Lesvos, drawn in the field

From a distance we watch as desperation grows and in awe we witness how people attempt to build new shelters on harsh concrete, prepare food on windy sidewalks and fold pieces of cardboard around their sleeping children. With every cycle of brutal destruction and temporal rebuilding their worlds seem to erode further, and inevitably ours and the things we say we stand for, with it. This piece was drawn and written after witnessing the growing unrest on the island of Lesvos, Greece, in February this year. Following recent events the already fragile and tense dynamics on the island as sketched …

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Mass protests in Ecuador: what news media don’t report

BY CAROLINE VAN SLOBBE This week, I have experienced the specific scent and feel of teargas for the first time. It is in first instance itchy, as if someone put pepper in your nose and eyes. Then it starts to hurt. You cannot breath normally and you start to cry. You want to run away, preferably to the nearest fire. The smoke helps, but it takes time before you’re back to normal. That stuff is not innocent, like you often hear on the news about protests, mostly elsewhere in the world. It doesn’t kill initially, but it does make people …

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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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Crazy people on the other side of the world: challenges of ethnography and positionality in Iran

BY YOUNES SARAMIFAR I recall vividly that I was pleased with my progress in the field on 14th March 2019. I smiled at the list of confirmed appointments for interviews, walks, dinners and lunches while looking at my agenda for the upcoming days. I was content. Everyone had said yes; almost all of those Iranian women who I had approached agreed to talk to me. I felt arrogant and kind of proud of myself. I told myself ‘yes, I have a great network here. Why shouldn’t they say yes? Who needs a gatekeeper? I am my own gatekeeper’. It has …

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Yellow fragmentation

By Irene Stengs. Bangkok, Sunday May 5. With hundreds of others, I am queuing to enter the restricted area around the Grand Palace where the Royal Land Procession will start at 4 PM. In this seven-kilometer procession, Thailand’s new king Vajiralongkorn (Rama X), seated on the Royal Palanquin carried by sixteen royal guards, will halt at three royal temples to pay respect to the temples’ Buddha images. The procession is part of the three-days coronation ceremonies and offers ‘the people’ the opportunity to see their monarch in real life and to pay their respect. The entrances are check points: before …

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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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“Excuse me, what is that camera for?!”

By Telissa Schreuder. A camera is a funny little thing. Nothing but plastic and then some you would think. Just aim and shoot, nowadays times a thousand due to modern day technologies. The perfect accessory for an anthropologist, won’t you agree? You can lay your profound digital material next to your analogue notes, double-check if you have seen things ‘right’. And perhaps even more than that; you can hide behind it in times of insecurity. Whenever you don’t know what to do or want to avoid a dead conversation, just go for the camera, right? I have to admit, I …

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Student Experience: The Scale of Avoidance

By Telissa Schreuder We all know it, the scale of avoiding things. Level one on that scale would mean no actual harm, all the while a severe level ten has something more of a major self-destructing result to it. Thinking back to exactly one year ago, the deadline of going to fieldwork in January would be ranged in about the same level on the avoidance scale as when back in the day my mother would ask who ate all the cookies in the cookie jar. Definitely a level ten. In both cases I was trying to avoid questions to such …

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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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