There and back again

by Shunita Gerritsen With a loud, blunt clonk the ferry arrives. The gate slowly comes down while the flashing lights and loud beeping alert the impatiently waiting passengers. Almost before the way is cleared, people already pour out, while some traffic controllers in neon vests try in vain to guide the controlled chaos. Ever since I first started high school, I use the central station ferry almost every day. As a connection between the bustling city center and Amsterdam ‘Noord’, it’s the only way for bikers and pedestrians to pass the sometimes calm, sometimes rowdy waters of the IJ. With …

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Before you ‘Just Eat’

By Qusai Khwes I opened my eyes; waking up to my back hurting a bit, and my feet a lot.  The day before, I spent more than fifteen hours in my ‘workplace’. In the summer of 2021, couriers at Thuisbezorgd were not permitted to work more than five hours at a time. In order to be compensated for full time-work like a normal job, bike couriers would return to the hub every five hours to wait a few hours before riding again for another five hours. The lucky ones who live nearby the hub can go home to rest between …

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Mobility and immobility during the pandemic: Experiences on a journey from Amsterdam to Semarang

By Pamungkas (Yudha) Dewanto           As a response to the global corona crisis, authorities all over the world set strict health protocols for travelers. Focusing on the case of China, anthropologist Biao Xiang argues that the COVID-19 epidemic has triggered grid reactions: “Residential communities, districts, cities and even entire provinces act as grids to impose blanket surveillance over all the residents, minimize mobilities, and isolate themselves.” Grid reactions, he argues, are however not about community grids only; the term more generally refers to all-out, undifferentiated, war-like strategies to combat the virus. In this blog, I share how such grid reactions played …

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Podcast #3 is online! Guest: Haiyue (Fiona) Shan

In this episode, Puck de Boer talks to Haiyue (or Fiona, her English name) Shan, a PhD student at the Sociology department of VU University. From a holistic, multidisciplinary perspective, she investigates the experiences and challenges of Chinese migrant women in the Netherlands before, during and after they give birth, with a special focus on mental health and postpartum depression. Haiyue likes to experiment with podcasts and documentaries to collect data and disseminate her research outcomes. Topics in this podcast include:-Haiyue’s research, the importance of a multidisciplinary perspective and the role of anthropology within it.-Questions and challenges regarding pregnancy in …

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Podcast # 2 is online! Guest: Aleeha Ali

In this episode, Puck de Boer talks with Aleeha Ali, who studied sociology in Pakistan, did a research master’s in anthropology in the UK and is currently a PhD candidate at the department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the VU. Topics include:-Aleeha’s research on digitization of religious mourning among Shi’a Muslims in Europe – even more relevant in times of Covid-19.-Her experiences in different educational systems.-The diversification of perspectives in a postcolonial anthropology.-What characterizes anthropology and how it relates to other disciplines.-Conducting (digital) ethnographic fieldwork during a pandemic. The close listener might notice a difference in the sound quality …

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Communication at a distance: technology old and new

By Hannah Sibona          In 2020, a face-to-face meeting, more often than not, means screen-to-screen. The global pandemic, social restrictions, and the ‘new normal’ has, for many of us, radically altered our communicative social practices. Only weeks before Europe shut down, I was conducting research on mobile phones among young women working in the garment factories of Dhaka, Bangladesh. The participants stressed the importance of making video calls on their smartphones. This technology allowed them not only to maintain frequent contact with their homes and family in rural villages, but enabled a feeling of closeness because they felt that “they are …

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On the Brink of a Pandemic; “World, jiāyóu”

BY JOP KOOPMAN The city of Wuhan, ground zero of the coronavirus, is 6 six days under lockdown when residents take to WeChat and start to suggest that they should chant uplifting phrases from their apartment windows to one and another. The participants decide that at 20:00 p.m. on the 28th of January the chanting commences. As planned, the participants take to the windows and start to chant: Wuhan, jiāyóu!” from apartment to apartment, to building to building, filling the air with words of solidarity. A sense of harmony that’s unique and powerful in times of crisis.  A video shot …

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Honger in een land van overvloed

Door: Eva van Roekel “Hier, eet.” Ik ben net aangekomen in Caracas en het eerste dat ik voorgeschoteld krijg is een groot stuk ananas. We zitten midden in de grootste economische en politieke crisis van Venezuela. Negentig procent van de bevolking leeft in armoede. Meer dan 4 miljoen Venezolanen zijn gevlucht. Ze zijn veelal op zoek naar eten, medicijnen, veiligheid en schoon water. De afgelopen twee jaar is de ‘gemiddelde’ Venezolaan in de statistieken meer dan 10 kilo lichter geworden. Wat betekent honger in een land van overvloed? Met al deze informatie en vragen in mijn gedachten kijk ik naar …

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Bystander: On a migration experience

By Peter Versteeg A waiting room with benches and very bright light from a fluorescent tube. Clothes and shoes lying all around. There’s sand on the floor. I have to put my shoes in a closet and wait for the alarm to sound. The moment I sit down on a bench I realize I get impatient. And I think to myself: Ah okay, I know what this is. The refugee’s experience has a lot to do with waiting. Not exactly knowing what you are waiting for and why it takes so long. Okay, I understand what they try to get …

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At Europe’s Threshold – Bangladeshi Migrants in Greece

By Jessica van Vugt. This photo-essay is about Bangladeshi migrants in Athens, Greece. Using the case of the Bangladeshi migrants, I wanted to explore how the European discourse of strict immigration and asylum policies on the one hand and the growing deregulating labor markets featured by an increasing employers’ demand for cheap ‘flexible’ laborers, on the other hand, shapes the lives of economic migrants in Greece. The accounts of fifteen young Bangladeshi men together with my camera, which was always hanging on my shoulder, tell the story of how they experience, shape and navigate their lives. This photo-essay is based on that …

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