Entering the World of Fieldwork: first experiences at the NDSM Wharf in Amsterdam

By Zoë Oosterveld Entering the field The first day in the field was nerve-wracking for me. Firstly, because this was my first time ever doing official fieldwork. Secondly, I was apprehensive about approaching people to ask them questions. I feared that there would be many people who would object to us interviewing them or consider our questions a waste of their time. However, I quickly realized that this was my anxiety filling me with unnecessary fear. I was relieved to conduct the fieldwork together with one of my group members, who, on our ferry ride to the NDSM Wharf in …

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Loneliness and despair in the field: Revisiting my first fieldwork

By Marina de Regt Recently, during a supervision meeting with three of my Master students (all of them women), one of them asked about my own experiences in the field and what I struggled with most. I told them how difficult I found it to approach people for interviews, how I battled with the ethical dilemma of being a white, young Dutch female student, studying Moroccan women who were making a living as carpet workers in Rabat. But perhaps even more important: how miserable I often felt because I was not doing fieldwork but spending most of my time with …

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Myanmar anthropologists dismissed

By Maaike Matelski – In this picture, anthropology students from Yangon University show the ‘three fingers salute’ for democracy. Students and university staff across Myanmar have been protesting against the recent military takeover. Since the coup of 1 February, the military has seized control of dozens of schools and university campuses. It has used lethal force against peaceful protestors, resulting in at least 860 deaths, including many university students. Over 5000 students, teachers, journalists and other dissidents have been arrested, as well as a small number of Westerners. Australian academic (and adviser to Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD government) Sean …

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Writing your thesis – some tips and tricks

By Matthias Teeuwen Over the course of my studies I have received a lot of advice on how to best go about writing my thesis. In this blog, I have curated some of the more helpful bits of advice that have really helped me meet my deadlines, give structure to the way I work and to generally keep on top of things. I present them here in chronological order, but it is common to cycle through them a couple of times during the process because that is just the nature of writing a thesis: it changes over time. Make a …

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A picture of a trocha through which David passes almost every day to reach Cúcuta.

Localising the pandemic: Understanding global disruption through online media

by Maddalena Conte It does not happen every day that a worldwide crisis completely overturns a discipline’s research methods, giving no choice but to experiment with new practices. This is exactly what is going on in anthropology due to the Covid-19 pandemic: by not being able to go “in the field”, which, anyways, would probably be empty, ethnographers need to expand their methodological horizons, and, together with most areas of life, take research online. In my case, as a second-year Cultural Anthropology student, I gladly accepted Professor Eva van Roekel’s offer to assist her in pioneering social media research, on …

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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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