Höstens seminarieserie arrangeras av Ivana Maček och Paula Uimonen. Listan uppdateras kontinuerligt. För mer information kontakta Ivana Maček eller Paula Uimonen.


September 15, 13.00–14.30, B600
Heidi Moksnes, Senior Lecturer, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University

Living without Rights: Undocumented Migrants and the Boundaries of Citizenship

The Swedish discussion on undocumented migrants generally centres on people who have applied for, and been denied, political asylum. Like many other countries, Sweden is however also recipient of people who, without official permits, come here to work for money, many staying for years. Following undocumented Latin Americans living and working in the Stockholm region, I investigate in this project to what extent and how these migrants are able to constitute themselves as social and political participants in a Swedish society of which they are de-facto members but formally excluded from and highly vulnerable in. I focus on how undocumented migrants address their exclusion from three central dimensions of citizenship: first, the access to certain rights; secondly, membership in a demos, a self-ruling political community; and thirdly, being part of an ethnos, a community fostering a sense of collective identity and communitarian ethos. Ultimately, I address the conflict between the universal right to have rights versus the sovereignty of nation-states to define and protect citizen rights.

So far, I have followed Latin Americans exerting political agency and gaining access to certain rights through union work in the Syndicalist Registret (SACs Västerorts LS). Registret was also the locus for the formation of a certain ethnos, organizing a broad range of activities, which complemented the ethnos provided through Latin American churches and sports clubs. However, last year, Västerorts LS was closed down by SAC, and thus, I am searching new routes for investigation.

Heidi Moksnes holds a PhD in social anthropology from University of Gothenburg, and has been a researcher at Uppsala Centre for Sustainable Development at Uppsala University. Her earlier research focused on the constitution of agency among marginalized indigenous peoples in Mexico. Since July 1, she is lecturer at the Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University.


September 22, 13.00–14.30, B600
Dace Dzenovska, Senior Researcher and Marie Curie Fellow, COMPAS, University of Oxford

Diagnosing intolerance: knowledge practices after socialism

The talk draws on an ethnography of how around the time of accession to the European Union a network of government and non-government actors in Latvia worked to obtain public recognition of the problem of intolerance as a problem of negative attitudes towards racial, ethnic, religious and sexual minorities. They looked to remake intolerant sensibilities into tolerant ones in order to bring Latvians into the European political and moral community. These tolerance workers, as I call them, did so under the auspices of a European Union funded National Programme for the Promotion of Tolerance, which consisted of a series of discussions, campaigns, seminars and similar events.

The talk tackles one the more crucial aspects of tolerance promotion, namely knowledge production. It proceeds from the conviction of tolerance workers that the Latvians’ “biggest problem is the inability to recognize the problem,” and that therefore tolerance work means inciting recognition of the problem of intolerance and demanding public reflection on it. I argue that knowledge production about the problem of intolerance in Latvia is characterized by a diagnostic modality. This diagnostic modality identifies ailments that are known, that is, intolerance, and subsequently devises treatment to arrive at a healthy state of affairs, that is, tolerance. I argue that the emergence of this diagnostic modality is linked to the broader conditions of knowledge production after socialism characterized by the prevailing view that the collapse of socialism meant “the end of history”, that is, the victory of liberal democracy and free-market economy as the most advanced and appropriate modes of organizing collective life. This has produced ignorance about the present and hinders understanding of how the same colonial and racial mode of power animates seemingly opposite political projects, such as Latvian nationalism and European liberalism.

Dace Dzenovska is currently a Marie Curie Fellow at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society, University of Oxford. In October, she will take up the position of Departmental Lecturer at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford. She holds a PhD and an MA in social cultural anthropology from the University of California in Berkeley, as well as an MA in humanities and social thought from New York University. She is interested in developing Eastern European perspective as an epistemological viewpoint for analysing the European political landscape. Her research projects focus on postsocialist democratization, colonial and racial modes of power, nationalism, and migration. She has published a Latvian-language manuscript on outmigration, as well as numerous articles in international journals. She is currently completing a book manuscript entitled “Complicit Becoming: Nation, Tolerance and Europeanization After Socialism.”


September 29, 13.00–14.30, B600
Sandra Wallman, Emeritus Professor, University College London

Mobile Identities: reflections on Temporariness

This paper is an early draft of my part in EU research on “Mobile Identities” – viz. on temporary non-EU migrants legally working in EU countries. Our brief is to compare temporary migration policies, their implementation and outcome over five countries in the Union: Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain and UK. Three of us at UCL are responsible for the UK piece.

At issue is the well-being of the temporary migrants and the positive and negative effects of their temporary migrations on sending and receiving countries. My particular aim is to understand the effects of temporariness as such on the actions and identities of individual migrants.

We don’t yet have completed interview data. So far I depend on anthropological analyses made for other purposes - among them Bawa Yamba’s pilgrim study and my own work on identity and the future; and some literary/philosophical sources – notably Arthur Miller’s autobiography Timebends

Sandra Wallman is Emeritus Professor at University College London and received her PhD in social anthropology at London School of Economics in 1965. She is a leading, very productive social anthropologist in urban ethnicity studies, and has also engaged in extensive research on rural development. Among her important books is also Contemporary Futures (ed., 1992), a pioneer work on anthropological future perspectives. Wallman has been based at London School of Economics, University of Toronto, University of Hull, University College London and at the Ethnic Relations Research Unit of the Social Science Research Council, UK. Her field studies have been in Southern and Eastern Africa (for one period focusing on AIDS issues), Britain (primarily London) and the Italian Alps. These studies have also included development of new field methodology.

Sandra Wallman is among Stockholm University’s honorary doctorates 2014.


October 6, 13.00–14.30, B600
Hans Tunestad, PhD, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University

The Construction of Evidence-Based Psychotherapy: An Anthropological Inquiry into Health Care Infrastructure

In recent decades, health care has been transformed by a movement towards so called evidence-based medicine. Foundational in this movement is the development of regional, national and transnational organizations for health technology assessment. A primary motivation for this movement is found in the perceived need to accomplish a more efficient health care apparatus. Yet through the methods employed by assessment organizations – making use of large quantities of data available through the new information and communication technologies – the concept of evidence is given a specific meaning, which also affects the way healing is thought about and accomplished.

This study aims to investigate the construction of evidence-based psychotherapy in Sweden. Fieldwork will be conducted in various organizations involved in constructing and upholding national guidelines for psychotherapeutic treatments, with the specific focus on how such ideals and practices transforms psychotherapy. The study thereby raises questions about how illness and health are conceptualized, how expertise is constructed and organized, and more generally about the constitution of health care infrastructure in a knowledge-based economy.

Hans Tunestad is currently lecturer at the Department of Social Anthropology at Stockholm University, from where he also received his PhD in May 2014. He is interested in the intertwinement of therapy and economy in contemporary welfare society.


October 14, 13.00–14.30, B600 NB Tuesday!
Matthew Hull, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Michigan

Incorporations: Capitalism and the Translation of Social Forms

Incorporation, a process by which a group of individuals is constituted as a legal entity, should be placed alongside commoditization as a major mechanism through which human activities are drawn into capitalist processes. In contrast to commoditization, which draws labor, land, and things into capitalist transactions, incorporation brings the guidance of collective life into a capitalist order. Through incorporation, groups become recognizable to economic and political actors. This paper will explore incorporation through an examination of the great variety of kinds of sociality that have translated themselves into the form of the Anglo-American corporation, including an Indian village, US churches, parts of the Pakistan army, Maori/Native American/Canadian tribes, New Guinea descent groups. Of particular interest is how both the pre-existing sociality and the emergent corporation are shaped by their relations.

Matthew Hull is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on the nexus of representation, technology, and institutions.  His book, Government of Paper: The Materiality of Bureaucracy in Urban Pakistan (University of California Press, May 2012), examines governance as a semiotic and material practice through an account of the role of writing and written artifacts in the operations of city government in Islamabad. He has also worked on the deployment of American technologies of democracy in urban India from the late 1950s and early 1960s. He is currently working on the history and theory of the modern corporation and lotteries in India.


October 20, 13.00–14.30, B600
Paolo Favero, Associate Professor, Department of Communication Studies, University of Antwerp

What’s in an image: reflections on the meaning of images in the age of digital media practices

Changing the way in which we produce, store and share images digital technologies have modified our ways of relating to and addressing the field of vision. The importance of these changes resides not only in the increased speed and size of production and distribution of images around the world (much work has been conducted on this aspect) but rather on the practices that are emerging in parallel to this. Side by side with the spread of new technologies, the last decades have witnessed to the growth of new image-making practices in a variety of different fields, from the world of (visual) art to that of documentary film, from commerce to news. In all these contexts we are witnessing a shift. Images no longer simply index or represent reality but they literally remand us to its materiality and socialness. Centering mainly around the world of contemporary art and documentary film ((with a particular focus on India) the present paper will explore the extent to which such practices require further attention to questions of context, social relations, politics and materiality. This hence further stressing the importance of pushing the dialogue between anthropology, visual and digital culture.

Paolo Favero is Associate Professor in Film Studies and Visual Culture at the Department of Communication Studies, University of Antwerp. He has devoted the core of his career to the study of visual culture in India and Italy and presently conducts research on image-making practices in contemporary India.

The seminar takes place in collaboration with the Media cluster.


November 3, 13.00–14.30, B600
Dan Rosengren, Associate Professor in Anthropology, School of Global Studies, Gothenburg University

Social Stratification, Modernity, and Knowledge. On Understandings of Climate Change among Matsigenka and Colono People in the Peruvian Amazon

Departing from a query about different notions of knowledge I explore in this paper different manners of understanding such atmospheric phenomena that in English are categorised as ‘weather’ and that are associated with distinct modes of engaging the environment. It is observed that while modernist epistemologies rely on abstractions and universal generalisations which disembeds it from people’s lived realities, ‘relational epistemologies’ (or ‘indigenous knowledge’) commonly are entrenched in particularities of local life and knowledge is in consequence no independent system of facts but a negotiated relation with the environment. It is argued that these differences are ontological and not epistemological which means that modern and other-than-modern people live in “different” worlds rather than entertain different views of the world. The particular case discussed deals with the relationship between indigenous Matsigenka of the Peruvian Amazon and immigrants from the Andean highlands. The latter identify primarily as ‘Peruvians’ which signifies that they consider themselves as ‘modern’ which, among other things, means that they confide in the superior knowledge of science. This self-image is contrasted to Matsigenka people whose animistic perspective on the world is seen to reflect their naïve irrationality and as being proof of their backwardness. This attitude serves in the eyes of colonos as a legitimisation  of their position of dominance that are seen as reflecting ‘modern’ or ‘non-modern’ perspectives and that are employed to as a ‘civilising’ attempt to make Matsigenka people conform to ‘appropriate social norms’ in order to become proper citizens.

Dan Rosengren is associate professor in anthropology at School of Global Studies, Gothenburg University. He has been working with Matsigenka people since the 1970s and dealt with issues such as leadership, cosmology, ethnicity, and identity. At the moment he is working on Matsigenka perceptions of “weather” and “climate change.” Recent publications include The Fashion of Politics and the Politics of Fashion – On Indigenous Modernities and Matsigenka Struggles. In E. Harbsmeier & E. Mader (eds.) (forthcoming); Seriously Laughing: on paradoxes of absurdity among Matsigenka people, Ethnos, 75(1): 102-121, 2010; Transdimensional relations: on human-spirit interaction in the Amazon, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 12(4): 803-816, 2006.


November 10, 13.00–14.30, B600
Maja Povrzanović Frykman, Professor of Ethnology, Global Political Studies, Malmö University

Exploring Narrative Accounts of Humanitarian Aid in Sarajevo under Siege

Countless titles on the war and the post-war aid to Bosnia and Hercegovina promote the perspective of the so called ‘donor side’. Motivated by problems with transparency and accountability, most reports analyse coordination mechanisms, implementation capacity, and use of political conditionality in the allocation of aid. This presentation zooms into the ‘recipient side’ in order to explore the staying effects of ‘aid flows’ as perceived by the very recipients of aid, on the micro-level of individual experience in a particular local context and concerning the war years (not the post-war development aid). It is based on pilot interviews conducted between November 2013 and April 2014 with nine women and six men of different generations and different educational backgrounds, who lived in Sarajevo in the course of the 1990s war. The interviews were truly explorative; the question on what they remembered about receiving humanitarian aid enabled the interviewees to take up any issue they found relevant.

With the materiality of aid in focus, two analytical takes on the same narratives will be presented. They concern (i) emic perspectives on humanitarian aid, that indicate the local perceptions of the shifting hierarchies within the intersected socio-cultural, moral and spatial frameworks, and (ii) the affects that can be traced both in what the interviewees talked about (namely their humanitarian aid-related experiences), and in how they did it (since affects were revived in the act of remembering twenty years later). Understanding the affective unity of what and how, of then and now, is important for further research pertaining to the post-war aid and its role in forging subjectivities and collectivities in present-day Bosnia and Hercegovina. It could also serve as a starting point of a larger collaborative project that would compare emic perspectives on humanitarian aid in different socio-cultural contexts and contribute to an understanding of their political implications.

Maja Povrzanović Frykman is Professor of Ethnology at the Department of Global Political Studies, Malmö University and senior lecturer in Peace and Conflict Studies programme. Her publications relevant to this seminar include the book chapters "Staying Behind: Civilians in the Post-Yugoslav Wars 1991-95" in N. Atkin, ed., Daily Lives of Civilians in Wartime Twentieth-Century Europe (Greenwood Press, 2008) and "An Anthropology of War and Recovery: Lived Experiences" in U. Kockel et al., A Companion to the Anthropology of Europe (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012). Extensive information can be found at http://forskning.mah.se/id/immafr.


November 17, 13.00–14.30, B600
Ivana Maček, Associate Professor, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University

Communicating the Unthinkable - A Psychodynamic Perspective

As several anthropologists of mass political violence have put it, the experience of extreme adversity shatters the ontological and epistemological grounds, not only for individuals, but also for the whole societies. The world as it was known ceases to exist. In psychological sense, the experiences of extreme adversity can be overwhelming for the psyche and cause trauma. This means that the psyche cannot grasp the inner affective and bodily states, it cannot contain them, and the experiences cannot be symbolized and communicated. But, not all adverse experiences are traumatic, and there is also an individual difference.

This presentation explores the question whether it is possible to understand and communicate adverse experiences of mass political violence, or are they “unthinkable”? It looks at the blurred field between psychological trauma and experiences of atrocities that are shattering but can still be psychologically contained, symbolized and communicated. Drawing on the psychological understanding of trauma and trauma theory, it shows how we in academic work on mass political violence, can communicate both the “unthinkable” and the “thinkable”. Two central concepts are used: “isolation” and “containment”. The presentation is based on examples from two decades of research and teaching on mass political violence, from fieldwork during the siege of Sarajevo, to teaching of comparative genocide studies.

Ivana Maček is associate professor of Anthropology at the Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University, a licensed psychotherapist, and was until 2014 senior lecturer of Genocide Studies and director of the MA Programme in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Uppsala University. Her major publication is Sarajevo Under Siege: Anthropology in Wartime (PENN 2009). Her writing addresses also Swedes’ engagements in global war-zones, intergenerational transmission of experiences of war among Bosnians in Sweden, and anthropological methods. Her latest edited volume, Engaging Violence: Trauma, Memory, and Representation (Routledge 2014), is about the ramifications and possibilities of research and teaching of mass political violence.


November 24, 13.00–14.30, B600
Asta Vonderau, Postdoctoral researcher, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University

Imagining the Swedish Cloud: Infrastructures, Technological Visions, and Negotiation of Visibility

In the metaphoric imagery commonly used to describe the Internet, the world wide web has been pictured as being immaterial and fluid, like an ocean to be navigated. The complex infrastructures end heavy industry securing the functionality of web services‚ backstage’ are seldomly part of popular imagination and remain, as technical infrastructures generally, part of an invisible deeper ecology.

My presentation is based on empirical research conducted in Luleå where Facebook opened its first and largest European data center in 2013, providing server cooling and storage facilities for user data from Europe, Africa, and the Near East. Spreading rapidly across the globe, data centers are understood to become "factories of the 21st century", signalling the advent of a new industrial era that comes with social and environmental changes. And indeed, it is mostly thanks to Facebook that Luleå has lately been globally in the news as a center of IT competence and data storage introducing the brand name, "The Node Pole". Ever since, the Facebook project has become key to this city's self-image and a generator of collective and individual future visions.

My presentation aims to analyze these technological visions related to the current infrastructural transformation in the city of Luleå, a place where the materiality and immateriality of the Internet meet.

Asta Vonderau is a researcher (postdoc) at the Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University. Her current three years research project Farming Data, Forming the Cloud: The Environmental Impact and Cultural Production of Information Technology investigates the Internet’s materiality, addressing the risk of an energy crisis of information.


December 1, 13.00–14.30, B600
Andrew Mitchell, PhD student, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University


As scholars attempt to surf the raging waves presently whipped up by the ontological storm occurring in the social sciences, it is more important than ever to ground one’s research in the practices that as anthropologists form the basis of our enquiries. Yet anthropology has traditionally considered many of the themes that are now taking centre stage in such posthuman endeavours, especially in the field of human-animal relations. In reference to ethnographic material from his current project, Becoming-wolf, Andrew, in this presentation, shall draw together anthropological theory from the past and present, together with aspects of feminist science and technology studies, in an attempt to address two basic research questions, what is a wolf and how does it become one? The key to answering such questions lie in comprehending practices such as tracking, hunting, global positioning systems (GPS), genetic analysis, working with tracking dogs, as well as observing the remains of wolf kills, as significantly these practices facilitate the comprehension of wolf effects and indices, and it is via such practices that Scandinavian wolves, as we humans know them, come into being.

Possessing a Master’s in Palaeoanthropology and Palaeolithic Archaeology as well as Social Anthropology, Andrew’s academic interests are trans-disciplinary in nature, exploring phenomena within the boundaries of the social and natural sciences. His doctoral project, Becoming-wolf, aims continue this trend, exploring the practices that are entangled together with the Scandinavian wolf.


December 8, 13.00–14.30, B600
Gabriella Körling, PhD, Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology, Uppsala University

Waiting for the railway: Infrastructure, mobility and trade at a West African crossroads

In 2014, the construction of Niger´s first railway was announced. The railway would provide the landlocked country with a direct connection to the coast and to the maritime port of Cotonou (in Benin).This study takes the railway line as an entry point for exploring political and historical processes in relation to infrastructure and mobility in a small town situated alongside the future railway tracks. The study has two interconnected main entry points. Firstly, the analysis of the history and politics of the railway project including an exploration of official narratives and public representations. Secondly, the will analyze the significance of mobile practices (and various forms of connections) for livelihoods. The project will thus study both the extent to which the railway will actually affect and change patterns of mobility and trade on a practical everyday level as well as the symbolic impact of the railway project on imaginaries of anticipated connections to other places as well as flows of goods and economic capital.

By scrutinizing the construction and imaginations of the railway, the study takes its theoretical inspiration from an emerging anthropological literature on infrastructure (Larkin 2013) in which infrastructures (roads, water and electricity provision, communication networks etc.) are analyzed in relation to cultural meanings and social practices. The study also engages with literature that sees connectivity and mobility as key to understanding contemporary Africa including small towns. Infrastructure such as railways facilitates the circulation of goods and people and connects often distant places. However (less visible) connections are also formed through everyday practices of mobility. The project sets out to explore these different forms of connections that are created through large scale infrastructure such as the railway and through the historical and contemporary movements of people.

Gabriella Körling holds a PhD in cultural anthropology from Uppsala University. Her research interests concern the state, urban anthropology, politics and decentralization in Niger, and more recently in Mali. Her Ph.D. dissertation is entitled In Search of the State: An Ethnography of Public Service Provision in Urban Niger (2011). She is currently a researcher in the Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology, Uppsala University.