EASA Newsletter No 70 2017

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Bern sunset cityscape. Credit: Bern Tourism

Valeria Siniscalchi addresses the membership.

Dear EASA members,

The first half of the year has played out with a parade of events which should awaken our critical spirit: the threats of extremism and authoritarianism; religious affiliations and notions of race that have returned to the fray to justify violence and exclusion; and in the background, the migration of men, women, and children who are fleeing war or persecution. All of this seems to surprise less and less. However, it is more and more certain that we cannot remain cloaked in scientific neutrality. As anthropologists, we are called to take a position and play a role, both pedagogical and critical, in terms of engaged citizenship. This is also the spirit of our AGM for this year, which will take place in Bern, November 16-17, and will be the occasion to discuss a number of these themes that today appear crucial. We have decided to begin with the world of research in order to debate the situations of risk and insecurity found both inside and outside of the academy: Politics and Precarity in Academia: Anthropological Perspectives. There is no lack of case studies: from Turkey to Pakistan, passing by Greece, intellectual engagement is suffering attacks from economic politics or authoritarian regimes, resulting in various forms of precarity and situations of risk. Chandana Mathur, chair of the WCAA, of which EASA is a member, will share the results of a survey on "Anthropological fieldwork and risk in a violent world".

But precarity also assumes more hidden forms. For too long we have become accustomed to the internal relationships of power at the academy that today assume new forms linked to neoliberal logic and politics. These forms of precarity reflect their unsustainability and profound contradiction with the principles that we profess to hold as anthropologists. The PrecAnthro Group, which already launched a debate on these questions at the 2016 conference in Milan, will introduce and discuss during the EASA AGM seminar in Bern a questionnaire concerning precarity in academia that will be lunched among EASA members soon after the Bern seminar.

In 2015, following the EASA AGM organized in Prague, the executive committee wrote Why anthropology matters, a policy paper published on the EASA website in several languages and intended to reinforce the visibility of anthropology and its usefulness in understanding the phenomena that characterize contemporaneity. With the results of these meetings in Bern, which we hope will be productive, we would like to produce a position paper focusing on scholars at risks and precarity in academia, that will be addressed to the European Commission and to other institutional actors. EASA can play an important role as a professional association and also in raising the consciousness of public authorities and the research community about possible solutions.

Mobility and nomadism in the academy, professional mobility, mobility linked to violence and war or climate change: this is only a portion of the themes that will be broached during our next conference that, as you know, will be held in Stockholm in August of 2018. The theme chosen for this edition is Staying, Moving, Settling. Mobility will allow us to look at both the individual and collective dimension of these movements, to study those who remain as well as the networks that emerge during displacements or that are built upon arrivals. Displacements characterize the contemporary world, but neither these displacements nor their tragic aspects are new, nor are the dimension of hope that can accompany them, or the economic and political issues that are at the origin or emerge when individuals and groups displace. Mobility also has more regular and ancient dimensions. We only have to think of the pilgrimages, of migrations for work along the Alpine chain, of the mobility from one country to another in Europe, inside the Mediterranean and beyond: migrations have connected Europe and the rest of the world for centuries. The spatial dimensions, the forms and the contexts in which the displacements take place or are organized, or prevented, will be among the themes that the conference will highlight. The call for panels will be launched in December 2017.

The editorial work, network initiatives, and lobbying at the heart of Europe that the current executive committee is trying to reinforce, and particularly our own participation at the WCAA and IUAES, should help us to combine efforts and experiences to strengthen anthropology and its visibility. We have also renewed our membership inside the EASSH and will participate in the general assembly which will take place at the beginning of November in Brussels, that will focus on the development of the next Framework Program 2021-27. Finally, during the first months of the mandate, the executive committee signed an expression of interest for the LIBRARIA project and confirmed its participation in the principles of the network to facilitate and develop scenarios for open access publishing in the social sciences and humanities, and to explore funding opportunities.

The first letter of this new executive was presented in the two languages (French and English) that are the official languages of the EASA. We renew this practice here in the present letter as a sign of the EASA's openness vis-à-vis the anthropologists and languages present in Europe.

Yours sincerely,
Valeria Siniscalchi
EASA President

Valeria Siniscalchi s'adresse aux membres.

Chers membres d’EASA,

la première moitié de l’année s’est déroulée sous le signe d’événements qui doivent réveiller notre esprit critique : les menaces des extrémismes et des autoritarismes, l’appartenance religieuse ou la notion de race qui reviennent à la charge pour justifier la violence et l’exclusion, et en arrière plan les migrations d’hommes, femmes et enfants qui fuient les guerres ou les persécutions, qui semblent nous étonner de moins en moins. Pourtant, il est certain que nous ne pouvons pas rester enfermés dans une neutralité scientifique. En tant qu’anthropologues, nous sommes appelés à prendre position et à jouer un rôle critique et pédagogique à la fois, au service d’une citoyenneté engagée. C’est le sens aussi de notre assemblée générale de cette année, qui aura lieu à Berne le 16 et 17 novembre et qui sera l’occasion de discuter d’un certain nombre de ces thématiques, cruciales aujourd’hui. Nous avons décidé de partir du monde de la recherche pour débattre des situations de risque et de précarité à la fois à l’intérieur et à l’extérieur de l’académie : « On Politics and Precarities in Academia: Anthropological Perspectives ». Les études de cas ne manquent pas : de la Turquie au Pakistan en passant par la Grèce, l’engagement intellectuel subit les attaques des politiques économiques ou des régimes autoritaires produisant différentes formes de précarité et de risque. Chandana Mathur, présidente de WCAA, dont EASA est membre, partagera les résultats d’une enquête sur le thème « Anthropological fieldwork and risk in a violent world ».

Mais la précarité assume aussi des formes plus cachées qui se nichent dans des rapports de pouvoir internes à l’académie auxquels nous sommes habitués depuis trop longtemps, mais qui assument aujourd’hui des formes nouvelles, en lien avec les logiques et les politiques néolibérales. Ces formes de précarité révèlent aujourd’hui leur in-soutenabilité et leur profonde contradiction avec les principes que nous professons en tant qu’anthropologues. Le precAnthro Group, qui avait déjà lancé un débat sur ces questions dans le cadre de la conférence de Milan en 2016, introduira et discutera pendant le séminaire EASA du mois de novembre une enquête sur la précarité au sein de l’université qui sera lancée après les rencontres de Berne.

En 2015, suite à l’assemblée générale d’EASA organisée à Prague, le comité exécutif avait rédigé un document politique, «Pourquoi l'anthropologie est tellement importante», publié sur le site de l’EASA en plusieurs langues et destiné à conforter à la visibilité de l’anthropologie et son utilité pour comprendre les phénomènes qui caractérisent la contemporanéité. A l’issue des rencontres de Berne, que nous espérons productives, nous souhaitons également élaborer un document qui sera présenté à la Commission Européenne et à d’autres acteurs institutionnels. EASA peut jouer un rôle important non seulement comme association professionnelle mais également dans la sensibilisation des pouvoirs publics et la recherche de solutions possibles.

Mobilité et nomadisme au sein de l’académie, mobilités professionnelles, mobilités liées aux violences et aux situations de guerre ou aux changements climatiques ne sont qu’une partie des thématiques qui seront abordées lors de notre prochaine conférence qui, comme vous le savez aura lieu à Stockholm en août 2018. Le thème choisi pour cette édition est Staying, Moving, Settling. La mobilité permettra d’observer à la fois les dimensions individuelle et collective des mouvements, de prendre en compte les acteurs restés sur place et les réseaux qui s’établissent pendant les déplacements ou à l’arrivée. Les déplacements caractérisent le monde contemporain mais ils ne sont pas nouveaux, avec leurs aspects tragiques, mais aussi l’espoir qui les accompagnent, les enjeux économiques et politiques qui sont à l’origine ou qui se produisent quand les individus et les groupes se déplacent. En effet, la mobilité a aussi des dimensions plus régulières et anciennes. Il suffit de penser aux pèlerinages, aux migrations de travail le long de la chaîne alpine, aux mobilités d’un pays à l’autre de l’Europe, à l’intérieur de la Méditerranée et au-delà : les migrations relient l’Europe et le reste du monde depuis des siècles. Les dimensions spatiales, les formes et les contextes dans lesquels les déplacements se déroulent ou sont organisés, voire empêchés, seront parmi les thèmes que la conférence permettra d’aborder. L’appel à contributions sera publié en decembre 2017.

Le travail éditorial, les initiatives des networks, l’action de lobbying au sein de l’Europe que l’actuel comité exécutif essaye de consolider, ou encore notre participation à la WCAA - IUAES nous permettent à cumuler les efforts et les expériences pour renforcer la place de l’anthropologie et sa visibilité. Dans ce cadre, nous avons également renouvelé notre inscription au sein du EASSH et participerons à l’assemblée générale, concernant le prochain Programme cadre 2021-27, qui aura lieu début Novembre à Bruxelles. Enfin, pendant les premiers mois de son mandat, le comité exécutif a signé une manifestation d’intérêt concernant le projet LIBRARIA en confirmant sa participation aux principes du réseau : faciliter et développer des scénarios possibles de publication en open acces dans le champs des sciences humaines et sociales, et explorer des possibilités de financement.

La première lettre de ce nouvel exécutif était rédigée en deux langues (français et anglais) qui sont les deux langues officielles d’EASA. Nous renouvelons cette pratique pour la présente lettre en signe de l’ouverture d’EASA vis-à-vis des anthropologies et des langues présentes au sein de l’Europe.

Bien cordialement
Valeria Siniscalchi
Présidente de l’EASA

Information on the AGM and seminar to be held in Bern, 16-17 November 2017.

The 2017 EASA AGM will take place in Bern on November 16, 2017 and will be accompanied by a two-day seminar (16 and 17 Nov) entitled, On Politics and Precarities in Academia: Anthropological Perspectives.

We invite EASA members to attend the AGM and the seminar where we will discuss different strands of precarity, analyse sites of disempowerment at the intersection of precarity and politics and discuss potentials of collaboration, solidarity and unionization. The event is structured in three Workshops (W1 Politics and Precarious Lives, W2 Structural Precarity in Anthropology, W3 Transnational Collaboration Against Political and Structural Precarity) followed by a conference press ‘Let’s Give Voice to Scholars at Risk and Precarious Researchers’ that will disseminate publicly the results of this two-day meeting.

Özlem Biner’s (LSE) keynote will discuss the topic under the title: Production of 'Dangerous Knowledge', Violation of Academic Freedom and Precarious Solidarities in the Age of Authoritarianism. 

Full details and the final programme can be viewed here. Those interested in attending the workshop are kindly asked to register (despite there being no fee) via the form on that page.

A report from Aleksandar Bošković, the series’ editor.

The time period since my last letter was mostly marked by completion or near-completion of several manuscripts. Of course, the work on the series follows the already established procedures for evaluating book proposals and book manuscripts, by the previous Book series editors – so the current productive output should be seen in terms of a longue durée (as the Annales scholars would put it). As it turns out, the next seven months might be one of the most productive periods in terms of publications of this series. At the time of the writing of this report, a book by Čarna Brković, Managing Ambiguity: How Clientelism, Citizenship, and Power Shape Personhood in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Volume 31 of the EASA Book Series) was published. This is also the first volume published with the slightly revised book cover, following suggestions from members of the Advisory Board, and some authors. Two more volumes are forthcoming, Kristín Loftsdóttir, Brigitte Hipfl, and Andrea Smith (eds.), Messy Europe: Whiteness and Crisis in a Postcolonial World, and Felix Ringel’s Back to the Post-Industrial Future: A Presentist Ethnography of Germany’s Fastest Shrinking City. With two more volumes close to the final stage, Volumes 32-35 might be published by April 2018, making this period a very productive one for the series, and for our authors.

Three more volumes are nearing completion, and I would like to use this opportunity to invite all EASA members to submit their proposals, and to help maintain this series as one of the most exciting publishing projects in contemporary social sciences.

Aleksandar Bošković
Professor of Anthropology
University of Belgrade

Berghahn Books is offering members a generous promotional discount of 70% off volumes 30 and 31 of the EASA series for orders placed on the Berghahn website by 31st October 2017.

broThe Good Holiday: Development, Tourism and the Politics of Benevolence in Mozambique
João Afonso Baptista
Volume 30, EASA Series from Berghahn Books
ISBN  978-1-78533-546-4 £85.00 Hardback

“This book makes an important contribution to critical studies of tourism, and the growing corpus on Mozambican Studies as well as – and this is perhaps its most important contribution – adding significantly to analyses of consumerism and its ethical, economic and political dimensions.”
Bjørn Enge Bertelsen (University of Bergen)

Drawing on ethnographic research in the village of Canhane, which is host to the first community tourism project in Mozambique, The Good Holiday explores the confluence of two powerful industries: tourism and development, and explains when, how and why tourism becomes development and development, tourism. The volume further explores the social and material consequences of this merging, presenting the confluence of tourism and development as a major vehicle for the exercise of ethics, and non-state governance in contemporary life.


bapManaging Ambiguity: How Clientelism, Citizenship, and Power Shape Personhood in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Čarna Brković
Volume 31, EASA Series from Berghahn Books
ISBN  978-1-78533-414-6 £85.00 Hardback

There is much to love about this book - the choice to address what is extremely rich ethnographic material through three interlocking analytical categories: personhood, citizenship, and power creates the possibilities for an incredibly productive exploration of everyday life, sociality and social welfare.
Paul Stubbs (Institute for Economics, Zagreb)

Why do people turn to personal connections to get things done? Exploring the role of favors in social welfare systems in postwar, postsocialist Bosnia and Herzegovina, this volume provides a new theoretical angle on links between ambiguity and power. It demonstrates that favors were not an instrumental tactic of survival, nor a way to reproduce oneself as a moral person. Instead, favors enabled the insertion of personal compassion into the heart of the organization of welfare.

Managing Ambiguity follows how neoliberal insistence on local community, flexibility, and self-responsibility was translated into clientelist modes of relating and back, and how this fostered a specific mode of power.


EASA member Professor Reginald Byron has sadly left us.

Reg Byron was born in America and settled in Britain after completing his PhD in Anthropology at UCL in 1974. After establishing his career in the Anthropology Department at Queen's University, Belfast (1973-1991) he was appointed Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Wales Swansea (1991-2006). He was a regular panel organiser and presenter at EASA conferences. He published widely on his varied research in Britain, Europe, Scandinavia, and North America, including studies of maritime communities (Sea Change: A Shetland Society 1970-79, ISER Books,1986), migration (Irish America, Oxford University Press, 1999), and latterly European kinship and marriage. Reg always took a historical approach and used materials in museums and archives in his research. After retirement he volunteered at Tangmere Military Aviation Museum, edited the biannual Tangmere Logbook, and co-wrote a history of Tangmere. It is fitting that his last paper, presented posthumously at Chichester University, concerned Bogart Rogers, an American airman who flew from Tangmere in the first World War, and returned to California to become a script writer and inventor of the photo finish. Reg was a man of principle who will be be remembered for his contribution to the Anthropology of Marginal Regions and also for his kindness and fairness as a colleague and as a friend.
(Felicia Hughes-Freeland)