Tech Startup Culture: ‘I am machine’

By Vivienne Schröder For my master Anthropology at the VU Amsterdam, I am doing three months of fieldwork in San Francisco, where I am researching Tech Startup Culture. Through observations, informal talks and interviews like this one, I try to discover the daily practices and motivations of the humans behind the startups. My focus is mostly on the work-private life situation and the entanglement between humans and their business.

Lees meer

“Excuse me, what is that camera for?!”

By Telissa Schreuder. A camera is a funny little thing. Nothing but plastic and then some you would think. Just aim and shoot, nowadays times a thousand due to modern day technologies. The perfect accessory for an anthropologist, won’t you agree? You can lay your profound digital material next to your analogue notes, double-check if you have seen things ‘right’. And perhaps even more than that; you can hide behind it in times of insecurity. Whenever you don’t know what to do or want to avoid a dead conversation, just go for the camera, right? I have to admit, I …

Lees meer
Agbogbloshi (Photo: Google Maps)

“Welcome to Sodom” – Six myths about electronic waste in Agbogbloshie, Ghana

By Martin Oteng-Ababio & Maja van der Velden Agbogbloshie is an urban area in Ghana’s capital Accra, housing a vegetable market, a scrap metal yard, a large slum, an industrial area, and a household waste dump (see photo below). Agbogbloshie is a thoroughly polluted place and the people working in the scrap trade are exposed to serious health and safety risks, but this trade also generates much needed jobs for young men and contributes to an important repair and recycling culture. This complexity is lost to the Western media. Media portrayals focus almost exclusively on Agbogbloshie as an electronic waste …

Lees meer

Famine and War in Yemen

By Helen Lackner. The Geneva ‘consultations’ on 6 September between the two Yemeni warring parties failed to happen. According to the media, it was because the Huthis failed to show. In reality their demand was not unreasonable: guarantees of safe travel to and from Geneva in a neutral (Omani) plane and without ‘inspection’ from their opponent, the Saudi-led coalition. Observers and Yemenis are flooded with statements about the good internationally recognised Hadi government seeking peace and the evil ‘Iranian-backed’ Huthis wanting to continue fighting. However events point elsewhere, suggesting that the coalition’s asserted commitment to a political solution is little …

Lees meer

Writing a tailor-made thesis

by Suzanne Jansen A finished thesis is a tailor-made product: it has that perfect mixture of scientific knowledge embedded in lively ethnographic tales of the field. In my case not only my thesis itself was a tailor-made product. The people my research was about also turned out to be, or at least tried to be, tailor-made: I did research among women with anorexia. Having had anorexia myself, I have been intrigued by its manifestations ever since: young girls, older women, girls that are walking all day, women who are not talking all day, women that purge, girls that don’t, scarily …

Lees meer

Eenakter over het Vliegend Spaghettimonster

door Ton Salman 3 personages: antropoloog 1 (Lily), antropoloog 2 (Anabel), rechter (Veronica). Onlangs deed de hoogste Nederlandse bestuursrechter, de Raad van State, uitspraak in een hoog opgelopen zaak: hebben aanhangers van de Kerk van het Vliegend Spaghettimonster (zij noemen zichzelf pastafaris), het recht om op hun pasfoto’s een vergiet op hun hoofd te dragen? Zoals ook andere religies het recht hebben om een uitzondering te bedingen op het voorschrift dat het hoofd op zo’n pasfoto onbedekt moet zijn, wanneer er daarvoor godsdienstige of levensbeschouwelijke redenen zijn? De rechter stelde de Kerk van het Vliegend Spaghettimonster in het ongelijk. Het …

Lees meer

SpW Summer break!

At the end of the academic year we want to give a big ‘thank you’ to all our writers and contributors. A special thanks to Heleen van der Linden, who is leaving the SpW editorial team. If you are interested to join us, drop us a note! We wish you a wonderful summer, hopefully with lots of new stories! See you all in September!

Lees meer

Re-viewing The Truman Show

By Peter Versteeg.   “We accept the world with which we are presented” is probably the best summary of The Truman Show, a modern classic film from 1998. We, however, only become aware of this once we start to know the secret of the film. So, everything that can be said about this film should really get an instant SPOILER ALERT. 

Lees meer

Try a Little Legal Tenderness

By Jane M. Ferguson This financial speculation essay acknowledges the inspiration of the Dick Jensen version of the song, “Try a Little Tenderness,” in its principal guiding pun; it is a suggested pairing to savour while reading. Oh, they may be weary. You’ve reached the end of your stay at a small hotel in Myanmar. Your bags are packed; you’re ready to go. The manager at the desk, Ma Thuzar presents you a carefully handwritten invoice in English, with the total amount written at the bottom in US dollars. Fishing into your billfold, you retrieve your US cash and present …

Lees meer

De sjamaan en de sofa

door Peter Versteeg Hoe vreemd is vreemd? Waarom noemen we sommige dingen gek en andere niet? Het zijn de bekende vragen waarmee antropologen graag hun publiek vermaken en onderwijzen. Het vermogen om het perspectief vanuit andermans werkelijkheid te kiezen kunnen we wel het unique selling point van de antropologie noemen. Maar een ander perspectief kiezen betekent nog niet dat we automatisch ook onze eigen bril hebben afgezet. Dat viel me onlangs op in een interview met organisatieantropoloog Danielle Braun.

Lees meer