Luncheon Roundtables at 2014 Washington, DC Meeting

Organizer: Jaume Franquesa (University of Buffalo)


Ayse Caglar (University of Vienna)

Migrants and City-Making Processes in Times of Crisis

This roundtable will address the location of migrants in city making processes. The main focus will be on the question of “how can anthropologists study migrants in relation to city-making processes?” “What would be the best entry point for the anthropologists to study the mutual constitution of dynamics between the migrants and the cities?” The roundtable aims to put different approaches of studying migrants and cities under scrutiny: namely those that frame “city as the context” for studying migrants; analyze urban dynamics from within the “own unique logic” of cities; or analyze migrant dynamics through an exclusive focus on everyday practices especially framed within neighbourhood studies. These approaches will be addressed and assessed from a comparative perspective of studying cities. Another central topic for the roundtable in relation to migrants and city-making would be the impact of the crisis. It aims to reflect on the effects of the crisis particularly on urban development, its discourses and policies and specifically on their impacts on migrants in cities of varying power (including the disempowered cities) in Europe.


Susana Narotzky (University of Barcelona)

Crisis and Livelihoods in the European South

In Southern Europe employment and incomes are dwindling and provisioning of education, health services, retirement pensions and social support from the state is diminishing. Structural adjustment policies are underscoring the lack of sovereignty and responsibility of nation-states towards the wellbeing of their citizens. In this context, people organize to voice their claims but also to actively transform their situation. Forms of protest are extremely diverse, both individual and collective, and span the entire political spectrum. Forms of organization include such diverse expressions as mutual help associations; personal family and friendship networks; local exchange networks or alternative social currencies; etc. In their different expressions, these processes all point to the struggles around defining boundaries and designing paths for claiming legitimate access to resources.

The crisis and austerity measures have resulted in enhancing or creating paths of provisioning beyond the market and the state, without aiming at their substitution. Moreover, forms of mobilization are extremely complex and need to be addressed as individual and collective strategies operating simultaneously at different scales, often resorting to different meaningful framings in each case. Finally, the historical processes and long-term power struggles and alliances that have created the particular conditions of possibility for localized expressions of the financial crisis need to be taken into account. Political economy understandings of the longue durée processes of social differentiation need to be blended with moral economy understandings of processes of consent and outrage.


Petra Rethman (McMaster University)

Crossing the Divide: Looking at the Social(ist) in East and West

This workshop starts from the assumption that it is time to cross the analytical divide that has separated the anthropology of Eastern and Western Europe in the last few years. While it is certainly the case that both entities carry distinct political trajectories and histories, it is equally the case that both have been affected by an onslaught of neoliberal politics. In this workshop we’ll discuss how in both Eastern and Western Europe (and beyond) social(ist) program ceased to exist, and how – in a larger sense – democracies began to restrict themselves to issues of profit and loss, and a language of efficiency, productivity, and benefit has come to dominate the political landscape. Once participants have been established, a roster of three articles as well as a bibliography will be distributed to get the discussion started. The aim of this workshop is to bring scholars and activists together in an informed, vibrant, and stimulating debate.


Carolyn Sargent (Washington University in St Louis)

Health, Gender and Immigration in the European Union

Globalization, including transnational flows of people, is clearly linked to vulnerability to health risks among immigrant populations. This roundtable will focus on the underlying political, economic, and social structures that produce particular patterns of health and disease among  immigrants living in EU countries. Both critical and phenomenological analyses explore ideas of alterity and community, which underlie the production and management of immigrant health. Research on immigrant health underscores the importance of further attention to policies of entitlement and exclusion, which ultimately determine health vulnerabilities and accessibility of health care. Migrants move not only across geographical borders, but also across, between, and among medical systems. Significant changes in risks to health and therapeutic options thus accompany migration, but they vary in relation to features of migrant populations such as gender, ethnicity, class, and legal status. As much research has indicated, the health of immigrants is directly correlated with their degree of social integration and productivity, and illness debilitates immigrant populations, exacerbating their marginalization, as we will explore in our discussion.  Regrettably few studies provide in-depth accounts of migration, culture, gender, and health. Identifying compelling research questions across the spectrum of male and female health issues is therefore a priority for anthropologists focusing on transnational immigration and its consequences for everyday life.


Martha Lampland (UC San Diego)

Producing Knowledge: Novel Sites and Sources

Universities and large businesses no longer monopolize the spaces where innovative research is taking place.  DIY laboratories are springing up in empty warehouses and communities committed to political experiments gather on-line to design projects.  This roundtable is organized to bring together people who are studying or hope to study novel sites for producing knowledge in Europe.  The purpose is exploratory rather than definitive.  Recent changes in technology and infrastructure have made it possible to launch projects that were once prohibitively expensive, or required access to tightly controlled professional communities and services.  We are particularly interested in the social composition of these groups: who joins and why.  How do the communities take form and develop over time?  Are there particular fields or sectors that predominate, or is the range of innovative practices wide open?  Do the projects mimic earlier configurations of scientific research or are there radically new ways being developed of gathering and producing knowledge?


Krista Harper (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)

Professional Development and the Job Market: Prospects and Strategies for Early-Career Europeanists

This roundtable is aimed at professional development, mentoring, and networking for early-career Europeanists–those in graduate school, on the job market, or in the first five years of a position. Anthropological careers and higher education institutions in North America and Europe are going through a period of great change.  At the same time, many anthropology departments place priority on other geographic specializations when developing new positions–so it is especially important for early-career Europeanists must communicate the relevance of their work. Topics include strategies for developing research projects, using social media to build a professional network, honing high-demand research skills, and communicating professionally in the curriculum vitae, letter, and presentations. We will also discuss the structural changes affecting early-career Europeanists and forms of collective action for the profession that could address creeping precarity and casualization.  The roundtable luncheon discussion will be led by Professor Krista Harper, who leads an NSF-sponsored research and training program for Europeanist anthropologists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (NSF #IIA-1261172).  Participants who sign up by November 1 will get a personalized review of their curriculum vitae.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *