By Gaya Nikolsky Who are you? No, let me rephrase that to avoid a complicated philosophical debate. What is your identity? Okay, although this question is also quite complex, as an anthropologist I do have more grip on it. Your social identity is who and what you are to other people. Often, at least when regarding identity as a more superficial construction, it would involve different labels that will tell the outside world something about you… Or so it seems. Let’s leave it at that for now: your social identity is what you are to other people and it usually involves aspects such as your gender, sexuality, age, ethnicity, race, nationality, religion, career, hobbies etc. Continue reading
By Nynke van Dijck Some weeks ago there was a big storm in the Netherlands. ‘Code Orange’ was issued to tell people to be careful while going on the road or making use of public transport. In the south of the Netherlands, in a city called Nijmegen, a new refugee camp was built which was supposed to host around 800 people from countries like Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea. When the weather got worse, the tents in the camp were shaking, water was leaking through the roof and a loud alarm was going off the whole night. No one in the camp could sleep and the shelter administration (COA) was not reachable. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
By Mohammed Amer Morgahi. In the month of June it was an unusual rainy day in Amsterdam, however a large number of enthusiast Pakistanis assembled at the ‘Pakistan Mela’. Unusual was also a significant participation of women, young and old, and children in the event. People had come not only from different parts of the Netherlands but also from the neighboring Germany and Belgium. In the gray and damp Sloterpark the smell of Pakistani food and music was covering the whole park, as were the colorful umbrellas of the participants. The word ‘Mela’ or ‘gathering’ or ‘festival’, is a Sanskrit word and it deals with the festivities or gatherings around the Sufi shrine and Hindu temples in South Asian villages. With urbanization it also got more secular usage, and among the South Asian diaspora communities it turns out to be an important cultural import. Thus you have Indian, Nepalese, Sikh and Pakistani versions in major cities of the UK and North America, and so the Pakistani Mela in Amsterdam als took shape in the last couple of years. Continue reading
‘Palestine Online’ VU mini book launch on Friday 24 June.
By Miriyam Aouragh The Internet is a key feature in the changing character of Arab politics. This topic has seen an explosive spur since the ongoing December/January Revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. But the political utilisation was most apparent since the outbreak of the Palestinian Al Aqsa’ Intifada [uprising] late 2000. The Palestinian Intifada fused with the birth of the internet.
Aouragh disseminates two main tensions when studying internet usage amongst Palestinians: mobility vs. immobility and space vs. place. Employing the strategy of a grounded anthropologist, the author enriches online internet/media studies with offline methodology, and vise versa. While filling this gap –roughly speaking, that between qualitative empirical anthropology and quantitative journalistic studies – she sets out to expose the deeper/invisible structures underlying virtual reality.
Aouragh argues that the internet reinforced state-oppression and mainstream media hegemony, yet also enabled new-fangled transnational alliances and political imaginations. She starts from the idea that Palestinian communities exhibit new modes of interactions and, most significantly, have in due course constructed a parallel Palestine, one ‘online’. This Palestine Online is presented as a virtual platform gathering Palestinians of different diasporic localities formerly separated by boundaries and travel restrictions. To demonstrate the offline dynamics Aouragh describes grassroots initiatives such as Across Borders Project which was able to bridge territorial separations; reconnecting many Palestinians for the first time since 1948 and on a scale previously unseen. Palestinian websites became ‘mediating spaces’ through which the Palestinian nation is globally imagined and reshaped. Furthermore, the Arabization of the interface and the mushrooming internet cafes have made the internet a community and non-elite technology. These developments in due course contributed to the ‘rehumanization’ of Palestinians in the global public sphere. Continue reading