‘Wasted hours in the field’ as a key to understanding the research topic

By Herbert Ploegman  Originally attributed to Winston Churchill, the statement “never waste a good crisis” has become an aforism that, by now, has been appropriated by many voices. The expression carries several layers, all of which contribute to its perceived versatility. Applying the statement to a research field in contemporary Greece may seem ironic or cynical, given the state of ‘crisis’ the country has gone through (or is currently under). Nevertheless, I feel confident enough to do this without too many scrupules. As an anthropologist having spent almost a year in Greece throughout the past few years, I believe that …

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Time to look at girls differently

By Sophie Pape            Are you happy with your life? The way you have constructed it? What if you were born in another country? Would it be the same? It is likely that it will be quite different. Questions like these popped up while watching the documentary Time to look at girls: Migrants in Bangladesh and Ethiopia, which was shown by Marina de Regt during the EASA Anthropology of Children and Youth Seminar on 19 November 2015. Since June 2009, this EASA Network organizes monthly meetings, which bring together students, researchers, NGOs and policy makers working with children …

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It’s hard to ignore a camera

By Matthias Teeuwen      On Thursday 3 December 2015 the department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of the VU held its first ever Ethnographic Film Festival. Throughout the day ten films were screened in the Church Hall of the university, each followed by a short Q&A session with the filmmakers. What struck me during the screenings was the question: What is the difference between a documentary and an ethnographic film? What is the difference between making films in order to raise awareness about the plight of a group of people and making films in order to make a visual …

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De Berlijn Blogs: Fieldwork Documentary

By Mirjam Dorgelo  In my research I examined the practices of place, memory and belonging amongst former political prisoners who now work as tour guides at the very place they used to be imprisoned: the former secret Stasi prison in Berlin Hohenschönhausen. This short fieldwork documentary shows some of the dynamics of spatial characteristics and commemorative practices I observed during fieldwork. It depicts how the visible and invisible, the spoken and unspeakable sometimes become difficult to discern. In my MA thesis I addressed more extensively these dynamics of commemorative and spatial practices and the various paradoxes I encountered.

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