Tagarchief: anthropology

Poor Whites in South Africa

Just like last year, various master students obtained a small financial allowance from the Vamos Bien-Foundation of our Department. In  return, they write blogs about their fieldwork, posted on the vamosbien.nl-site. Like last year, we will re-post some of these field stories on our Standplaatswereld site. The first one is by Dafydd Russell-Jones. He went to South Africa to explore the experiences of poverty among white communities living in informal settlements in and around Pretoria.  This research will explore the lived realities of white South Africans who have experienced a great shift in social and economic security since the end of apartheid.

 

By Dafydd Russel-Jones   After commuting in and out of Westfort (an ‘improvised’ community near Pretoria) for the past 6 weeks, I was presented an opportunity to live in one of the spare rooms with a member of the Democratic Alliance and so I have been living as he does for the past week. On the very first visit to Westfort, I spoke with a young Soweto man with two kids, and Indian family who lived next door to a Zimbabwean family, a Zulu man, who was neighbours with an Afrikaner lady and also a coloured family. I was told by one of my supervisors that I should not go looking for the ‘rainbow nation’ whilst in South Africa because I simply would not find it. It is clear that the rainbow exists right here, but the colours are not united in their freedom of choice, instead they are bound in their daily struggles and alas, there is not a pot of gold sight.

During my time, I have tried to speak with a diverse range of people as possible but have carried out the most in depth interviews with minority of Afrikaners (20) as they are the focus of this study. Regardless of cultural background, there are three clear insecurities that would dominate any humans daily psychological, emotional and operational capacities; no running water, no electricity and not knowing that you will still be sleeping under the same roof come tomorrow. Lees verder

Racism as satire

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.[1] 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

“This is how it is”. Your Informant’s Recognition as the Ultimate Reward

renskeoptredenDoor 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.

Lees verder

Anthropology Day, November 29th, 2013

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

Een tas vol verhalen

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Door Anne Dirks
“Dus eigenlijk heb jij onderzoek gedaan naar iets wat niet bestaat?” vraagt Phillip mij, na mijn relaas over agency & structure, de rol van de politiek en de media, adolescenten in het algemeen en die vreemde Argentijnen en hun geschiedenis in het bijzonder. “Eh, ja,” antwoord ik. Want dat is inderdaad de essentie. Ik heb onderzoek gedaan naar iets wat er niet is.

Lees verder

An important letter: on time, football, and displacement in the Netherlands

Door Luciano Jahnecka

Maikel Hoffmans

Maikel Hoffmans

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

ABv Ledendag 24 mei 2013: over macht, bestuur en samenleving

Poster_ABv_ledendag_conferentie_24_mei_2013 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:

Lees verder

Het boerenbloed kruipt waar het niet gaan kan

IMG_2372

Door Ellen de Lange. Een boerderij op het Nederlandse platteland. De geur van mest, kuilvoer en verse melk. Het geblèr van de potlammeren die trek hebben in melk, de boer die ‘kom op’ roept tegen de koeien, en het feit dat het geluid van de voordeurbel vreemd is; die deur wordt namelijk “al meer dan acht jaar niet gebruikt”, je gaat gewoon achterom.

Wellicht een wat ongebruikelijke plek voor een MSc student antropologie. Ik heb tenslotte meer dieren dan mensen mogen zien de afgelopen drie maanden. En daarnaast, het eelt op mijn handen is niet uitsluitend van het aantekeningen maken. Met nog een kleine week veldwerk voor de boeg, een kort verslag over mijn ervaringen. Lees verder

Terug in Jemen

Door Marina de Regt

revolutieVorige week ben ik terug gekomen van twee weken veldwerk in Jemen, het land dat ik als mijn tweede thuis beschouw. In de jaren negentig werkte ik hier zes jaar als ontwikkelingswerkster, en zowel mijn promotie-onderzoek als mijn post-doctorale onderzoek gingen over Jemen. In december 2009 was ik er voor het laatst, voornamelijk om vrienden en oud-collega’s op te zoeken. Tijdens dat verblijf deed een Nigeriaanse student een poging een Amerikaans vliegtuig op te blazen. Hij bleek als student Arabisch maandenlang in de Jemenitische hoofdstad Sana’a te hebben doorgebracht en door AQAP (al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula) te zijn getraind. De slechte naam die Jemen al jaren had als vrijhaven voor terroristen werd daardoor weer versterkt.

In de afgelopen drie jaar is de situatie er niet beter op geworden. In navolging van de revoluties in Tunesië en Egypte gingen jonge Jemenieten de straat op om het 33-jaar oude bewind van president Ali Abdullah Saleh omver te werpen, maar de vreedzame demonstraties werden met geweld neergeslagen. Saleh weigerde tot driemaal toe de macht over te dragen, en de chaos in het land nam toe. Ik volgde het nieuws op de voet, en was aan het begin van de revolutie hoopvol gestemd; eindelijk kwam er verandering in de neerwaartse spiraal waarin dit land zich sinds begin jaren negentig bevond. Maar mijn optimisme werd al snel de grond in geboord toen het geweld en de verdeeldheid in het land toenamen. Terwijl jong en oud, mannen en vrouwen, stamleiders en stedelingen, zij aan zij demonstreerden en “Change Square” in Sana’a in een permanent tentendorp veranderde, vond er op hoog niveau een machtsstrijd plaats. Belangrijke handlangers van Saleh, waaronder hoge legerofficieren, scheidden zich van hem af, en kozen de kant van de revolutionairen. Maar niet met de meest oprechte bedoelingen: eigenbelang stond voorop. Er vonden hevige gevechten plaats in Sana’a tussen de verschillende legereenheden en er werden veel onschuldige slachtoffers gemaakt. Lees verder

From LRA conflicts to land conflicts

328By 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