Vårens seminarieserie arrangeras av Beppe Karlsson, Gabriella Körling, Johan Lindquist och Erik Olsson. Listan uppdateras kontinuerligt.



Monday January 20, 13.00–15.00, B600
Jennifer Mack, Associate Professor, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Institute for Housing and Urban Research at Uppsala University.
The Construction of Equality: Syriac Immigration and the Swedish City

Discussant: Annika Rabo, Professor, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University

In The Construction of Equality: Syriac Immigration and the Swedish City (University of Minnesota Press, 2017), Jennifer Mack investigates the Swedish town of Södertälje, which has become the global capital of the Syriac Orthodox Christian diaspora. Since the 1960s, this Syriac community (known as assyrier/syrianer in Swedish) has transformed the standardized welfare-state spaces of the city’s neighborhoods into its own “Mesopotälje,” defined by houses with international influences, a major soccer stadium, churches, social clubs, and more. Mack argues that these Syriac projects – which often highlight the group’s minority status – have challenged the postwar principles of Swedish utopian architecture and planning that explicitly emphasized the erasure of difference. Neither are such projects merely the result of the grassroots social practices usually attributed to migrants; instead, they emerge through dialogues between residents and accredited architects, urban planners, and civic bureaucrats. Using interdisciplinary methods from anthropology and architectural history, Mack investigates urban development and the migrant experience in Europe over a fifty-year period.

Jennifer Mack is Associate Professor at KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Researcher at the Institute for Housing and Urban Research at Uppsala University. She holds a PhD from Harvard University, an MArch and MCP from MIT, and a BA from Wesleyan University. Broadly, Mack’s work focuses on social change and the built environment, with ongoing research on the architecture and planning of mosques and churches in Sweden and on how discourses of sustainability and democracy are used in the renovations of the green, open, and public spaces created around Swedish multifamily housing during the 1960s and 1970s. Mack has previously published work on the “right to the garden” (with Justin Parscher), mid-20th century youth centers, and architects and bureaucratic expertise, among other topics. She is the co-editor of two anthologies: Rethinking the Social (Actar, 2019) and Life Among Urban Planners (University of Pennsylvania Press, forthcoming 2020). Mack has also worked as an architectural and urban designer and is a member of several international research networks, including “New Towns, Arrival Cities” and three NOS-HS networks on welfare state architecture, architectural anthropology, and welfare landscapes.



Monday January 27, 13.00–14.30, B600
Andrew McWilliam is Professor of Anthropology in the School of Social Science at Western Sydney University, Australia
Poverty and Prosperity for Sama Bajo Fishing Communities in Southeast Sulawesi

Indonesia has experienced sustained economic growth in recent decades and is now a middle-income country with over 100million of its citizens entering the middle class. Despite these impressive gains, 28 million citizens remain impoverished with as many as 40million vulnerable to falling into poverty. Some of the poorest communities live on the coast pursuing low technology artisanal fishing livelihoods. In this presentation, I explore patterns of poverty and livelihood insecurity in two Sama Bajo coastal settlements of Southeast Sulawesi. Sama bajo livelihoods are shaped by seasonal patterns of fishing and marine based harvesting and trading. A strong feature of these communities is the presence of enduring patron-client relationships (punggawa –sabi) that provide forms of economic support and unequal co-dependence founded on debt. Findings of the study highlight the contribution of this key relationship to both the persistence of poverty in these communities but also opportunities for enhanced incomes and relative prosperity through fishing among resident households.

Andrew McWilliam is Professor of Anthropology in the School of Social Science at Western Sydney University, Australia. He is a specialist in the anthropology of Southeast Asia and has continuing ethnographic research interests in Eastern Indonesia and Timor-Leste as well as Northern Australia. His current research work includes the role of customary governance in post-conflict Timor-Leste; studies of maritime livelihoods and the politics of social protection in Indonesia; and work in northern Australia with indigenous native title claims and cultural heritage protection. He is Editor of The Australian Journal of Anthropology (TAJA). Recent book publications include a new monograph entitled, Post-Conflict Social and Economic Recovery in Timor-Leste: Redemptive Legacies (Routledge 2020), and a co-edited volume, The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Timor-Leste (2019 with M.Leach).




Monday February 3, 13.00–15.00, B600
Richard Swedberg: Department ofSociology, Cornell University (USA)
Theorizing in General & Theorizing with Metaphors

Today's talk has two parts. First an introduction to what the speaker means by theorizing; and then a discussion of the role of metaphors in theorizing. The introduction to theorizing will quickly touch on key points, such as the disrtinction between theory and theorizing as well as that between context of discovery and context of justification. Something will also be said about theorizing as working on the self (a topic discussed in the appended article). The part on metaphors mirrors my current work on this topic. I will present my ideas so far, which focus on the theory of the metaphor, its heuristic power and how to avoid making errors when using a metaphor.

Richard Swedberg: Department ofSociology, Cornell University (USA). Richard Swedberg is Professor ofSociology at Cornell University. His two specialties are economic sociology and social theory. He is currently working on various aspects of theorizing: how to do it, and how to teach it to students.



Monday February 10, 13.00–14.30, B600
Claudia Merli, Senior lecturer at Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology, Uppsala University

A breathtaking landscape: Aesthetics, experiences, health risk perceptions and protection from volcanic ash in Sakurajima, southern Japan

Rising in the middle of Kagoshima’s Kinko bay and offering different iconic profiles depending on the selected viewpoint, Sakurajima volcano and its ash plumes make a most prominent presence in the daily lives and sensorial experiences of people living in Kagoshima, the southernmost prefecture of Kyushu Island, Japan. Visible from most of the locations lined along the nearly perfectly circular bay and towering over the villages located at Sakurajima’s feet, the volcano’s presence anchors people’s lives to a place of breathtaking beauty and with a constant monitoring and observation of its activity. This article is based on empirical research and ethnographic fieldwork carried out from April to October 2016 in Kagoshima prefecture. Specific methods include the analysis of local government documents, semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and analysis of visual material. This study is part of the multidisciplinary and cross-cultural Health in Volcanic Eruptions (HIVE) consortium to investigate how populations living in the proximity of three highly active volcanoes, namely Popocatepetl in Mexico, Merapi in Indonesia, and Sakurajima in Japan, handle perceived vulnerability and possible health risk originating from inhalation of volcanic ash. Each of these contexts produces strategies to deal with uncertainty that are often at odds with Northwestern approaches, theories, and ideologies of risk, generally associated with a specific framework of scientific rational modernity.



Monday February 17, 13.00–14.30, B600
Gunnel Cederlöf, Linnaeus University, Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies
A Historian among the Anthropologists: Imperial Competition in the Late 19th Century Burma–China Borderland


The large and interconnected territories between northeast India, Bangladesh, Burma/Myanmar and southwest China have among the world’s most varied natural and socio-political conditions. High-value goods have travelled with caravans across the landscapes for at least a millennium within what is known as the southwestern branch of the Silk Road network. From the 19th century onwards, the region has been plagued by violent upheavals, colonial and imperial conquests, and authoritarian regimes and controls. The political borders are hard and heavily militarised. Yet, people move and migrate across those borders, and with people follow items, wealth, labour, animals, networks, kinship, beliefs, and behaviour.

By studying an unusual event—the first European led expedition from Bhamo in north Burma to Momein in western Yunnan in 1868, at the time of the large Panthay rebellion in Yunnan—we can trace how flows of communication moved in this frontier zone. Documentation kept by the British and Qing imperial administrations provides rich descriptions of the political events and their social and economic consequences with authors representing different parties in conflicts.

The expedition crossed the northern Shan-Dai multi-ethnic polities. Academically speaking, these large hill tracts between Yunnan and Burma have long been anthropology territory with important studies of the Wa, Shan, Dai, Jinghpaw/Kachin, and other ethnic groups. The rich composition of these societies has been researched in detail. Lately, their singular dissimilarity as people of the mountains, apart from the lowlands or valley kingdoms, has even been made theoretical iconography of ethnographic difference. As historian of the dramatic shifts of the 19th century one marvels at the absence of temporal shifts and transformations in these texts other than in grand terms of production systems or colonial conquest, or when a village is invaded by or included into modern society.

By keeping a narrow view on the 1868-expedition and the people and events it encountered, I will discuss how flows passed via the communication routes as they branched out in the hills and connected Burma and Yunnan via the Shan-Dai polities. With this perspective, we may also see how large and global empires collided in their competition for wealth in the web of routes.                                                             


Gunnel Cederlöf is Professor of History at the Linnaeus University, Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies. Her work intersects the fields of colonial, environmental and legal history of modern India. She is the author of Founding an Empire on India’s North-Eastern Frontiers, 1790-1840: Climate, Commerce, Polity (2014), Landscapes and the Law: Environmental Politics, Regional Histories, and Contests over Nature (2008, 2019), Bonds Lost: Subordination, Conflict and Mobilisation in Rural South India c. 1900-1970 (1997, 2020), At Nature’s Edge: The Global Present and Long-Term History (2018 with M. Rangarajan), Subjects, Citizens and Law: Colonial and Independent India (2017 with S. Das Gupta), and Ecological Nationalisms: Nature, Livelihoods, and Identities in South Asia (2006, 2014 with K. Sivaramakrishnan).



Monday February 24, 13.00–14.30, B600
Liza Schuster, Reader in Sociology, School of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of Sociology, City University of London




Monday March 9, 13.00–14.30, B600
Rebecca Bryant, Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Utrecht University.
Catastrophic Futures: Anticipation, Speculation, Hope
This talk explores forms of collective action that prepare us for futures that we hope will never be. While the future by definition can only be expected and so always harbours the possibility of the unexpected, catastrophic futures engage anticipation, expectation, and hope in ways that are unusually speculative. Using long-term research on the human-made disasters of conflict and displacement, the paper outlines a theory of orientations to the future and focuses specifically on anticipation, speculation, and hope. The paper asks how futures come to be collectively anticipated or expected, and how orientations to the future shape collective action.   

Rebecca Bryant is Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Utrecht University. She is an anthropologist of politics and law whose work has focused on ethnic conflict and displacement, border practices, post-conflict reconciliation, and contested sovereignty on both sides of the Cyprus Green Line, as well as in Turkey. Temporality has been a theme throughout all of her research, whether in her writings on the politics of the past and historical reconciliation or, more recently, on the temporal “stuckness” of citizens of unrecognized states.

Bryant's 2010 book, The Past in Pieces: Belonging in the New Cyprus (University of Pennsylvania Press) examined the ways that anxieties regarding the future reshaped the past within the context of Cyprus’ 2003 border opening. Her recent co-authored book (with Daniel Knight), The Anthropology of the Future (Cambridge University Press, 2019), outlines ways in which anthropology may study the futural orientations of everyday life. She is also the co-author (with Mete Hatay) of the forthcoming Sovereignty, Suspended: Political Life in a So-Called State (University of Pennsylania Press, 2020), which examines de facto statebuilding, or the process of constructing an entity that looks like a state and acts like a state but that everyone else in the world says does not or should not exist.



Monday March 23, 13.00–14.30, B600
Anna Hedlund, Researcher Social Anthropology, Lund University
”Stop Shooting” Focused deterrence and crime prevention strategies in Malmö, Sweden 

Gun violence is an increased concern in Sweden. How are political authorities and the police dealing with violence prevention efforts in practice? What violence reduction strategies do they employ and what impacts do such interventions have on people and communities who are targets for such efforts? Building on theories on crime prevention and policing, this presentation will focus on the issue of gun violence in Malmö and the prevention methods employed. In Malmö, the police, social service and law enforcement agencies are currently implementing an American model (Group Violence Intervention) to reduce crime and gang related shootings. What kind of social and cultural challenges does Malmö face in terms of how to implement an effective program that can prevent gun violence? Based on ethnographic fieldwork among policy and decision makers in Malmö, interviews with key-persons who work with violence prevention in practice, as well as, individuals who partake in violence reduction programs, the aim with the project is to investigate the actual consequences of such strategies.

Anna Hedlund is a researcher at the Department of Sociology/Division of Social Anthropology, Lund University. Anna is currently conducting research on gun violence and crime prevention efforts in Malmö, Sweden. The research project is funded by Forte.





Monday 20 April, 13.00–14.30, B600
Sara Johnsdotter, Professor of Medical Anthropology, Malmö University

Misstänkta fall av könsstympning i Sverige: mediabilder och myndigheters handläggning

Presentationen kommer att ta sin utgångspunkt i en pågående analys av polisärenden gällande misstänkt könsstympning: de anmälningar och utredningar som gjorts i Sverige från det att omskärelse av flickor förbjöds 1982 till idag. Två fall av genomförd omskärelse gällande svenska flickor har nått domstol och lett till fängelsedomar. Samtidigt har, fram till och med 2017, minst sextiofyra flickor genomgått genitala undersökningar – inte sällan utan samtycke från vårdnadshavare, då dessa inte ens vetat att förundersökning pågick.

I ett pågående Forteprojekt (med fil dr Lotta Wendel, jurist) analyserar vi myndigheternas handläggning av misstänkta fall: Hur stort intrång i enskildas integritet anser myndighetsföreträdarna vara proportionerligt gentemot intresset av att stävja en oönskad praktik? Hur påverkas de val som görs angående insatser i enskilda fall av myndighetsföreträdarnas uppfattning om problemets omfattning i Sverige?

Det finns en stark diskrepans mellan allmänhetens övertygelse om stora mörkertal – den allmänna mediebilden av könsstympning av flickor – och det empiriska materialet i form av polisutredningar. Mediebilden motsägs också av den internationella forskningen. Denna pekar på att det finns ett utbrett motstånd mot att praktisera omskärelse av flickor bland berörda migranter i Sverige och resten av Europa. Frånvaron av bekräftade olagliga fall i Europa leder till att värdländerna skärper insatserna för att stävja praktiken – vilket i sin tur leder till stigma och diskriminering för de grupper som samhället egentligen avser att värna.


Sara Johnsdotter är professor i medicinsk antropologi vid Malmö universitet. 2002 disputerade hon i socialantropologi på en doktorsavhandling om hur svenska somalier ser på frågan om omskärelse av flickor (Created by God; Lunds universitet, 2002). Hennes forskning har handlat om olika aspekter av genitala modifikationer med speciellt fokus på omskärelse av flickor. Mycket av forskningen har skett i samarbete med professor vid Uppsala universitet Birgitta Essén, som är gynekolog och förlossningsläkare. Johnsdotter har representerat Sverige i fem EU-projekt. Under 2014 ledde hon en kartläggning om rättsfall gällande könsstympning i Europa på uppdrag av Europakommissionen. Rapporten skrevs tillsammans med den spanska juristen Ruth Mestre i Mestre (Female Genital Mutilation in Europe: An Analysis of Court Cases. Brussels: European Commission, The Directorate-General for Justice, 2015).