During the 8th Annual Symposium on Current Developments in Ethnographic Research held this year at the VU (28-30 August) keynote speaker and political scientist Timothy Pachirat talked about his undercover, ethnographic research at an industrialized slaughter house on the kill floor. Timothy, who is Assistant Professor of Politics at The New School for Social Research, wrote a book about his research, ‘Every Twelve Seconds: Industrialized Slaughter and the Politics of Sight’, in which he explores how industrialized violence at an American slaughterhouse is organized, disciplined, and reproduced. At the slaughterhouse, 2,500 cattle are killed per day – one every 12 seconds. With his consent, we share below parts of an interview he held this year with correspondent Avi Solomon from BoingBoing.com about his research and book.
Avi: Why did you choose to go undercover in a slaughterhouse?
Timothy: I wanted to understand how massive processes of violence become normalized in modern society, and I wanted to do so from the perspective of those who work in the slaughterhouse. My hunch was that close attention to how the work of industrialized killing is performed might illuminate not only how the realities of industrialized animal slaughter are made tolerable, but also the way distance and concealment operate in analogous social processes: war executed by volunteer armies; the subcontracting of organized terror to mercenaries; and the violence underlying the manufacturing of thousands of items and components we make contact with in our everyday lives. Like its more self-evidently political analogues–the prison, the hospital, the nursing home, the psychiatric ward, the refugee camp, the detention center, the interrogation room, and the execution chamber–the modern industrialized slaughterhouse is ‘zone of confinement,’ a ‘segregated and isolated territory,’ in the words of sociologist Zygmunt Bauman, ‘Invisible,’ and ‘on the whole inaccessible to ordinary members of society.’ I worked as an entry level worker on the kill floor of an industrialized slaughterhouse in order to understand, from the perspective of those who participate directly in them, how these zones of confinement operate.
Geplaatst in Antropologie & Wetenschap, Economie, English posts, Globalisering & Ontwikkeling, Ondernemerschap & Organisaties, Politiek & Burgerschap, Regio Amerika's, Uncategorized
Tags: ethnography, food industry, labor, political science, space, violence
By Markus Balkenhol Progressive Dutch were shocked when they read the racist commentary swamping critics of the Zwarte Piet figure in recent weeks. “It’s time this whining negro gets a new owner,” and “they should let him pick cotton as a punishment,” or “In Sint’s bag off the Munt tower with Quinsy Gario” were, by comparison, among the more harmless racist execrations that were flung at Gario and other critics of the figure. With indignation, many proponents of the Zwarte Piet figure who understood themselves as non-racist were quick to condemn this outburst of racism. A handful began to wonder whether there may have been a point to the critique, after all. Yet the racism spilling across public media continued to be seen as an exception, representing only a few ‘actual’ racists who were in no way representative of larger proportions of Dutch society. The racist comments were understood to be altogether disconnected from the Sinterklaas celebration as such, and their racism was seen as completely out of sync with the benign family tradition they held so dear. Many have told me that they had never seen anything wrong with the family tradition, but that they were taken aback by the reactions. Lees verder
Geplaatst in Cultureel erfgoed, De Lage Landen, Discriminatie & Man/vrouw, English posts, Multicultureel & Migratie, Regio Europa
Tags: anthropology, integratie, Markus Balkenhol, Nederland, racisme, Satire, Zwarte Piet
Door Renske den Uil
During the first semester of the master Social and Cultural Anthropology, you are working on the development of a research proposal. After four intense months of reading, writing, re-reading and re-writing, you leave to the field. Then, for a three-month period of time, you are doing fieldwork and the distant words you have read throughout the first few months of the master, are now becoming personified in the stories and lives of your informants. You start to build relationships with these informants, some superficial and formal, others profound and sometimes even evolving into special friendships. After three months have passed, you have to leave the field again. The friends you have made stay behind, but with a suitcase full of data you carry their stories and lives with you.
These stories are fixed: in your notebook, in your photo’s, in your video’s, in your voice-recorder, and most of all in your mind and heart. Returning from the field, you face three more intense months in which you have to translate the reality of your informants back into words again. Solving the ethnographic puzzle leads to the final result of this master: a complete master-thesis. After a full academic year of toiling, floundering and doubt, you hand in your thesis and ultimately receive a grade that reflects the quality of your work. For many of us, this is where the thesis-era ends. For me, however, this was not the case.
As every academic year, this year again the department will organize an “Anthropology Day”. Write down November 29th in your agenda! You are warmly invited to this year’s Anthropology Day that, once again, promises to be a highly interesting and relevant symposium. This year’s theme is applied anthropology and we invited well-known speakers who work outside academia (see the provisional program below). Please save the date. More information will follow. Lees verder
By Elizabeth Marteijn. The Palestinian people have usually been associated with Islam. People often think of politically dominating groupings like Fatah and Hamas. However, those who visit the Palestinian town Bethlehem at the Westbank, a town world famous as the birthplace as Jesus, will sooner or later be confronted by the facts: Christianity is evidently present in Bethlehem. In the centre of Bethlehem, the towers of different church denominations flaunt proudly in the sky. This summer I visited Bethlehem to conduct a research, in collaboration with the ‘AEI’ (Arabic Educational Institute), on the Arab Christianity of the Palestinians. In this article, I would like to share some of my findings and hope to raise awareness of the situation of this specific group of people.
Geplaatst in Antropologie & Wetenschap, English posts, Globalisering & Ontwikkeling, Identiteit & Religie, Multicultureel & Migratie, Oorlog & Vrede, Politiek & Burgerschap, Regio Midden Oosten & Noord-Afrika
Tags: Bethlehem, Christianity, Elizabeth Marteijn, Fieldwork 2013, islam, Israelisch-Palestijns conflict, Palastine, Religion
Door Luciano Jahnecka
I remember many occasions when our encounters in Brazil were in some way mediated by the timing of football. Football used to be one of the subjects of our conversations, and on some occasions football was crucial to determine the hour and day that we would meet, because in different ways we created our own commitments beside watching football together.
The way that time and schedules structure our lives, bothers me now, in the Netherlands, more than ever, but in principle the way chronological time structures our lives is the same as in Brazil. My former resistance to the sway time held over my life, however, is, now affected by a new spatial-temporal relationship and my former escape strategies from this specific time become more difficult. This new spatial-temporal relationship is increasingly dominated by a chronological order and it has taken a central place in my relationship with football. I admit I still feel somewhat inadequate in operating this new spatial-temporal dimension. I am here referring, of course, to the transportation system. Lees verder
Door Hikmet Özenç Demirkan
An outstanding social movement is taking place in Turkey almost for two weeks. The protest has started with a small group against demolishment of Istanbul Gezi Park and replacement of the park with a shopping mall. Police got remarkable violent towards the peaceful protesters and the second day the number of protesters reached to tens of thousands. Police kept on increasing their attacks by using excessive amount of tear gas, pepper spray and pressurized water. With an ambush at the dawn protesters shot by water cannons and tear gas from multiple entrances of the Park. Tents were collected by the police and the park closed down to public reach. Some photos and videos show that police burnt a tent while some protesters were in it. The increasing police brutality triggered more and more people to join the protests. Lees verder
Op vrijdag 24 mei van 9-17.30 uur organiseert de Antropologen Beroepsvereniging (ABv) een ledendag over macht, openbaar bestuur en samenleving onder de titel Anthropological Approaches to Governmentality: the State and its Shadows. Deze ééndaagse conferentie is een vervolg op de traditie van twee-jaarlijkse congressen van twee dagen die de ABv tot 2011 organiseerde. Plaats: Allard Pierson Museum, Oude Turfmarkt 127, Amsterdam.
Zeven onderzoekers van verschillende antropologie instituten in Nederland delen recente inzichten uit hun onderzoek en ook drie pas afgestudeerden komen aan het woord over hun Master’s thesis. Om 15.30 uur wordt de dag afgesloten met een lezing door prof. dr Nils Bubandt (Aarhus Universiteit) over Corruption, Spirits and the Democracy-to-Come in Indonesia.
Voertaal is Engels vanwege de buitenlandse sprekers. Voor meer informatie over het programma zie de website van de ABv. Hieronder volgt de Engelse toelichting op het thema:
Geplaatst in Antropologie & Wetenschap, English posts, Globalisering & Ontwikkeling, Politiek & Burgerschap, Regio Afrika, Regio Amerika's, Regio Azie
Tags: activisme, anthropology, antropologie, democratie, Indonesië, jongeren
By Rixt Vellenga. Acholi people have a profound relationship with the land; land is the epicenter of economic behavior in Acholiland, and is an indivisible part of the social fabric. It is essential for housing (most people reside in self-made mud-huts on their land) and it is the means of livelihood subsistence and food security. Spiritually, Acholi culture emphasized the importance of being buried on ancestral land; otherwise the deceased’s spirit will remain earthbound in an indeterminate state, unable to reach the afterlife, and forever haunting the deceased’s family.
Since 1986 the Acholi people in Northern Uganda have been heavily affected by the LRA rebel group of Joseph Kony and the NRA army of current President Museveni. Tens of thousands of people have been killed, tens of thousands children have been abducted. From the end of the 1990’s and beginning of 2000, all people in most parts of Acholi region were forced by the government to go to IDP camps (although most people already settled in trading centers, which became IDP camps later). People who refused, were killed by the NRA. The IDPs started to leave camps from 2008. Lees verder
Geplaatst in Antropologie & Wetenschap, English posts, Identiteit & Religie, Oorlog & Vrede, Politiek & Burgerschap, Regio Afrika
Tags: anthropology, Conflict, fieldwork, Fieldwork 2013, land conflicts, oorlog, politiek, Rixt Vellenga, Uganda, Veldwerk 2013
Another fieldwork 2013 report!
By Ulrike Scholtes Walking up the little hill in Yokohama to reach the studio my Sunday-workshop takes place at, I have to pass a bamboo forest. On sunny days, which are common here in Japan, it looks nicely illuminated, showing all the different shades of brown and green it has to offer. Towards the centre the forest turns extremely dark, but I am still able to see the many rows of bamboo trunks, that appear almost artificially organized. From here I have to walk a few meters straight and turn right at the massive orange tree, one of the landmarks I desperately need to survive here in Japan and find back the places I have been before. Soon a discrete sign will appear on my right hand, saying “Kazuo Ohno Dance Studio”, I believe the only sign in this neighbourhood that provides an English translation for the Kanji words. The sign leads to the – with childish mosaic patterns cheerfully decorated – path, I have to take in order to reach the studio. The second path leads to YoshitoOhno’s house. It used to belong to Kazuo Ohno, one of the two establishers of butoh dance. Out of different parts and materials that belonged to an old, and now fully deconstructed, elementary school, Kazuo Ohno had the first butoh dance studio built on this piece of lands, where he and HijikataTatsumi would practice and philosophize about what authentic Japanese, dance, but most importantly about what the body is. Lees verder
Geplaatst in English posts, Gezondheid & Medische Antropologie, Identiteit & Religie, Muziek/Kunst & Media, Regio Azie
Tags: anthropology, Bamboo Dancing, body culture, Fieldwork 2013, Japan, Religion, spirituality