Author Archives: standplaatswereld

From supporting migrants to protesting for change

By Lysanne Vrooman           Almost half a year ago, on the 25th of March 2017, it was the sixtieth anniversary of the treaty of Rome. In 1957 the treaty of Rome was signed by the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Luxemburg, Germany and Italy. The treaty was envisioned to open borders, prevent war and create endless economic and trade opportunities. The countries would not restrict each other anymore. Now sixty years later the treaty that was supposed to unite the countries, is looked at with scepticism and frustrations by some citizens of Rome. The current migration-influx has led to tightened border controls and policies that divide instead of unite.

For my master’s thesis in Social and Cultural Anthropology I studied a group of citizens in Rome who started an association to support migrants in the city. Whereas the citizens started their association to provide the migrants with food, a place to stay and support, I found in my research that they also strive for a better situation for migrants in Europe in general. They question the current developments and policies of the European Union when it comes to migration, and aim to present a counter-message.

Protesting is one of the ways they try to send such a counter-message. And on this Saturday, March 25th, a big protest was organised to show their disagreement with the current situation and to question the (changed) implications of the treaty of Rome. Through pictures of this protest I will show what this day looked like. Continue reading

Every Image Has A Story

By Aniek Santema           Around 2 million Syrian refugees who fled the war have been stranded in Lebanon and many of them live in harsh circumstances. The following pictures will give a small insight into the lives of Syrian youth and show the world from their perspective, through their eyes. The pictures in this photo essay were taken by Syrian refugee girls in the city of Saida who participated in a workshop where they learned how to use visual methods as a way of self-expression. During the workshop the girls answered questions about themselves and their lives by using photographs and they took photographs about things that are meaningful to them. Here, a selection of six of the pictures is presented, along with the titles that the girls gave to them and a small explanation from my side.

Aniek Santema graduated from her master SCA at the VU last year, and wrote her thesis on lived experiences, education and future perspectives of Syrian refugee youths in Lebanon. She is currently working at Edukans, a development organisation for children’s education worldwide.

Beyond ABC: Sexual Mobility in Uganda

By Esther Platteeuw

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De grens bereikt: leraren staken!

Door Ike Haasjes          Donderdag 5 oktober is het zover: voor het eerst in jaren gaan basisschooldocenten een hele dag staken op een schooldag. Zij hebben symbolisch geko-zen voor de Dag van de Leraar en trekken dan in groten getale naar het Malieveld om de volgende eisen kracht bij te zetten.

1. Een eerlijk salaris: het primair onderwijs wordt structureel onderbetaald.

2. Een investering in het onderwijs voor minder werkdruk.


Toen ik in 2015 mijn masteronderzoek deed en mijn scriptie schreef over hoe basisschoolleraren omgaan met grote onderwijshervormingen (Haasjes, 2015), heb ik deze ‘eisen’ veelvuldig langs horen komen. Op de basisschool waar ik mijn veldwerk deed zag ik bijvoorbeeld vaak dat docenten die ruim voor 8:00 uur begonnen met werken ook pas na 17:30 naar huis gingen, en zelfs dan met een tas vol nakijkwerk (ibid, p. 26-28). Daarnaast vertelden de leerkrachten uitgebreid over de semesterplannen, groepsplannen en individuele plannen die voor klas en kind geschreven moeten worden, vaak gevuld met gelijksoortige informatie en die in de dagelijkse praktijk weinig gebruikt worden (ibid, p. 33). Daarnaast moeten docenten soms onhaalbare doelen in hun plannen zetten, bijvoorbeeld een voldoende citoscore voor 80% van de kinderen in de klas, ook wanneer ze weten dat dit niet realistisch is (ibid, p. 31). Dit vinden zij enorm demotiverend. Over de administratiedruk die docenten ervaren, zeiden ze het volgende: Continue reading

Living Text: Written messages outside and inside a West Bank peace project

This photo essay gathers statements from both outside (West Bank/Jericho area) and inside the peace project EcoME (“Ecological Middle East”) in the contested Palestinian Territories. The texts and their contexts portray the dynamic relation between outside hopes, fears and separation policies and the project’s inner striving for connection, warmth and openness. (The author wishes to stay anonymous).

While studying sociology and cultural anthropology, the author has spent more than half a year participating in and researching the ecovillage-inspired peace project at hand. Currently, she is writing a master’s thesis about its relationality with the outside world of conflict and cultural difference.

All photos are taken by the author.

In the eye of the storm

Photo: Navy/ NRL Monterey

By Dimetri Whitfield

It is the morning of Wednesday, September 6, 2017. My eyes are only open through trepidation. I was barely able to get more than an hour of sleep the night before. Hurricane Irma, the second strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic basin, is barrelling through the North-Eastern Caribbean. The core of her 185 mile-per-hour winds sweep across Saba, St. Maarten, Anguilla, St. Kitts, among many other places. Places where I have numerous acquaintances, friends, and family members.
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Fighting a silent killer in the slums


By Vera van Rijn     Although the media frequently reports on African children dying from malaria or HIV, it is actually pneumonia that is the biggest killer in children under five. With nearly 1 million annual deaths, pneumonia kills more children than HIV, diarrhea and malaria combined. Pneumonia is called ‘the silent killer’ because even today little attention is paid to this disease. In 2015 I joined a research team in the slums of Kampala, Uganda, in search of a way to stop children from dying of this disease. Continue reading

Only looking forward?

“In front of the office of the NGO stood a traditional ‘hanok’ house which caved in just a few days before I took this picture.”

By Maaike van Nus       “My initial expectation before meeting them was that they would be more, ehm, that they wouldn’t be as assimilated as they are, I mean it’s a good thing that they are, but it seems they all have cell phones, and they all have grown fairly accustomed to the life here”

This was told to me in an interview with one of my informants about the North Korean refugees he’d just met. For my master in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the VU I conducted three months of fieldwork in Seoul, South Korea. I worked with an NGO that provides North Korean refugees with free English lessons by matching them with volunteers who speak fluent English. My research revolves around these volunteers. North Korea has always been a great interest and concern of mine, as well as the resettlement of North Korean refugees once they have escaped their homeland through China, and thus I decided to focus my research on volunteers who help them in this resettlement process. Continue reading

‘What if they were really extreme’

Hayate Ait Bouzid is a Master student Anthropology at the VU who did her research about the environmental behaviour of middle-class people in Brunei Darussalam. A country that is often not known by the large public or at best misconceived. She is sharing her story about how the preconceived view of Brunei made her question her trip to this Southeast Asian country.

BruneiBeing back from my three months fieldwork in Brunei Darussalam, it feels like I have never been there really, it all seems like a dream. With emphasis on the word dream, not nightmare. To be honest, in the beginning I was quite afraid of this country, afraid of the unknown. Especially with having very few people in my surroundings knowing about this country and if they knew about it, the first two things they would say were: ‘Oh yes, it’s located on the Island of Borneo, I have been to Sabah you know’ or ‘Oh.. do you know they have the Sharia there..?’.

The latter really made me question my trip to Brunei. In one way or another I was afraid it would limit my research. So a few weeks before going there I really had this thought: ‘Sh*t, what did I get myself into, by going to this country…?.’ I was searching on YouTube for a few minutes of reassurance, but I couldn’t find much. The feeling got worse, with every news article I read about the restriction of the Sharia law in the country, the negative stories about the Sultan and how Christmas was totally banned in Brunei. Continue reading