap year are based on perceptions rather than evidence, and systematic research into its impact is urgently required (Heath 2007).
Of particular interest is the relationship between privilege and mobility (Bauman 1998; Ohnmacht, Maksim and Bergman 2009; Urry 2007). Concern has been expressed in the UK that overseas gap years are the province of the privileged and may exacerbate existing inequalities, with participants able to draw on their experiences upon their return to gain an edge over their peers in competition for educational and employment opportunities (Heath 2007). A number of scholars have examined ideas of travel as the accumulation of cultural capital (Bourdieu 1997/1986), and Snee (2009) in particular suggests that future research might explore whether and how returned gappers might deploy such capital (i.e., by telling the 'right story') to their advantage in the contexts of education and employment.
Recent research around temporary youth mobility highlights the significance of the specific context in which such mobility occurs (e.g., Wilson, Fisher and Moore 2009; Yoon 2015). A tension has been identified, for example, between policy, educational, employer and media discourses about the benefits of international mobility in Japan, and the (often apparently negative) consequences of such mobility to career prospects for Japanese young people (e.g., Kawashima 2010; see also Kobayashi 2013).

Research questions and focus
My research therefore focuses on young people's experiences of temporary overseas mobility (e.g., gap years and working holidays), from a cross cultural comparative perspective. In particular, I am interested in exploring what motivates graduates from Britain and Japan to undertake overseas working holidays, and what graduates, employers/recruiters and those knowledgeable about graduate career trajectories (e.g., university careers advisers) see as the perceived consequences of such overseas gap years and working holidays.
Research methods
I explore these questions through analysis of data generated through semi-structured qualitative interviews with three groups of informants:
• individuals who took overseas gap years or working holidays after graduation (or occasionally as university students; 10 from the UK and 18 from Japan);
• university careers advisers and others knowledgeable about graduate employment trajectories (6 from the UK and 8 from Japan);
• graduate employers and recruiters (5 from the UK and 8 from Japan).
Interviews were conducted in the language of the participants' choice, transcribed in full, and are currently being coded by content and thematically, to identify variation within (e.g., by class and gender) and between contexts.

Outcomes and significance
The cross-cultural comparative perspective adopted by the proposed study is a new and important extension of existing literature. This facilitates exploration of specific socio-cultural factors that may influence aspirations, values and experiences in relation to mobility and employment in Britain and Japan. In particular, it allows for examination of competing discourses about the way the self 'should' be constructed and the skills and qualities valued in each context (e.g., Rear 2008; Rear 2013). Further, similarities and differences in the socially constituted meaning of such mobilities (Manderscheid 2009) will be investigated. Ultimately, this research will contribute to our understanding of processes influencing graduate career trajectories and transitions in both Japan and the UK, and employer perspectives on the role of various forms of overseas experience within labour market processes.

References

BAUMAN, Z. 1998. Globalization: The Human Consequences. Cambridge: Polity Press.

BOURDIEU, P. 1997/1986. The forms of capital. In: A. H. HALSEY, H. LAUDER, P. BROWN and A. S. WELLS, eds. Education: Culture, Economy, and Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.46-58.

HEATH, S. 2007. Widening the gap: Pre-university gap years and the ‘economy of experience’. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 28(1), pp.89 - 103.

JONES, A. 2004. Review of Gap Year Provision. London: Department for Education and Skills.

KAWASHIMA, K. 2010. Japanese working holiday makers in Australia and their relationship to the Japanese labour market: Before and after. Asian Studies Review, 34(3), pp.267 - 286.

KOBAYASHI, Y. 2013. Global English capital and the domestic economy: The case of Japan from the 1970s to early 2012. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 34(1), pp.1-13.

MANDERSCHEID, K. 2009. Unequal mobilities. In: T. OHNMACHT, H. MAKSIM and M. M. BERGMAN, eds. Mobilities and inequality. Farnham: Ashgate, pp.27-50.

OHNMACHT, T., et al. 2009. Mobilities and Inequality. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Company.

REAR, D. 2008. Critical thinking and modern Japan: Conflict in the discourse of government and business. Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies [online]. 8, [Accessed 8 August 2015]. Available from: http://www.japanesestudies.org.uk/articles/2008/Rear.html.
---. 2013. Converging work skills? Job advertisements and generic skills in Japanese and Anglo–Saxon contexts. Asian Business & Management, 12, pp.173–196.

SNEE, H. 2009. Framing the Gap Year: Difference, Distinction and Identity Work in Online Travel Narratives. PhD thesis, University of Manchester.

URRY, J. 2007. Mobilities. Cambridge: Polity.

WILSON, J., et al. 2009. The OE goes ‘home’: Cultural aspects of a working holiday experience. Tourist Studies, 9(1), pp.3-21.

YOON, K. 2015. A national construction of transnational mobility in the ‘Overseas Working Holiday Phenomenon’ in Korea. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 36(1), pp.71-87.
 


Avdzhieva, Aneliya (University of Plovdiv 'Paisii Hilendarski', Social Anthropology):

Mobility, Gender and Social Networks Among Roma People

Already as a student in the BA program in Ethnology, in 2010, I started researching Roma women’s images, roles, agency, social networks and capital, and their mobility trying to track the contemporary construction of the social and cultural reality of Roma people in Bulgaria. The research has been conducted in both urban and rural areas of the region of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Part of it resulted in my BA thesis in Ethnology Labour Migration of Roma Women (Stolipinovo, Sheker Mahalla, Hadzhi Hassan Mahalla, town of Plovdiv) and in my MA thesis in Ethnology Woman and Labour – About Roma Women’s Roles and Competences (Urban-Rural Case Comparison). I continued my work in this field after starting my PhD study in Social Anthropology in 2014.
The main research question to which I aim to answer is: ‘How notions of gender, social networks, and mobility interconnect and influence the social reality construction of Roma people?’ I have been trying to deal with it by studying labour mobility strategies of Roma women.
The research also intends to answer further questions as, for example: How mobility (social and spatial) shape and reshape social structure? What are the specific women agency, knowledge, skills? How the social networks are constructed due to the gender differences and mobility vectors? How the mobility is legitimized by the other family and community members and are there any specific social consequences for the mobile person due to gender characteristics? What is the role of ‘trust’ and institutions? What are the strategies build in order to move and the ‘fields’ (after Pierre Bourdieu) and social games, played in them?
The research relies on the qualitative methods usually applied in ethnological and anthropological field. The methodology is based on instrumentalization of trade and other labour practices as reasons for labour mobility of Roma women. Trader women identify themselves as Turks, and speak a variation of Turkish language, and therefore, they are constantly travelling to Turkey, performing the role of ‘suitcase traders’ – a practice often performed by many Bulgarian citizens, not only belonging to the Roma communities, after the political and economic change in 1989. Another emphasis will be on other mobility vectors directed to Western Europe, where mobility specifics differ by the nature of labour practices. In this case there are more conditions for realization of labour mobility and if they are not fulfilled, then there are social consequences for the mobile individual and the family in Bulgaria – here the role of ‘trust’ is very important. Additional specific characteristic of the research methodology is the fact that the fieldwork is conducted with other researcher – being two on the field site helps for deeper and more reliable contact with the respondents and also has its differences from the stereotype in anthropology of an alone young man-researcher, who goes somewhere away from home for an year and studies indigenous groups, predominantly. Forthcoming in short time is to ‘ride-along’ (after John Urry) with women traders to Turkey and conduct multi-cited ethnography.

 


Fitzpatrick, Kathy (Memorial University of Newfoundland, Sociology):

What's Mobility Got To Do With It? Newfoundland Home Care Workers' Experiences and Government Policies.

In the last 30 years, there has been an increase in the demand for home care workers in western countries. Predominantly performed by women, home care work enables those who are elderly and those who may be less mobile because of physical or mental disabilities to reside at home rather than in institutions. Home care workers are paraprofessionals who cook, clean, and do personal care for clients. Home care workers can be local or international workers employed directly by public or private home care agencies, or directly employed by clients. Their work takes place in transient and sometimes multiple workplaces. They can engage in relatively complex employment-related geographical mobility (E-RGM). E-RGM refers to commuting to and from workplaces and mobility between multiple workplaces and associated with work. Home care workers often work in transient workplaces that can frequently change. In some instances, home care workers commute across municipal, provincial and national boundaries for extended periods of time for work. Different patterns of E-RGM may influence home care worker’s working conditions and health and safety. Likewise, local socio-economic situations may influence home care worker’s E-RGM patterns. Patterns of E-RGM have the potential to influence and be influenced by familial obligations, community volunteering, and leisure. While there is some research that discusses the scheduling of home care workers in France, there is no research that examines the E-RGM of home care workers.
My Ph.D. thesis is a comparative study of home care workers residing in two communities in Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John’s Metropolitan Area, an urban region, and Southwest Newfoundland and Labrador, a rural region. Newfoundland and Labrador is the most easterly province in Canada. Using qualitative multi-methods, my research examines how different patterns of E-RGM affect the working conditions and health of home care workers and explores the interplay between paid work, reproductive work, community volunteering and leisure. The bulk of my research data is based on semi-structured interviews with 37 home care workers, 10 home care agencies and 17 key informants as well as non-participant observation on the Marine Atlantic ferry and terminals in North Sydney, Nova Scotia, and Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland. Also, I analyzed government and home care agency policies and union collective agreements. I construct a typology of four patterns of E-RGM experienced by home care workers residing in Newfoundland and Labrador based on the spatial and temporal dimensions of home care workers. The four patterns of E-RGM include daily local E-RGM, local weekly E-RGM; interprovincial E-RGM; and international E-RGM. Preliminary results suggest that the patterns of E-RGM are influenced by familial obligations, life cycle, local employment opportunities and economic circumstances. Further, in some situations home care workers adjust their patterns of E-RGM to be more in sync with their partners’ E-RGM patterns.

 


Fradejas-García, Ignacio (Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Sociology):

Living Away From Home(land): Conflict Resolution and Resilience Imaginaries of Syrians Beyond Borders.

Millions of population has been displaced by the Syrian war. Some are living as guests in Turkey, the most part —approximately 1,2 million— are settled in the cities along the Turkish-Syrian border facing a new life situation outside of their country of origin. After four years, the conflict has no end in sight and the presence of Syrians in Turkey has become permanent. Thus, the host country is developing policies to ameliorate some social and economic problems of the guest population. Accordingly, if the conflict ends it is assumed that the camps will be dismantled and the camp population will be back to Syria. But in the other hand, if the war ends, what will happen with the 1,2 million of Syrians that are living out of the camps? How they imagine their resilience according to different aftermath scenarios? How the permanent/temporary imagination affects their daily life?
My general goal is to analyze the Syrians resilience imaginaries about what is happening in their daily life, what different assessment can be done in different scenarios and what will happen in a future aftermath of the conflict. The main methodology will be ethnographic fieldwork, using participant observation, oriented interviews and history of life as the main tools to analyze their daily practices and discourses. My fieldwork will be done in the city of Gaziantep and all interviewees and participants will be anonymous during data collection and reports.
 


Godfrey, Nerida (University of New South Wales, Geography):

Moved to Move: Dancers Experience of Migration

This research engages with the artists in a niche of the arts sector- contemporary dance- that persists ‘amongst its proponents despite its status as a marginal subculture whose artists labour under precarious physical and economic conditions (Davida 2011, 31)’. Members of the dance community have long been conceptualised as highly transient, transnational arts practitioners (see Burridge and Dyson 2012 for examples). However, there is an absence of empirical evidence, especially from geographical perspectives, that considers how dancers negotiate their mobile journeys and engage with the unique dance ecologies of place(s). Accordingly, this research seeks to address this gap in knowledge by exploring the mobility of dance practitioners. The research also directly responds to Hracs and Leslie (2014, 71) call for further research ‘…that pays attention to how aesthetic and creative labour are experienced in different places.’ I take this path to uncover dancers’ conceptualisations of mobility and to look for new ways for peak bodies, institutions and governments to better scaffold arts sectors.
A novel research methodology is employed to gather data for this project, in the form of a mixed medium ‘life-mapping’ technique. This technique comprises semi-structured interviews, construction of a drawn ‘time-line’ and a filmed movement response. This methodology attempts to garner the ‘fateful moments’ in the lives of dancers that have influenced their mobile journeys. The utilisation of mixed techniques seeks information that is verbal, visual and visceral and can be conceived of and analysed as qualitative and quantitative data. The information uncovered to date via this technique is rich, multidimensional and provides a fascinating insight into complex social-cultural journeys and encounters.

Empirical and Theoretic Context
Theorisations of mobility and creative cities are increasingly used to guide arts policies and objectives in major cities around the world. However, these policies are often nested within urban renewal and economic development initiatives. In current arts policy discourse as in geographical discourses, there is much discussion of mobility often with an emphasis on ways to facilitate mobility for arts practitioners or lessen the difficulties that mobility may present. According to Card (2006, 13), the employment environment induces Australian independent contemporary dance artists to become ‘responsive scavengers’, who are able to:

…be where they need to be in short fragmented time frames offered by project employment…function[ing] in a state of perpetual crisis through a life of irregular support and erratic employment histories (Card 2006, 13).


Although there are many, mostly anecdotal case studies and narratives that champion artist mobility, there is an absence of research that unpacks the many different modes of mobility and the ways that practitioners experience and respond to these. Further, in geographic literature there have been recent calls to consider links between places, creativity and mobility to look for new ways to support artists.

Research Questions
My research thematic seeks to uncover the following:
- Linkages between discursive constructions of creative artist mobility and the lived experiences of contemporary dance practitioners;
- Similarities and departures in narratives of experience and ‘fateful moments’ as memories are drawn from verbal, visual and visceral remembrances; and
- Encountering and moving within and between sites of dance; what curbs artist motility and what spurs mobility?

Methods
Devising a research method to map the haptic life experiences of contemporary dancers demanded seeking ways to integrate modes of kinaesthetic practice into ethnographic and human geographic research methods. This need stemmed from understanding that dance is ‘an everyday practice of urban life’ (Hamera 2007, 22) that is, by nature, comprised of the ‘ephemeral, the indefinite or the irregular’ (Law 2004, 4). The research methodology devised conversed with practices that are both ‘creative’ and ‘artistic’ and provides a further example of the techniques of artistic practice intermingling with human geographical research methodologies (Hawkins 2013, 53). The chosen methodological design both follows and supports the work of (Worth 2011) and attends to Collins (2012, 297) assertion that it is necessary to make both ‘methodological and analytical departures’ in order to study and capture a broadened understanding of mobility. This research also draws from Collins (2012, 297) work in that it deploys a flexible research strategy that ‘attends to the specificities of research populations.’
The products of the life-mapping process are approached as objects whose making is questioned as they continue to emerge from embodied memories that may then be remade, reworked or revised in their own process of becoming (Crouch 2010, 7). Thus the precipitations that emerge from verbal, visual or visceral narrations of place, and the devices or processes used to craft the life-maps are reflected upon as another vantage point to peer into a memory and into the present.

References
Burridge, S. & Dyson, J. 2012. Shaping the Landscpe: Celebrating Dance in Australia, New Delhi, Routledge.

Card, A. 2006. Body for Hire?: the state of dance in Australia, Strawberry Hills, Currency House.

Collins, F. L. 2012. Researching mobility and emplacement: examining transience and transnationality in international student lives. Area, 44, 296-304.

Crouch, D. 2010. Flirting with space: thinking landscape relationally. Cultural Geographies, 17, 5-18.

Davida, D. 2011. A Template for Art World Dance Ethnography: The Luna "Nouvelle Danse" Event. In: Davida, D. (ed.) Fields in Motion: Ethnography in the Worlds of Dance. Canada: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

Derrida, J. & Mcdonald, C. V. 1995. Bodies of the Text: Dance as Theory, Literature as Dance, New Brunswick, Rutgers University Press.

Hamera, J. 2007. Dancing Communities: Performance, Difference, and Connection in the Global City, New York, Palgrave Macmillan.

Hawkins, H. 2013. Geography and art. An expanding field: Site, the body and practice. Progress in Human Geography, 37, 52-71.

Hracs, B. J. & Leslie, D. 2014. Aesthetic labour in creative industries: the case of independent musicians in Toronto, Canada. Area, 46, 66-73.

Law, J. 2004. After Method: Mess in Social Science Research, New York, Routledge.

Thrift, N. 2006. Space. Theory, Culture & Society, 23, 139-146.

Worth, N. 2011. Evaluating life maps as a versatile method for lifecourse geographies. Area, 43, 405-412


Heusgen, Kirsten (Technical University Dortmund, Cultural Anthropology/Material Culture Studies):

Artefacts of a Transnational Mobility: Transnational Academics and the Meaning, Transformation and Circulation of Their ‚Moved‘ Objects

What do personal objects mean to transnational academics? Can a transnational biography be manifested in material objects? How does objects visualize and communicate cultural and social patterns and how does they change when national or cultural borders are being crossed? How do international academics develop a (trans‐)national identity and what is the role of their ‘moved’ objects? These
questions are the core of the dissertation project. Mobility is often presented as an indispensable element in the academic career trajectories: A stay – or multiple stays – abroad is today often considered as a requirement of a successful career and the
initiation or enhancement of multinational friendship, cooperations and an overall transnational network system. But mobility of young academics does not only mean the movement of a person between two or more place but also the flow of objects. Every movement is framed by objects – most of the time no one travels plain. Our material cosmos consists of many different thing‐categories: objects of our every‐day
life, things for academic/professional life, memorials, books, technical devises, souvenirs, cloth, and so on. Especially when you live for a longer time in another country or move to a new destination one needs to make decisions: what do you what to take with you, which things can be useful in a new country or which things can you leave behind and which new things you what to acquire. This is what interests me. I want to learn from international alumni who have studies in Germany which personal objects were essential for their stay in Germany (and other countries), what were their favorite objects, for example to make their stay in Germany more agreeable or successful. I like to find out which familiar things moved together with them to Germany and which new (German) things were added. Beyond this more descriptive and categorizing level I am trying to find out why some things matter (Miller 1998) and how the usage and meaning might change when the national, social and cultural context is shifting. Therefore the analysis of the process of appropriation and transformation is the main objective. Things, wether they are artefacts or natural objects, have not only an utile function and material value, they are also regarded as sign, symbol and medium (Samida u.a. 2014). In addition all
things can be an agency for messages and are a subjective expression of identity and emotion (Hahn 2005) and because of the plurivalent character of things the individual contextual is essential for a research perspective (König 2005, 2013; Hahn 2005).
At this point my research starts: To gain a deeper insight into the ‘moving’ biography and the objects related to a transnational life, I am conducting a series of biographic interview. I want to get to know how the biography and the mobility – with multiple stays in different countries or multi‐locality ‐ had or have an impact on the individual material cosmos and the material culture. With an interdisciplinary approach I am trying to combine Mobility Studies with Material Culture Studies.
 


Johnson, Dana N.(University of Massachusetts Amherst, Anthropology):

What Will You do Here? Dignified Work and the Politics of Mobility in Serbia
 

“What are you going to do here? Finish Megatrend and hit the road!” This
2011 billboard slogan for the private university Megatrend reignited a longsmoldering
controversy about the future of Serbia’s skilled workforce. Academic,
governmental, and public concern with retaining Serbia’s best and brightest, and
with harnessing Serbia’s “human capital” abroad, has become pronounced since the
end of Slobodan Milošević’s regime in 2000. According to predictably regular media
accounts, Serbia’s “young and educated” are fleeing the country in one of the highest
rates of “brain drain” in the world.1 The tone of such coverage is invariably grim. One
recent headline declared: “Brain drain will stop as soon as everyone leaves.”2
As the accounts sketched above suggest, migration is often considered a
rational manifestation of dissatisfaction with political, social, and/or economic
conditions in one’s home country (see Kaneff and Pine 2011). Yet scholars of Mobility
Studies have long shown how such conditions are differently understood and
experienced. My research provides an opportunity to consider mobility as a key
vector along which responses to the disappointments of postsocialist “transition” can
be mapped and in relation to which the reconfiguration of middle-class aspirations
for a “good life” is taking shape in Serbia.
My preliminary research suggests that conceptions of something like what I
have glossed “dignified work” are embedded in the discourse on brain drain and
intimately inform how Serbian youth understand themselves as (in)effective agents
within shifting socioeconomic and political circumstances (Greenberg 2011). To
access this nexus I ask: How are meanings of mobility and work co-constructed in
relation to the politicized discourse on the migration of talent? By attending to the
conditions of possibility in which migratory decisions are made and practices
patterned, along with how different stances on the issue are constructed and
inhabited, my project seeks to interrogate the political, economic, emotional, and
moral logics of the politics of mobility—an inquiry with broad implications for
anthropological interest in human agency, class formation, and social change.
An emergent trend in migration literature has sought to integrate scales of
analysis and attend to the power dynamics of mobility by keeping immobility or fixity
in the frame (see Jónsson 2011:4). My research is likewise premised on the idea that
attending to the aspirations, strategies, and life projects of nonmigrants as well as
those who are planning to leave is a crucial analytic dimension in contexts where
mobility is a politicized “field of possible action” (Kaufmann 2002:1) (I have focused
on young entrepreneurs who have decided to stay and try to make a living in Serbia).
Attending to “how mobilities, as socio-cultural constructs, are experienced and
imagined” (Salazar and Smart 2011:v) also anticipates the discourse-centered
approach to mobility advocated by Birgitta Frello (2008) and exemplified by Hilary
Dick’s (2010, 2013) research amongst rural Mexican nonmigrants on “the practices through which people articulate and take stances on” mobility (2013:413). I seek to
fuse these veins of research with an approach that remains attentive to the complex
logics that compel migrants to seek out “new contexts in which they might be
differently valued, differently desirable, and differently competitive” (Patico
2010:40; also Chu 2010).
Utilizing a range of ethnographic methods, my research combines participant
observation with in-depth interviews, focus groups, and policy and media analysis in
pursuit of three objectives:
Objective 1) To map the policy world of brain drain.3 The position
articulated by Serbia’s Migration Management Strategy is that there is not much to
be done to keep Serbia’s young and educated at home, and that resources are better
targeted toward making use of the skills and knowledge of the diaspora “at a
distance.” However, I quickly discovered that the political discourse which frames
brain drain as a problem offers “entrepreneurship” as its solution. How is the figure
of the Serbian “potential migrant” cast? How is talent (and the potential for its
realization through migration or entrepreneurship) configured as part of the
discourse on brain drain and in individual stances toward mobility (see objective 2)?
How do such discourses articulate with the moral valuation of conditions of work?
Objective 2) To identify and analyze different stances toward
mobility. This is about both the terms in which the decision to stay or to leave is
cast—a decision at once deeply personal as well as profoundly political—as well as
how members of my target group articulate and make use of mobility discourses to
construct themselves as certain social types with access to particular life choices and
chances. My research interrogates how urban university-educated youth grapple with
the political, economic, emotional, and moral dimensions of imagining their futures
at home or abroad. What kind of social selves emerge in discussions of mobility?
How does departure or staying come to be seen as political or apolitical? And in what
ways do notions of dignified work feature in the aspirations and life projects of those
who are planning to leave, have decided to stay, or have returned from abroad?
Objective 3) To interrogate the ideas and values around conditions
of work embedded in the discourse on the migration of talent. Considering
work as “not only a kind of activity but a set of ideas and values related to that
activity” (Ciulla 2000:25), with this objective I aim to hone in on the moral economy
of migration. What are the values attached to labor in the postsocialist economy?
How do young Serbs situate their work lives in a global hierarchy of value, and how is
the economic valuation of labor dependant on, or imbedded within, social relations
and social values (Tsing 2013)? Finally, how does either staying or leaving become a
strategy to dignify the conditions of life and work? Preliminary analysis of my initial
focus group discussions and in-depth interviews points to “value” itself as a key
theme shaping narratives of mobility and work in the context of mounting concern
over the migration of Serbian talent.


Joos, Anja (University of Freiburg, European Ethnology):

On the Significance of Mobility and Residency Rights. A Comparative Case Study on the Situation of the Yeniche Minority in Germany and Switzerland.
 


Kreusch, Elena (University of Vienna, Theatre, Film and Media Studies):

Circus Mobilities. Negotiations of Space and (Re)Production of Meaning.

In continuity with earlier circus forms that persist today, the so called ‘Contemporary Circus’ developed in the mid 90’s. The contemporary ‘label’ does not only refer to a change in contents, form and aesthetics but refers to a shift in socio-economic conditions raising new challenges concerning issues of production and mobility that have not received much attention yet.
Applying an auto-ethnographic perspective, the author* engages a conversation between her practical training and experience in the contemporary circus field and her theoretical training as a scholar*. She also makes use of narrative interviews, participatory observation, and literature research:
In the first step the research project looks at the phenomenon of ‘Contemporary Circus Mobility’ and its implications for circus artists´* ways of relating to space. Drawing on concepts, such as ‘transnationalism’ and ‘postmodern nomadism’, as well as post-colonial / queer-feminist concepts of ‘belonging’.
In the second step the thesis analyses the artists´* negotiations of space in the scenic sphere, focusing on the comparative fields of ,movement' - 'physicality' - 'performativity' - 'spatiality' – ‘temporality’, putting forward the dimension of performative space.
The PhD project therefore focuses on how space is produced and structured both in the social and the scenic spheres of circus artists´* lives, if and how meaning is transferred and transformed from one sphere to another and how these interfaces are structured.
Research in the area of circus mobility and circus specific production of scenic space, can give new impulses and contribute to the further development, differentiation and emancipation of distinct circus theories, which can equally be made fruitful for the fields of Theatre Studies and Social Sciences.
 


Labigne, Jeanne (University of Freiburg, European Ethnology):

Mobile Work-Life Arrangements of Contemporary Street Performers in Europe
 


Ligurgo, Valeria (University of Louvain, Communication):

New Worlds of Work. Digital and Media Literacy in Teamwork and Distance Work Practices.

The background of our doctoral thesis takes place in the context of the narrow relation between society and media. Digital technologies have become highly widespread throughout all the activities of individuals. New tools have emerged thanks to new technologies and have deeply revolutionized our culture and our nature. Our means of communication are more diversified than never and imply various adaptation techniques from the users all over the world.
Various approaches within research in communication coexist to explore the whole sphere of the practices implied by media from diffusion to reception. Today, numerous questions remain uncertain about the implications of our current media environment which find itself transformed by the big variety of digital tools but also with their cohabitation with traditional media.
In this context, our thesis will study the current transformations related to new digital media on the specific area of the workplace. We can already observe clear modifications and concerns on practices such as multiplication of work access points, modifications in the boundaries between private life and professional life, struggle regarding digital documents storage...
The traditional workplace, especially the office environment, is evolving because of these changes. This process affects workers everyday life in a way we cannot yet well estimate. Our thesis will investigate this phenomenon with a focus on 2 particular areas that seem to include meaningful changes that are occurring: ICT-supported teamwork and work at a distance.
Our main goal is to understand these changes investigating the digital and media literacy (DML) competences called for by technology-supported work environment. We will study the existing literature and collect data form the field in order to determine (1) how is DML addressed and practiced in today’s office work and (2) how can DML be further integrated in emerging team/distance work structures and practices in order to support efficient, stimulating and meaningful ways of working. The aim of our approach is to understand how DML competences can help the worker to find meaning in his activities and a sane relation to work allowing him to improve his general well-being and its participation into society.
Specifically, our research will deliver as main research results an up-to-date description of the changing office work competences, practices and structures, with a focus on teamwork and distance work trends; and a conceptual map and set of measurable indicators for DML competences aimed at serving as a resource for societal and policy stakeholders in terms of defining, evaluating, monitoring, recognizing and supporting DML in office work.

Methodology
This phase will be dedicated to the development of an appropriate method for documenting ICT-supported work practices involving teamwork and distance work, from the perspective of the workers who undertake them. The observation method will aim at eliciting how these work practices and the uses of ICT they involve call for specific competences and/or provide resources for competence development.
Data collection will rely on techniques of cognitive ethnography (Hutchins, 2003). The primary observation method will consist in an in-depth semi-structured interview protocol, adapted from those found in the Personal Information Management literature (e.g. Malone 1983; Barreau & Nardi 1995; Boardman & Sasse 2004), involving a guided tour of the interviewee’s work environment(s). Direct observation of the ICT tools used by the informants will be used as a secondary data source. The
literature in CSCW and PIM will be used to identify key types of activities in which the studied competences may become visible, such as: synchronous and asynchronous communication with co-workers, scheduling and planning, information search, collaborative document editing, shared information management, etc.
The interview guide will use these key activity types as basic units of conversation with the informant, and focus on the occurrence in these activities of the competences identified by the conceptual framework developed in the previous task. However, due to the exploratory nature of this empirical work, the activity and competence categories will only serve as a mere proposal, to be validated, corrected and complemented by our observations.
Exploratory research will consist in preliminary interviews, carried out with office workers from organizations in order (1) to assess the feasibility of the observation method and (2) to validate the key activity types as being part of the office work to be observed and documented in future interviews.
Case studies will be selected among Belgian public and private organizations that have introduced changes in their work environment with the intention of enhancing teamwork and/or distance work with ICT, either several years ago (e.g. FPS Social Security, Mobistar) or more recently (e.g. FPS Mobility or FPS Public Health). Selecting the most informative cases will require the case study sampling to aim for a maximum variety in terms of the work organization settings for both teamwork and distance work, as well as in terms of other criteria such as national vs. international scope, size of the organization, etc. Case studies will be chosen at the scale of units or departments within organizations. Fifteen to twenty case studies will be selected. The selection of informants within case studies will seek to achieve diversity, for instance in terms of job profiles (from clerical work to management work), type of tasks in relation to team/distance work, gender, working/mother language of the informant.
Two objectives will be pursued : (1) Mapping the competences—Through successive cycles of coding and writing, the competences related to teamwork and distance work will be defined and articulated with (a) the uses (how and when competences are mobilized and to do what), (b) the individual’s self-assessed level of competence, (c) the skills, knowledge and attitudes mobilized as resources for competences, (d) the collective nature of competence development and (e) the gendered nature of the individual’s relationship to competences. (2) Defining competence indicators—Intra-informant, intra-case study and inter-case study comparisons will be used to define the competences in extension, in terms of performances through which they become manifest. These performances will form the basis for the design of indicators for these competences, and their associated competence levels.


 Lipan, Stefan (National School of Political Science and Public Administration, Anthropology):

Caring Morally. The Case of Romanian Children in the Foster Care System

There are many threads competing for the title of the thread that holds together the fabric of society. One of them is morality. This PhD project is an attempt to better understand the morality of caring constructed among and about 'homeless'1 children in Bucharest, Romania. The questions that guide this research are the followings: what moral meanings, expressed through language and actions, structure the way the state and its representatives care for the 'homeless' children; what moral meaning is given by the children themselves to the received care. Romania has had a very 'delicate' history concerning the care of abandoned children. In December 1989, the estimated number of children living in various state-run institutions was around 170.000. After the lifting of the veil that 'blinded' the West's eyes for half a century, Romania has had a rough and abundant international visibility (read 'depictions embedded in political agendas'),
with a cohort of organizations coming to film, document and save the abandoned children. 'Dreadful', 'inhumane' and 'outrageous' were just a few of the words used to describe the situation. The international community thought that Romanians needed to relearn how to be compassionate in their child care approach. While the rate of child abandonment has remained roughly the same after the communist era, different 'methods' of dealing with abandoned children have been implemented. At the beginning of 2010, more than 14,000 maternal assistants had 20,500 children in their care. The
profession was created in Romania in 1997. Since then, an increasing number of women have turned to this job, especially the long-term unemployed women, who lost their jobs after the dismantling of state industry. Maternal assistants take care of about a third of Romania’s abandoned children, the rest being placed in residential centres or smaller, family-type units. The 'economic crisis' has cut into salaries including the caring system, forcing many to quit their jobs of parents. Thus, many children ended up again on the streets or in other institutions. From this perspective, 'homeless' children appear as a mobile group. Their mobility between institutions and on the streets of cities, especially the capital city, is influenced by different actors led by the moral sentiment of compassion and the moral imperative of care. How is this mobility moralized by the children themselves and by their carers? Different methodological pathways have been chosen for this project: unstructured ethnographic observation and semi-structured interviews/casual conversations with homeless children and foster parents; (participant) observation through volunteering in one or two NGOs that deal with the homeless children; semi-structured interviews with representatives of state-run organizations that deal with homeless children; document analysis. Romania has witness a wholesale restructuring of social service delivery in general and of child care in particular – through the adoption of strategies such as decentralization and deinstitutionalization, followed by regulation based on the enforcement of quality standards and licensing. This can be seen as a modernization project—a deliberate attempt to implement Western policy ideas that had emerged in earlier decades during the shift from “welfarism” to “advanced liberalism” in social policy. This modernization project also meant a modernization of moral conduct. This research is an attempt to better understand how Romanians re-learned to be moral while having as a study case the homeless children and the child care system.
 


Majeed, Bhat Iqball (Jawaharlal Nehru University, Social Sciences):

Nomadism, Armed Conflict and Marginalization: Bakkarwals in Context

The title of my doctoral thesis is, “Nomadism, Armed conflict and Marginalization: Bakkarwals in context”. This study is based in the Indian held state of Jammu and Kashmir which unfortunately is among one of the highest militarized zones of the world.
The idea of this study stemmed from my previous M.phil field work experience. During my years of M.phil field work, I visited many of the rural villages for undertaking the study on the armed conflict and thereafter felt that there is a pressing need for studying this group of people known as Bakkarwals. Bakkarwals are nomadic people who rear sheep and goat and practice transhumance across the Himalayan provinces of Jammu and Kashmir. While going through the academic exercise of literature review with respect to Bakkarwals, I found that there are hardly any studies available which could show the marginalization of this group in a more empirical way. Furthermore the historical and tragic partition of British India was a major blow to this community. Most of the members of this ethnic group went to other side of the border currently under the occupation of Pakistan. Besides this partition made these people border nomads and these borders are always tense and volatile. This group has been facing the marginalizing from all the sides of the prevalent power structures. On one hand side they have been neglected by the development discourse of various regimes in Jammu and Kashmir while as on another side they are still considered to be the out-layers in the ongoing resistance struggle.
Keeping this background in view, what does this study intend to do then? This study is a qualitative study which includes ethnography method for collecting the data from the nomadic population. The study documents the lived experiences of the nomads and tries to understand the dimensions of Nomadism in Kashmir from the perspective of nomads themselves. The study attempts to dissect the linkages that this complex interplay of Identity, armed conflict and marginalization throws up. These linkages become the strong marker for the overall wellbeing of the Bakkarwal community. I would like to put a caveat here that the marginalization is not only in terms of economic one but also the social. Therefore this study makes an effort to analyze social discrimination along with the livelihood concerns that this group is facing. While dissecting the linkages between these three phenomena’s, issues like role of state with respect to Nomadism, Identities dilemmas of Nomads, changing dimension of livelihood patterns are given due consideration. The intersectionality theoretical perspective would be put to use for analyzing the various patterns that draw out form the linkages that are being looked at.
The study is being undertaken with two groups of respondents.
First group (Bakkarwals): Bakkarwals are those people who are completely the nomadic in nature and thus practice transhumance. These people reside at different places both in Jammu as well as Kashmir throughout the year. During summers they abode the meadows of Kashmir valley along with their herds of goat and sheep and make the use of Jammu region during the harsh climatic conditions in winters in Kashmir. Keeping this in view the study would study around 10 deras (households) of Bakkarwals. These 10 deras of Bakkarwals would be followed both in Kashmir as well Jammu. The selection of Bakkarwals deras would be done through purposive sampling keeping in view the accessibility of the pasture, time availability and economic considerations. This is purely an ethnographic study where data collection is undertaken at various different sites.
Second group (prominent Stake holders): this group of respondents would include twenty people from Bakkarwal community who have been or are currently engaged in various sectors of the state. Among the twenty people, I would attempt to study four prominent health personnel, four known academicians, four known administrators’ four known politicians and four known social activists. The scheduled is being be used to collect data from the respondents. The schedule particularly focus on the issues of representation in state institutions, economic policy, pasture ownership rights, common property resources, and livestock marketing. The stalk holders would mostly help in understanding the various policy lacunae with respect to the nomadic population.

 


Naidoo, Lucille-Dawn (University of KwaZulu-Natal, Social Sciences and Education):

South African Primary School, Migrant Teachers’ Experiences in the Arab Gulf countries.

There have been studies that researched the experiences of South African migrant teachers in schools in the Middle East but the emphasis has largely been on teachers in general and not specific to South African primary school teachers’ leaving to the Arab Gulf countries. Hence, this study wishes to explore primary school migrant teachers’ experiences from South Africa (SA) who leave for the Arab Gulf countries. An inadequacy of literature indicates that there is a need for the topic to be explored further. The key questions to be addressed in the research will be:
1) Why have migrant teachers’ from primary schools left South Africa?
2) What are migrant teachers’ initial teaching experiences in the Arab Gulf countries?
3) What are migrant teachers’ experiences after six months of teaching?

The main aim is to explore South African migrant primary school teacher’s experiences in the Arab Gulf countries.

The Arab Gulf countries include the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Qatar (Ridge, Shami, Kippels and Farah, 2014). Primary classroom teachers (both Junior and Senior) and English teachers are especially in demand when it comes to teaching in the Gulf countries (SA recruitment, 2014). Bhengu (2011) highlighted that South African teachers gain access to different countries in many ways such as recruitment agencies, internet applications as well through family members who live abroad.

Importance of the research topic
I am aware of many primary school teachers’ who recently have migrated to the Arab Gulf countries and a few who are currently going to emigrate. The teachers’ do not hesitate to sign contracts when offered to them and resign from level 2 and 3 positions held at South African primary schools in readiness for their new adventure abroad. It is for this reason that I feel prompted and eager to explore why do primary school teachers from SA leave their permanent jobs for temporary contracts overseas and what are their initial experiences of teaching as well as their teaching experiences after six months.

The findings of Manik which was revealed in the South African Council of Educators document (Bhengu 2011:6) suggests that economic benefits were articulated as one of the reasons for emigration. This finding is also relevant for South African education professionals who also left their home country because of better economic benefits in the Gulf countries. Teacher mobility is driven by a demand for teachers in the receiving country and the push-and-pull factors that motivate individuals to leave their own country‘s educational system. Thus, the issue of the international movement of educators is an important policy issue for South Africa (Appleton, Sives & Morgan as cited by Bhengu 2011:6). There have been studies on teacher migration that researched South African migrant teachers’ experiences in the UK (Manik, 2005) but no research specifically on South African primary school migrant teachers’ experiences in the Arab Gulf countries (UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar).

Methodological approach
I will use a qualitative approach and snowball sampling. I will also place an advert in the paper or online for participants. Once I have my participants, I will conduct interviews via Skype or visit them personally when they return to SA during their school vacation. The participants will also be asked to keep a diary to record their daily teaching experiences whilst in one of the Gulf countries.

References
Bhengu, T. (2011). SACE - Teacher Migration in South Africa. Advice to the
Ministries of Basic and Higher Training. Retrieved 6 June, 2015, from
http://www.google.co.za/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=teacher+migration+in+south+africa&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CDcQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sace.org.za%2Fupload%2Ffiles%2FTeacherMigrationReport_9June2011.pdf&ei=pHDUUKSjL5C7hAf2loCgBg&usg=AFQjCNE5rGBdetH6SHOS1rR9126GELvd8g&bvm=bv.1355534169,d.d2k

Manik, S. (2005), ‘Trials, tribulations and triumphs of transnational teachers: Teacher
migration between South Africa and the United Kingdom’, unpublished D.ED
Thesis. University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Ridge, N., Shami, S., Kippels, S. & Farah, S. (2014). Expatriate Teachers and
Education Quality in the Gulf Cooperation Council. Retrieved from,
http://www.alqasimifoundation.com/Libraries/Publications/Policy_Paper_11_Ridge_e

SA recruitment - Live and teach in the Middle East. (2014). Retrieved from
http://www.sa-recruitment.com/ t_al_English.sflb.ashx

 


Oommen, Elsa T (University of Warwick, Sociology):

Migration for 'Work and Play': A Gendered Analysis of the Youth Mobility Scheme to the UK

My research explores the following research questions:
• What is the UK’s Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) and how does it address macro trends in the international mobility of people?
• What motivates young adults to participate in the YMS and how are their expectations shaped by gendered norms and identities?
• Does the YMS dilute the binaries of work and leisure? How and to what extent does gender shape the participants’ experiences of work and play and labour market participation in destination country?
I am currently in the second year of my research and wrapping up fieldwork. I have so far conducted 29 semi-structured in-depth interviews, engaged in participant observation across several sites of the participants in London and two online social media spaces (public community pages in Facebook). My research methods also include document analysis of the several documents such as Hansard reports, immigration policy and statement of changes to the UK immigration policy since 2008. I am currently transcribing the interviews and also trying to write an article on the importance of social media spaces in the temporary migration pathways such as YMS while also trying to explore it within alternative theories of mobility.
While I was working on a migration research project looking at migration of women domestic workers with the Centre for Development Studies, India; I discovered that most of the literature on gendered migration used the lens of economic purpose/ family reunification. I was curious to understand migration and mobility for leisure and how this can be understood within the flexible work regimes which make such temporary human movements possible. This curiosity took me to the literature on backpackers, travellers and those on working holiday and finally to Tier 5 of the contemporary UK immigration policy option of YMS which is still popular as a working holiday among the participants.
To conclude, I have a growing research interest in how immigration policy interacts with the labour market, the gendered practices of migration and how this can be brought within the developments in mobility studies.

 


Papageorgiou, Antigoni (University of Leeds, Performance, Visual Arts & Communications):

Micro-Economies of Culture and Creativity: An Exploration of the Politics of Creative Work in Two Cities
 

In response to the economic downturn, creative workers have begun to explore new ways of living, adopting a nomadic and precarious work life in a fragmented professional context (Gandini, 2015; Merkel, 2015). A common response to the increasing instability in the labour market, is the adoption of a more enterprising and entrepreneurial behaviour in order to increase someone’s value in the labour market (Wright, 2015). In this sense, creative workers are ‘forced to self-employment’, becoming what can be described as ’necessity entrepreneurs’ (Garcia-Lorenzo et al., 2014). Since fixed workplaces in this industry hardly exist, flexible forms of organisation of work (including incubators, collective artistic spaces, art residencies, and start-ups) have experienced a significant growth. Created from scratch and mostly located in ephemeral spaces, they operate in a non-hierarchical and self-organised way.

In Athens and Istanbul, the current crisis is perceived either as an entrepreneurial opportunity or as a terrain for collective experimentation. Working in a blurred professional status (short term, project based work) and without any legal security, young creative artists are obliged to formulate their own coping strategy in order to survive. During the recession, an entire field of activities, not only of production, but also of an array of services like mentoring, networking and consultation have shown a significant growth. Young creatives are acting as free agents on the move, who are willing to work for free in order to improve their employability, develop their reputation in the sector and establish themselves as professionals. The awkward ‘acceptance to self-exploit or to be exploited’ is often surrounded by the empowering mainstream discourse of the ‘heroic entrepreneur’ and the ‘autonomous creative’ whose creativity is ‘enhanced’ by the insecurity and instability of the sector.

Methodological approach: A call for a bottom up ethnography

A recently growing body of ethnographic and qualitative studies has emerged, focusing on the lives of artists, fashion designers, content providers and media workers (Forkert, 2013; McRobbie, 1998; Gill, 2002). Following Beck’s analysis, it is considered that nowadays people- the creative ‘independents’ (Hesmondalgh & Baker, 2008) or the ‘entreployees’ (Pongratz & Voß, 2003) have to refer to themselves for planning their own individual labour market biographies and their individual coping strategies (Haunschild & Eikhof, 2009). Following this strand of thought, my methodological strategy will be based on qualitative methods. A life-story approach will also be employed, since this research has as its focal point the subjective experiences of creative workers and how these experiences are being constructed in Athens and Istanbul.

The interviews will be analysed in relation to the debates presented above, putting emphasis on how different urban settings, material conditions and class compositions allow creativity to blossom. I will do so in a self-reflection way as a cultural worker, since I have been implicated in various imperative dilemmas, common to the ones these people are facing. In this sense, the ethnographer is not perceived as an ‘authority’ (Clifford, 1988). Drawing upon feminist post-structural ethnography which calls researchers to interrogate how their own subjectivity contributes to the formation of the research project, the process of collecting and analysing data will be in open dialogue with my personal experiences as a cultural worker. In terms of problems of self-identification of the researcher, I will consider myself a ‘circumstantial activist’ (Marcus, 1995, p.113). Living in Istanbul during 2012-2013 provided me with insight of how creative workers operate and engage. At the same time, being part of the native-born Athenians who reached their twenties when the Eurozone crisis erupted, I have experienced fist-hand its implications in my working life as an art manager. If young people, now, more than ever, act as fully independent agents in regards to their own employment destiny, an ethnographic research from a biographical perspective is essential in order to grasp the deeper mutations happening within the labour process.

By doing so, this empirical study will adopt a comparative ethnographic approach, employing interviews in order to track, map and describe creative working lives. Adopting the ‘labour process perspective’, I investigate the division of labour, job structures, expansion of jobs, the idea of profession in some CCI (Cultural Creative Industries) and its absence in others, and the role of space as a type of social capital. It must be indicated that since the working identities are fluid in the CCI and difficult to capture, scholars have to pay attention on how ‘creatives’ define themselves (Καρακιουλάφη, 2012; McKinlay & Smith, 2009). Because of that, in this research I will target interviewees that primarily consider themselves as ‘creatives’. In addition, the snowball technique will be used in order to identify and target potential interviewees.

References
Clifford, J. 1988. The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth- Century Ethnography, Literature and Art. Cambridge: MA: Harvard University Press.

Forkert, K. 2013. Artistic Lives: A Study of Creativity in Two European Cities. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Limited.

Gandini, A. 2015. The rise of coworking spaces: A literature review. ephemera. 15(1),pp.193–205.

Garcia-Lorenzo, L. et al. 2014. ‘I just want a job: The untold stories of entrepreunship’ In: M. IZAK et al., eds. Untold Stories in Organisations. Taylor and Francis, pp. 143–167.
Gill, R. 2002. Cool creative and egalitarian? Exploring gender in project based new media work in Europe. Information, Communication, and Society. 5(1),pp.70–89.

Haunschild, A. and Eikhof, D.R. 2009. Bringing Creativity to Market: Actors as Self-Employed Employees In: A. MCKINLAY and C. SMITH, eds. Creative Labour: Working in the creative industries. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 156–173.

Hesmondalgh, D. and Baker, S. 2008. Creative Work and Emotional Labour in the Television Industry. Theory, Culture and Society. 25(97).

Marcus, G.E. 1995. Ethnography in/of the World System: The Emergence of Multi-Sited Ethnography. Annusl Review of Anthropology. 24,pp.95–117.

McKinlay, A. and Smith (eds.). 2009. Creative Labour: Working in the Creative Industries. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

McRobbie, A. 1998. British fashion design: rag trade or image industry?. London: Routledge.

Merkel, J. 2015. Coworking in the city. ephemera. 15(1),pp.121–139.

Pongratz, H.J. and Voß, G.G. 2003. From employee to ‘entreployee’. Towards a ‘self-entrepreneurial’ work force? Concepts and Transformation. 8(3),pp.239–254.

Wright, A. 2015. It’s all about games: enterprise and entrepreneurialims in digital games. New Technology, Work and Employement. 30(1).

Καρακιουλάφη, Χ. 2012. Προσλήψεις της καλλιτεχνικής εργασίας- Το παράδειγμα των ηθοποιών στην Ελλάδα. Επιθεώρηση Κοινωνικών Ερευνών. 137-138(Α’ Β’),pp.113–140.

 


Pavlova-Hannam, Gergina (University of Sunderland, Business and Law):

Work, Leisure and Mobilities of Bulgarian Students and Migrants to the North-East of England.

Frankly this is a topic on which I do not know if I ever will be able to decide what is right and what is not. Some time passes and we began to comment with my husband. England. Bulgaria. Bulgaria. England. Pros. Cons. Here and there. (Interview with M, Sunderland, 2014).
The above quotation sums up many of my respondents feelings about being in the North East of England, to stay or to go back to Bulgaria; the many ambivalences of trying to make a new home in England and their ties with the old home in Bulgaria. In terms of my research I sought to answer the following research questions:
To explore the motivations, perceptions, and experiences of Bulgarian migrants and students to the North East of England.
To analyse the difficulties of getting jobs in the North East of England due to media and policy legislation.
To explore how Bulgarian migrants and students engage with leisure opportunities in the North East of England; and,
To analyse how far, where and when do the Bulgarian migrants and students travel both within and outside the North East of England and how they construct social networks and identities using the mobilities theoretical paradigm.

Methodological Perspective
I am Gergina Pavlova-Hannam, and as such my methodological approach and stance is derived from who I am as I take a subjective approach to understanding the world and the interpretations that people give to the world around them. It is significant that I am Bulgarian by nationality as my focus is on Bulgarians who have either studied or migrated to the UK. I have both been a student and a migrant to the UK and have faced many of the same experiences, challenges and ambivalences while living in the UK. I am also a woman and a mother which also became significant in the course of my research as I found more about the leisure and tourism experiences of my research participants through holding this role as well as being able to reflect more upon my own experiences. I am married to an English national and this also gave me insights into the ways in which social relations are structured and interpreted differently in the UK and Bulgaria and what this means for work, leisure and mobilities.

All of these factors became more significant as I undertook my research and allowed for a more in depth auto-ethnographic approach to be developed. Such an approach was not there at the outset but was developed inductively as the research progressed and as I reflected on my own changing and fluctuating positionality. I did not begin my research with as the same person as I am now. I began as a student, travelled, fell in love, got married, had a baby and all these key experiences influenced the path of my research and also resonated with different participants in my research. As such the research is somewhat auto-ethnographical but also relies on other qualitative methods such as qualitative in-depth interviews.
The data related to the aims of the research was collected in four main ways: by conducting in-depth interviews and focus groups with Bulgarian students and migrants in the North East of England and through fieldwork notes based on ethnographic participant observations of my personal experiences as a member of the Bulgarian community in the North East of England. The research took place in the North East of England mainly in the counties of Tyne and Wear and Durham, which envelop the cities of Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and Durham as these were the areas where I gained the most contacts. Also, this PhD was a development from a previous project entitled Changing People: Rising to the Challenge of Demographic Change in the North East of England and Beyond that examined the Polish community in North-East England following a similar geographical pattern. My data collection was carried out mainly through the period between April 2013 and February 2014 but continued into 2015 as constant comparison of data required further participant observation and reflections due to the changing research context of Bulgarian migration and behaviour.


Ramella, Anna (University of Siegen, Anthropology):

Mobility as Place? A Digital Ethnography of Movement Within Music as a Profession

My dissertation project with working title „Mobility as Place? A digital ethnography of
movement within music as a profession“ combines the study of mobility with the analysis
of media use. Research subjects are touring musicians on one, and their circulating music on the other side - human and non-human musical devices, which I claim to be actors in a Latourian sense. During a completed fieldwork in which I accompanied a band on their tour, I have come to realize the importance of media devices and use, diverting my project towards a focus in media studies. The musicians themselves are digitally connected and equipped with diverse media devices, like a van with its own wifi connection and entertainment media. From here, social media are being used to post photos of the tour, connect with family and friends, and promote the ongoing concerts. I tend to think of their movement in the sense of David Morley’s „contained mobility“ (Morley 2011): while the van moves around states and continents, the structures inside are stable and repetitive. Music and posts are circulating on the web, but on set and limited platforms. Anthropology has looked at nomads in a similar way, contrasting its dynamic movement within space with the set constellation of tents or a stable social order; Musicians also tend to set the stage each night in the same pattern and their concert tours often bring them back to the same places.
Rather than contrasting movement and stability in a binary way, I’d like to approach their
combination following Salazar and Glick Schiller’s suggestion of a „mobilit[y] in which
migration and stasis are seen as interconnected aspects of the human condition“ (Salazar/ Glick Schiller 2012: 5). During my fieldwork, the physical movement of the band seemed to be reflected simultaneously online: while they played a concert in a city las night, during the following days there would be video posts on youtube or vimeo, comments in social media, radio interviews on the websites of local radio stations etc. Following concerts would be announced by the label or local venues on diverse online platforms. Is there also a vice versa connection? Do locatable music downloads have an influence on the physical movement of a band? Is there a link between the transition from material CDs or LPs to digital music files? Do music tours compensate the decreasing record sales?
In many cases, research on mobile media and mediated mobility relocates media to a
physical place - whether it is being maintained medially (e.g. Clifford’s research on
hawaiian folklorists, 1997:26), medially brought along (e.g. Morley’s research on mobile
phones, 2003:451ff.) or which one can travel to medially (e.g. Urry’s research on television, 2000:66). Media therefore mostly have a referring function. In my research, I will
try to go beyond this and read mobility in its digital transmission and connections as a
virtual, dislocal place, constituted of the subjects’ media use. In John Agnew’s definition of place as a „meaningful location“ (see Cresswell 2004:7) it is the media practices rather
than the media themselves which become relevant. I hereby refer to Doreen Massey’s
„golbal sense of place“ (see Moores 2012:72) as well as Tim Ingold’s „meshwork of
wayfaring“ (Ingold 2009:38) regarding the connections in constituting a place in order to
step beyond the local reference of a place.
 

References:
Clifford, James: Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century. Cambridge/
Massachussetts: Harvard University Press, 1997.

Cresswell, Tim: Place. A short introduction. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004.

Ingold, Tim: Against Space: Place, Movement, Knowledge. In: Kirby, P.W. (Hg.): Boundless
Worlds. An Anthropological Approach to Movement. New York: Berghahn Books, 2009.

Latour, Bruno: Eine neue Soziologie für eine neue Gesellschaft: Einführung in die Akteur-
Netzwerk-Theorie. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2010 (2007).

Massey, Doreen: World City. Cambridge: Polity, 2007.

Moores, Shaun: Media, Place & Mobility. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

Morley, David: “What’s ‘Home’ Got to Do with It? Contradictory Dynamics in the
Domestication of Technology and the Dislocation of Domesticity“. In: European Journal of
Cultural Studies, 2003, vol. 6, S. 435-458.

Morley, David: „Communications and transport: The mobility of information, people and
commodities“. In: Media Culture Society, 2011, 33(5), S. 743-759.

Salazar, Noel/ Glick Schiller, Nina: „Regimes of Mobility Across the Globe“. In: Journal of
Ethnic and Migration Studies, 2012, 1-18. http://www.academia.edu/2339030/
Regimes_of_mobility_across_the_globe. Stand: 22.11.2012 06:02.

Urry, John: Sociology beyond societies: Mobilities for the twenty-first century. London:
Routledge, 2000
 


Schling, Hannah (Kings College, Geography):

Gender, Temporality, and the Reproduction of Labour Power: Women Migrant Workers in South China

I am a first year PhD student in Human Geography at King’s College London researching labour migration in South China’s Pearl River Delta and the Czech Republic. My work focuses on labour migrants in the electronics manufacturing sector, and the gendered and spatio-temporal organization of reproductive and family life within the production of temporary and ‘exploitable’ labour. My supervisors at King’s College London are Dr Nicholas De Genova (Department of Geography), and Dr Charlotte Goodburn (Lau China Institute).
In both contexts migrants working in electronics assembly factories are often housed in dormitories which facilitate the temporal and spatial extension of the working day, and employers’ disciplinary regulation of workers lives outside of work. The everyday move from ‘work’ to ‘life’ and back again, or between ‘production’ and ‘reproduction’, is temporally and spatially cramped.
At the same time, labour migrants’ families and households are often spatially stretched across rural to urban spaces, or across national borders, in ways that create a second spatio-temporal circuit within migrants’ lives. A third circuit, or dimension of mobility, is that of labour movement between workplaces. Both of these open questions around the tension between the spatio-temporal mobilisation and fixing of labour, and how this forms a contradiction for capital.
I am interested in how migrant workers negotiate the everyday temporalities embedded within these contexts, as well as how capital utilizes this spatial organization of the relation between production and reproduction as a means to gain a workforce operating by its own temporal requirements. I am interested in how the autonomous strategies found by migrant workers towards traversing these spatio-temporal borders and circuits through working and non-working life, within contexts of antagonism and contradiction with the demands of capital, are themselves productive of space and time.
Throughout my research attention is given to conceptualising ‘reproduction’ as gendered work, and to the gendered relations embedded in and constitutive of the relation between labour’s reproduction and the production of value for capital. This is an approach informed by materialist-feminist scholarship gendering social reproduction, and connecting unwaged reproductive labour with capitalist production of value.
For example, in my research on China I have explored how the historic feminisation of migrant manufacturing workforces across the 1990s, in which young migrant women formed the subjectivity of choice for capital seeking temporary labour, was predicated upon the gendered organisation of reproduction across the rural-urban divide. Women’s ‘double burden’, and its anticipation/expectation, conditioned the spatio-temporality of migration in ways utilised within a just-in-time model of production.
Focusing on labour migration in these specific contexts, in which new forms of mobile life-work assemblages stretch the production-reproduction relation across space as well as merging it within particular sites of work-life, provides particularly important contexts in which to problematize the analytical boundary line between ‘production’ and ‘reproduction’ which frames them as separate spheres. Instead, focus is on how their interrelation facilitates and disrupts the accumulation of capital, the (re)production of gendered labouring subjects, and the production of space and time.


Sieber, Markus (University of Berne, Contemporary History):

Mobile Lives in Switzerland Between 1930 - 2015

My dissertation is part of an ongoing Swiss research-­‐project aiming to write a mobility history  for Switzerland between 1848 and the present. The project focuses on the mobility of individuals: Their mobility needs, their attitudes and aspirations towards mobility as well as their access to the mobility system. For that purpose, a theoretical framework was developed, which is open for additional theoretical concepts from different scientific disciplines and research paradigms. In due consideration of the empirical re-­‐ strictions of historical research, a model of human action, originally developed in a Swiss transdiscipli-­‐ nary research program, functioned as theoretical starting point.1 One of the advantages of this model – which incorporates some of the most important findings of ecological and social psychology – is the sys-­‐ tematic linking of the internal structure of individual actors (their perceived reality, intentions, goals and knowledge)
with the external structure (physical environment, legal political and administrative institu-­‐
tions, socio-­‐cultural and socio-­‐economic background). As historians our main argument is, that for a deeper understanding of mobility, we may have to change
perspective and look at the development of mobility behaviour over longer periods of time and thus emphasize the strengths of a diachronic approach.2 This means that mobility history should no longer concentrate so much on the analysis of mobility tools3 or transport infrastructure, but rather focus on the mobility concepts of different societal groups and the way these groups can realize their preferences within their environments. Therefore, we have to acknowledge that mobile practices (such as leisure or work related travel) can never be fully understood without considering their complex relationships with
other aspects of daily life (e.g. lifestyles, childcare, well-­‐being).

A substantial part of my dissertation is dedicated to the latter argument. Two qualitative case studies aim to underline our theoretical assumptions with empirical knowledge: The first is concerned with the changing patterns between residential mobility and work related travel (e.g. commuting, business travel) as well as with their interrelations with other aspect of daily life (e.g. changes in family life). The second case study deals with the phenomenon of strongly increasing leisure mobilities and examines their com-­‐ plex relationships with questions of lifestyle and other factors of well-­‐being. Methodologically, the two case studies are based on qualitative interviews focusing on different mobile biographies as well as on an analysis of relevant mobility discourses and their changes over time. I only recently began the work on my thesis and thus the concept is somehow vague at this point. But since doctoral students at any stage of their research are welcome, I hope this won’t diminish my application too heavily.

 


Telve, Keiu (University of Tartu, Ethnology):

Transnationality in Estonia-Finland Mobility Sphere: Case Study of Estonian Men in Finland

The aim of my PhD thesis is to study Estonian men, who are more or less regularly (monthly or even weekly) travelling between Estonia and Finland. The main focus of my work is on work migrants, but at the same time I would like to include those men who not figure in work migration statistics like students, family members, co-migrants and people visiting their family members. Only the number of Estonian male commuter workers in Finland is approximately 12 000 (Krusell 2013), the whole mobility group is probably even bigger. The topic is relevant in Estonia as well as in Finland and I see the need for mediating the emic-perspective of the migrants group to the wider society.

My work embraces the mapping of the Estonia-Finland mobility group practises, mobility patterns and transnational lifestyle. Also I am interested in defining the transnationality concept in Estonia-Finland context that is unique due the short distance between two countries and their cultural similarities. My work follows the culture studies discipline and its theoretical concepts, but at the same time I combine ethnology, folkloristic and human-geography methods.

In my PhD project I want to find answers to five research questions:
1. How the transnationality appears in Estonia-Finland sphere?
2. Which male migrants groups appear in Estonia-Finland mobility sphere and what are their differences?
3. What kind of mobility-patterns could be found among Estonian men?
4. How the men, who are regularly moving between two countries, experience the difference of home and work country and what are the main variations between the two?
5. How the mobility of one family member (the husband, the father) affects other family members, does it bring with it the international mobility of the wife and children?

Transnationality has been defined as complex of informal practises and relationships that cross the state borders (Siim 2014: 128) or situation where migrants hold up multidirectional bounds with their home and work country. (Basch et al. 2000: 7). In case of people who are actively moving between Estonia and Finland the transnational characteristics are visible and they emerge through being present in both countries at the same time: they own real-estate in two states, the follow media, they have professional and personal networks in one and another places etc. (Telve 2015). Nonetheless the meaning of transnationality in Estonian migration context has not been under much academic research. Due to the exceptional migration situation (distance, similar culture, commuting not migrating) it could be useful for later academic discussions.

Another aim of my work is to open the heterogeneity of transnational sphere and give a look into the different groups of men, who are regularly moving between Estonia and Finland. Basing on my previous research the behaving patterns depend on the age, the profession (blue-collar, skilled worker, specialist), the family status, the nationality and the social position in Finland and in Estonia. I am eager to research several groups of men, who are moving actively across borders: workers, students and family members. The comparison helps to get more dynamic picture of migration context and enables to give attention to the groups that, compared to blue-collars and skilled workers, are not that visible in media or academic publications. In my work I want to know how the different groups describe constant travelling, their position in Finland and in Estonia and how moving patterns differ among them. My approach helps to describe the behaviour patterns of male migrants and I plan to compare them with previous gender studies in migration field (Donaldson 2009; Aguila 2013).

In transnational context it is crucial to see the importance of both places in people's lives and to open this aspect I use a concept of multi-locality or multi-local living (Hilti 2009). Commuters are split between two geographical spaces and they are through social, political and economic relationships linked with both. Their living conditions, behaving, social position all depend on which country they are at the moment. In Finland Estonians are "good migrants", who do not make great demands on working conditions nor their rights. On the one hand most of the time Estonian men in Finland concentrate on working and they want to earn the highest possible salary due to that they are placed fairly low in that society. Although Estonians feel themselves appreciated in Finland, they are still mainly part of the working class (Krusell 2013). On the other hand, in Estonia they have much higher social position, they earn more than the average wage and they can afford the middle class spending habits like dinners in expensive restaurants, taking vacations abroad, sending their kids into the university, buy houses and apartments (Telve 2015). The change of social position according to the work and holiday period is another interesting aspects that needs more thought.

In my PhD project I plan to give attention to men's relations with their families back home. The central questions is how they hold up relationships with their wife and children. Also I am interested in opening the perspectives of those who stay behind and I compare it with the view of the mobile ones.

My research stands on empirical material which I collect using mostly qualitative methods. Traditional ethnology research with half-structured interviews and observation form the centre of my fieldwork. Also I use combining approach and bind together ethnology, human geography and sociology research methods. Qualitative data is supported by the quantitative data and to get the wider perspective. I carry out at least one online questioner and throughout the research period I am conducting the thematic analysis of the social media groups. I will be doing multi-local fieldworks in Estonia and in Finland.

References

Aguila, Ernesto Vasquez 2013. Being a Man in a Transnational World: The Masculinity and Sexuality of Migration. London: Routledge.

Basch, Linda; Schiller Nina; Gli Blanc; Szanton, Cristina 2000. Nation Unbound. Transnational Projects, Postcolonial Predicaments and Dererritorialized Nation-States. London, New York: Routlege.

Bonjour, Saskia, Hart, Betty 2013. A proper wife, a proper marriage: Constructions of ‘us’ and ‘them’in Dutch family migration policy. European journal of women's studies 20.1. pp. 61-76.

Donaldson, Mike 2009. Migrant men: Critical studies of masculinities and the migration experience. London: Routledge.

Hilti, Nicola 200. Here, There, and In-Between: On the Interplay of Multi-Local Living, Space, and Inequality. Mobilities and Inequalities. pp. 145-64.

Krusell, Siim 2013. Eesti elanike töötamine välismaal. Pilte rahvaloendusest. Census Snapshots. Tallinn: Statistikaamet. pp. 129–146.

Molz, Jennie Germann 2004. Playing online and between the lines: round-the-world websites as virtual places to play. Tourism Mobilities. London: Routledge

Siim, Pihla Maria 2014. Üle piiride liikuvad pered: lood mobiilsusest ja paigal püsimisest. Mäetagused. Nr. 56. pp. 127–154.

Telve, Keiu 2015. Kvalitatiivne lähenemine pendeltööle Soomes töötavate Eesti meeste näitel. University of Tartu. Department of Ethnology. Master's thesis.

 


Visic, Tanja (Ludwig Maximilians University, Cultural Anthropology):

Micro-Politics of Motherhood and Transnationalization of Care: Experiences of Domestic Workers from Former Yugoslavia in Germany

Based on the anthropological approaches to gendered migration, transnationalism and motherhood and care, this research project has aim to provide a deeper insight into link between two levels of analysis: 1. On the micro-level where individual practices, positions and identities related to transnational mothering, paid care giving and power relations between mothers (employers) and childgivers come into sight 2. On macro-level I will look into process where changing gender relations, welfare state organizations and economics in receiving country (Germany) and sending countries intersect. The project aims to explore how women care workers become agents in process of gender order change and how that change reflects hidden aspects of globalization in the post-socialist era in Serbia and Former Yugoslavia countries. My guiding hypotheses is: Women migrants child givers from post-socialist transition countries became a main factor of change that is twofold: First, challenging gender order in home country from male bread winner to female bread winner status and in the same time maintaining the patriarchal order by resulting not with a tasks taken by their husbands but with re-distribution of care work in sending households (care is usually performed by female members of the family: grandmothers, aunts, oldest daughters or neighbours or friends); Secondly, gender order in receiving countries (Germany) remain to be in contrast to reconciliation between family and work as it is a main feature in EU social policy of gender equality since assymetric distribution of care is reached through outsourcing women’s house work to the migrant women.

This research project will highlight the status of care work as political concept, politics of redistribution and politics of recognition of informal care work, identifying current trends of social policy and care policy in Germany as well as how state approach to migrant work, gender inequalities and care. Anthropological approach to the labor issues in the global economy will include analysis of the process of construction of women migrants as ethnic, cultural or national “others” offering a deeper understanding of care practices and interpretation of problems relating to the gender division of labor that vary in connection with categories such as ‘race’/ethnicity/nationality/sexuality/geopolitical location and cultural position in society.

During the research period I will employ multi-sited ethnography as method which consists of complementary research methods: quantitative, qualitative and participatory including interviews, demographic analyses and policy documents. Using biography analysis and qualitative research, project attempts to challenge economical theories showing multiplicity of motives for migration other than purely economic. Given the fact that the research project focuses on practices, construction of beliefs and meanings (motherhood, interpersonal networks, family relations, and responsibilities), life histories method will be also applied. For the objectives of this study the life stories of individual respodents will capture transantional life investigating the position of women migrants in their sending countries, motives to migrate, class, education and ethnicity as well as experiences in care work and transnational life and communication.
The research project is based on a 12 month ethnographic study of migrant domestic workers experiences and practicies in several towns in Germany and will consisted of personal 35-40 in-depth interviews. This research focuses on marketised informal reproductive labour which takes place in private domain of the household and includes care for children and elderly, housekeeping and other domestic tasks performed by women migrants from Serbia. These women make trips to Germany with tourist visas while in reality engaging in domestic work in households working for up to three months. This work arrangement „frame of rotation“ (three months rotation system with friends and relatives) allows them to sustain their lives in their home country while maintaing as well a regular status and an irregular job in the informal domestic sector in Germany. To explore how mobility, which becomes a life strategy, induces their ability to use social knowledge and experience in rotation system and how this mobility, social and cultural capital can shift the pattern of gender relations in the household of domestic workers and impact on gender norms in sending communities, I will utilize the concept of “settling in mobility” as defined by Mirjana Morokvasic and the theory of different types of capital by Bourdieu. At one level the aim of this research is to provide a better qualitative understanding of the social and communication networks through which women migrant workers gain employment, create routes through the sector and develop their role/career and how informal networks intersect with formal elements of the domestic work sector - or sectors as we are talking about transnational work that goes beyond nation-states.
The empirical findings will certainly provide our understanding of following: how does experience of migrants care workers from Former Yugoslavia countries (including transnational motherhood) affect change of gender relations in the country of migration (Germany) and shift of the burden of social reproduction in the receiving country and changing practices in gender order in sending households. On a more practical level, this research will enable insights into the phenomenon of gendered migration with potential to be applied within the scope of work by scientists, policy makers and public administration in Germany.

 


Yadav, Smita (University of Sussex, Social Anthropology):

Dignity from Nothing: Labour and Work Amongst the Gonds of Central India.

Why are poor people in the global south engaging in mobile working lives involving precarious work? How do such people make a dignified living without possessing any material assets and without accessing any formal means of support like the welfare state? Increasing evidence is pointing towards the fact that more people secure work which is informal, precarious, and riskier. The thesis is on real stories of working and labouring lives of Gonds's from central India. It described the Gonds who as low-income groups embody precariousness and riskier working conditions to make a dignified living thus challenging our current understanding of the role of formal institutions like the state to help move them people out of poverty. Further, the thesis fills the current gaps in understanding the subjective as well and normative aspects of the well-being of such vulnerable and low-income wage labourers. Such low-income groups as labourers are often thought to be exploited by the labour market due to temporary, unorganised and seasonal forms of employment. Instead, the thesis shows that these kinds of temporary and irregular forms of work are highly desirable and attractive for the Gonds who desire casualisation and flexibility as it allows them to combine farm and non-farm work to provide for their families. In this way, the Gonds entitle themselves for being cared for in their old age or if their bodies fail to work anymore, thus, the ideologies of dignity is very essential in their wider livelihood strategy which the current formal Indian rural state cannot provide. The thesis shows how purely empirical models of poverty and inequality are too western (global-north centric) and do not aptly capture the social realities of informal work and informal care of societies in global south such as India. The thesis fills this gap by showing how the perceptions of work in the global south cannot be separated from their need for social protection and security for their families. Infact, such work strategies constitutes their dignity which is also the underlying motivation behind being free from any form of bondage relations to the employer or labour contractors and to meet their permanent and urgent needs.

The thesis uses social theories of life course, household development cycle, able-bodies, social relations and the informal economy to define the various precarious work options available to people from the global south in the form of informal and unorganised labour markets that allows temporary forms of contract for working and labouring arrangements. The thesis is on the real stories on Gonds who are landless but have boundless dignity and reliability from their family ties and other social relations that help compensate for the lack of inaccessibility to formal means and institutional support from the state.

The need to understand the subjective dimensions of unskilled wage labourers like the Gonds who are also India’s poorest proletariat, comes from the contradictions in the analysis of India’s unevenness of economic growth. The two works on India’s economy that matters most to this paper are Bremen (2007, 2010) and Harriss-White (2003). Bremen’s has an established scholar-ship on the ethnography of a similarly marginalised community called the the Halis, based in Gujarat and another, has written widely and is deeply interested in understand how capitalism functions in a pluralistic and non-western society like India and how it’s different. Both are very widely cited scholars on the topic of growth, poverty, and inequality in India. For Bremen (ibid, unskilled wage workers are stripped off their dignity and autonomy when they work at the bot-tom of India’s economic pyramid of growth. For Harriss-White (2003) too, there is not much interesting social phenomenon for India’s poorest after the economic liberalisation in the 1990s. In a way, both Bremen and Harriss-White (ibid) are referring to the marginalised and vulnerable populations like the Gonds who continue to be left out of the economic growth patterns in India which is still regulated along the traditional social institution of caste. It is here that my study then adds the moral dimension to help us understand how despite engaging in unskilled and tem-porary forms of work, the Gonds as unskilled wage workers, are successful in living a dignified living thus demonstrating their moral of not having to go into debt or accept help from their ex-tended kins in return of unexpected obligations.

What Bremen and Harriss-White (ibid) have not focused in their works is that unskilled wage work is not a regular and permanent feature of the lives of the poorest of India and the household unit of these poor families which is where normative aspirations for social mobility can be studied. The need to anthropologise the perceptions of work for such labouring communities is very essential as most of the analysis of poverty is heavily focussed on the material aspects of poverty which is assets like and access to credits and capital. But, what about the subjective and normative aspirations behind the material analysis of poverty alleviation? For both Bremen and Harriss-White, such forms of working and labouring are not entirely voluntary and they see this as a historical continuation of the caste and social hierarchical structure which has not at all changed even after post liberalisation. Besides, their observations tend to be more generalising the Indian poor and is ingrained in western theories of labour, wages, and the need to institutionalise the welfare of the labourers. However, the thesis will show how the Gonds’s work ideologies challenge such western biases arising from the social aspects of industrialisation (Thompson 1963). This disagreement with both Breman and Harriss-White however, does not stem to dismiss their claims or to disagree that caste structure still hinders the overall social inequality in India and that there is no need for state institutions to become more formalised. Infact, my observations do support most of their conclusions that the state has to be more active in monitoring the reach of its economic growth to everyone in the society. Where my observations differ is in their interpretations of unskilled wage work of such mobile people and how it is important to have an active peasant life which is why they are more attracted to temporary, irregular, and unsecured forms of work as there are advantages such as getting an advance payment, higher than market or state assigned wages, and the flexibility to return to the village during times of births, marriages, and deaths.

 


 

Personal tools