Anthropology students’ achievement at the municipality of Amsterdam

By Puck de Boer What greater thing could happen to students in their Bachelor than doing a research that actually has impact in real life? Exactly this happened to four students from the VU Bachelor Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology. In the course Organisations and Anthropology, students do research for the municipality of Amsterdam. Afterwards, they translate their knowledge into a concrete policy advice. Rieky, Joost, Roos and Charlotte evaluated the municipality’s policy by researching the extent to which residents can participate in decision-making processes. They spent a month doing fieldwork at the Ringdijk and Weesperzijde to discover the effect …

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What ‘back to normal’ teaches me during Corona

BY PUCK DE BOER Whenever I visit my social media, I read posts of people claiming that this Corona virus enables all kinds of creative inventions and solutions. I see how people decide to broaden their skillset, take crash courses to cope with the online meetings and buy equipment to finally finish their kitchen garden. But most importantly, some people largely celebrate the flexibility that they have gained and imagine how this period will transform the way we live in a post-Corona era. Let’s be honest, I am one of those people. I finally bought Piketty’s Capital in the 21st …

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De donkere wolk die Scriptie heet (en de vruchtbare grond na de regenbui)

DOOR SARA PILIC Ik moet het toegeven: alle clichés over het schrijven van een scriptie zijn waar. Tijdens het hele proces ben ik door verschillende fases heen gegaan. Mijn motivatie sloeg snel om naar stress, paniek en uiteindelijk zelfs wanhoop. De impact op mijn mentale- en fysieke staat? Een structureel slaapgebrek en een onophoudelijke stuiptrekking in mijn rechteroog. Het ging zelfs zo ver dat ik geneigd was om de handdoek in de ring te gooien, het bijltje erbij neer te leggen, er een streep onder te zetten en nog meer van dat soort spreekwoorden. Ik had de keuze al gemaakt: …

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Van masterscriptie naar gepubliceerd boek: The Urban Gardens of Havana

Door Ola Plonska In juli 2017 was het eindelijk zover. Na maandenlang hard werken was dit het moment om onze masterscripties in te leveren. Ik herinner het mij nog alsof het gisteren was. Al voor openingstijd stond ik zenuwachtig voor de deur van de printshop om mijn scriptie te laten printen. Toen ik naar de afdeling liep hield ik het ingebonden werk dicht tegen me aan terwijl ik een gezonde dosis adrenaline door mijn lijf voelde stromen. Dit was het dan, het punt waar ik twee jaar lang naartoe had gewerkt. Destijds was ik er zeker van dat dit de …

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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.

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Student Experience: The Scale of Avoidance

By Telissa Schreuder We all know it, the scale of avoiding things. Level one on that scale would mean no actual harm, all the while a severe level ten has something more of a major self-destructing result to it. Thinking back to exactly one year ago, the deadline of going to fieldwork in January would be ranged in about the same level on the avoidance scale as when back in the day my mother would ask who ate all the cookies in the cookie jar. Definitely a level ten. In both cases I was trying to avoid questions to such …

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Graduation speech Class 2016/2017

By Dominique van de Kamp         During the pre-master of Social and Cultural Anthropology, we followed a course called “Core themes of Anthropology,” by Ton Salman. In our first class, he mentioned that every anthropologist would like to be a fly on the wall, almost invisible – however impossible *. From that moment on, we started calling ourselves the “Flies on the wall.” Two years later, we handed in our theses and a great part of us went to celebrate together in Rome. There I wrote something about the flies on the wall, which turned out to be my …

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Only looking forward?

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 …

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Negligent NGO with happy parents: Voluntourism and the voice of the local beneficiaries

Pauline van der Valk        I have always had a keen interest in the local beneficiaries’ perspective on development projects. It was only when I started my Masters in Anthropology that I learned more about the phenomenon of voluntourism. Scholars agree voluntourism is part of the tourism sector, but also acknowledge voluntourists combine leisure activities with development practices. For this reason I found this niche market in the tourism sector highly intriguing and I decided to focus my thesis on voluntourism rather than on development. During my preparatory work I had read up on voluntourism, and the first discovery I …

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Het verhaal achter haar Ugandese haar

Door Esther Platteeuw            Op een warme dag in maart loop ik in de straten van Jinja Town op weg naar het internetcafé ‘The Source’. Met Oegandese radiomuziek in mijn oren zonder ik me af van de blikken, handgebaren en het ‘Mzungu’ geroep waar je als blanke veel mee geconfronteerd wordt in deze Afrikaanse stad. Ik ben net een straat overgestoken waarna mijn aandacht van een Oegandees popliedje naar de realiteit op straat wordt getrokken, ‘Esther’, ‘Esther’ hoor ik opeens. Automatisch draai ik mijn hoofd om en zie daar de stralende lach van een Ugandese meid van ongeveer dezelfde leeftijd als …

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