Höstens seminarieserie arrangeras av Heidi Moksnes och Asta Vonderau. Listan uppdateras kontinuerligt.


September 7, 13.00–14.30, B600
Mikael Holmqvist, Professor, Stockholm Business School, Stockholm University

Book presentation: Djursholm: Sveriges ledarsamhälle

Djursholm har alltsedan dess grundande år 1889 varit hem för ledare inom konst, akademi, förvaltning och framför allt näringsliv. Mikael Holmqvist presenterar en inträngande analys av detta samhälles värderingar, normer och ideal, och hur de påverkar de människor som bor och lever där. Författaren visar att Djursholm formar människor som ledare och beskriver särskilt hur detta påverkar dem som växer upp i detta samhälle.

NB Presentation will be in English.


September 14, 13.00–14.30, B600
Cirus Rinaldi, PhD, Senior Lecturer of Sociology of Law, Deviance and Social Change, University of Palermo

The sociologist as cruiser: masculinities, self and sexuality in male sex work arenas

The seminar will be based on an ongoing research which explores the ways male sex workers negotiate and redefine their gender and their sexual roles when involved in «non-normative» sexual acts with other men. The research uses a multi-method approach based mainly on a) field notes collected in ethnographic observation of cruising areas, semi-public and public locales in which sexual transactions take place in two southern Mediterranean Italian cities (Naples and Palermo), and b) in depth interviews with sex workers and clients, whose analysis is been combined according to the principles of Grounded theory. Attention is also paid to the application of sociological theories on sexualities (such as Gagnon and Simon’s sexual scripting theory and Green’s sexual field framework). The difficult process of data collecting and of the access to the field of sex working urge the author to position his identity into the field as white gay scholar and to pay attentions to the interplay and intersection of multidimensional identity strategies and structuring forces which revealed not only the pressures from hegemonic masculinity model exiting in the larger society but also, especially within the interlocking of sexual orientation and ethnic features, the stigmatization sex workers suffered from their (immigrants’) ethnic group and within homosexual community. The analysis of data revealed how sexual identities within sex working are as volatile as stigmatized according to the different characteristics of social actors and implies a queer epistemological and methodological investigation which higly re-negotiate (sexual) identity of researchers during the process of data collection and the necessity of redefining the subjects of the research as co-researcher.

Cirus Rinaldi has been awarded a PhD in Sociology at Palermo University. He's currently Aggregate Professor of Sociology of Law, Deviance and Social change, Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Palermo (Italy). His research's topics and intervention areas mainly focus on masculinity and violence, juvenile justice system and prison youth masculinities, prostitution and urban areas, deviance and crime theories, LGBT studies and Queer Theory. He has also supervised national and international research and intervention projects on conflict resolution, anti-gay violence and social inclusion. Among his latest publications: Rinaldi C. with C. Cappotto (2007). Coming out in Italy. (Oxon: Routledge. In: Seidman S., Fischer N., Meeks C. Introducing the new sexuality studies. p. 72-78, Routledge; Rinaldi C. with C. Cappotto (2014). Normalizing violence. Homophobia as masculinity’s test. In: Hermes. p. 31-53, Napoli: Liguori; Rinaldi; C: (2014) some entries (Homophobia; Homosexuality; Intersxuality; Male prostitution; Normalization; Transsexuals; Public sex) in Forsyth C; Copes H. (eds.), Encyclopedia of Social Deviance. vol. 1/2, p. 339-342, Los Angeles: Sage.


September 21, 13.00–14.30, B600
Alexa Färber, Professor of Urban Anthropology and Ethnography, HafenCity University Hamburg

Low-budget urbanity: ethnographic research across contemporary urban studies concepts

In recent years the effects of neo-liberal policies on cities in the global north have been studied as austerity urbanism. From the perspective of urban anthropology these studies tend to de-contextualise these policies from everyday saving practices that are (co-)producing urban space in multiple ways. The research perspective "low-budget urbanity" therefor tries to grasp the multiplicity of these practices and their making of cities. Presenting ethnographic findings of one explorative case study on ride-sharing in inter-city trains I will analyse the specific materiality of low-budget urbanities and discuss concepts from the realm of post-ANT that might illuminate these findings.


September 28, 13.00–14.30, B600 
Karin Becker, Professor emerita, Department of Media Studies, Stockholm University

Being There from Afar: Local and global events as mediated through screen practices in public space

The research project Changing Places investigated how local and transnational events are mediated through public space, focusing on the screen practices that come into play as large format and handheld screens are used in arenas of public life.  Taking its point of departure in events that captured the attention of publics in different parts of the world, we explored how these events are recorded and remediated through social and cultural practices that involve screen technologies.

The public viewing areas (PVAs) established for pre-planned mega events provided a central focus of the three-year project. Examples include studies of participants who gathered in ’fan parks’ during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, in the PVAs established for royal weddings in London and in Stockholm, and for the 2012 London Summer Olympics. The collaborative methodology involved integrating 1) photographic documentation of the sites and the participants, 2) brief interviews with participants, and 3) on-line observation during each event of news- and other relevant websites.

The research provided significant insights into the changing meanings of place and locality: We found the centrality and significance of the original site was displaced by the distant screen, where people gathered for a collective experience and participation in the event.  An additional consequence of this form of public viewing is the emergecne of the PVA itself as a news site, where media gather to report on the event and its publics. In these mediatised public spaces, complex reflexive relationships arise between media content (as televised on the large screen) and the public and media professionals gathered there, as they engage with these events, both on- and off-screen.

This is a joint seminar together with the Media cluster.


October 5, 13.00–14.30, B600 
Ryan Skinner, Assistant Professor, Department of African American and African Studies, The Ohio State University

The Afropolitan Ethics of Malian Music (Or, The Partial Truths of a Musical Anthropology)

What is “Malian music?” In this lecture, ethnomusicologist Ryan Skinner will present a set of provisional answers from his experiences as an observer of Mali and student of its music over the past two decades. These answers are neither exhaustive nor mutually exclusive, but they do give a sense of the crucial complexity that Malian artists playfully, critically, and artfully negotiate when they make (and we hear) their music—what Skinner calls in his new book, Bamako Sounds, “the Afropolitan ethics of Malian music.”

Ryan Skinner is Assistant Professor of ethnomusicology in the School of Music and Department of African American and African Studies at The Ohio State University. He is currently a visiting researcher in the Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology at Uppsala University. Dr. Skinner’s research focuses on popular culture, ethics and aesthetics, cultural politics and economy, public piety, world music, and multicultural social movements in Africa and its diasporas. He is the author of Bamako Sounds: The Afropolitan Ethics of Malian Music (University of Minnesota Press, 2015), and a children's book, Sidikiba’s Kora Lesson (Beaver's Pond Press, 2008). He is also an accomplished kora (21-stringed West African harp) player.


October 12, 13.00–14.30, B600
Charlotta Widmark, Senior Lecturer, Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology, Uppsala University

Tourism, gentrification and social transformations. Urban anthropology in an interdisciplinary perspective

In this presentation I will focus on topics that emerged when carrying out shorter field work periods in London, Istanbul and Rome through the interdisciplinary research collaboration "The Good City - Urbanism and social change" at Uppsala University. Our explorations of the cities were guided by three themes: methods to explore the city, space/place, materiality and urban heritage. The name ‘The Good City’ was chosen because of its ambiguous meaning. Conceptions vary and change, and if a city is considered to be good, then the opposite is probably also true, depending on the perspective or historical epoch of the observer. The node focuses on problems, challenges and opportunities of “the good city” in time and space. In my presentation I will talk about tourism, gentrification and social transformations and how to find out about these processes.


October 19, 13.00–14.30, B600
Rickard Jonsson, PhD, Associate professor, Department of Child and Youth Studies, Stockholm University

They erased our prejudices! Failing students as the ethnic Others in anti-racist stories

The category of the “immigrant male student”, which is often used in the educational settings from where the following paper collects its data, is indeed an elusive one – especially so when it is employed as a label of students who have no experience of migration at all. The frequent use of the category in everyday school life is even more confusing, considering that Swedish publicity could be described as characterized by a hegemonic anti-racist discourse, including an often reproduced master narrative of a country which – except from a few right wing extremists – is considered to be a nation without racism. Drawing on ethnographic data from two fieldworks in two secondary schools in Stockholm, I shall take a closer look at small stories (Bamberg, 2006; Georgakopoulou, 2007)  about disciplinary problems and failing students. The paper examines how an unruly classroom behavior seems to evoke the young immigrant student category, and furthermore, how students and teachers rhetorically manage the dilemma to tell stories about that category without sounding racist, disparaging or in any other ways excluding. Put differently, the paper is an investigation of anti-racist ways of talking about failing students as the ethnic or racial Others.


  • Bamberg, Michael, “Stories: Big or small? Why do we care?” Narrative Inquiry 16 (1), 2006, s. 139–147.
  • Bucholtz, Mary, White kids. Language, race and styles of youth identity. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2011.
  • Georgakopoulou, Alexandra, Small stories, interaction and identities, Amsterdam, John Benjamins, 2007.
  • Wetherell, Margaret & Potter, Jonathan, Mapping the language of racism: discourse and the legitimation of exploitation. New York, Columbia University Press, 1992.


October 26, 13.00–14.30, B600
Renita Thedvall, Associate Professor, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University

Writing Action. How to Fit Alterations into Action Plan Documents

The idea of finding the one best rational, management model has been of central concern for policy makers since the days of Taylor’s Principles for Scientific Management. Since then there have been numerous attempts to control and manage people, knowledge and practices in organizations such as the management model focused in this paper: Lean (Womack et al 1990). Lean traces its origins from the automotive industry but has lately spread like wildfire in the public sector, in the case for this paper, public preschools in Sweden. As other management models categorized as New Public Management, the model is based on continuous improvements, performance management, standardization of processes and visual management with the aim of efficiency and quality (Rose 1996). Many of the Lean improvement processes take place in so-called Improvement groups. One important tool in the Improvement groups is the “action plans” defined by the Lean model. The action plans are structured around a “goal”, “how to reach it”, “what happens after”, “how and when they should control the result” and “who is responsible”. The graphic organization (Hull 2012) of the action plans puts evaluation at focus. There has to be measurable goals so that results can be controlled and responsible actors can be held accountable. The action plans guide what kind of action can be taken with the help of the Lean model. The paper shows how the preschool teachers struggle to fit their alterations of work practices into the action plan document.


November 2, 13.00–14.30, B600
Daniel Escobar López
, PhD student, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University

The infrastructures of gender: on gendered local politics and land in an Andean Peruvian community

The PhD project about gender, land and infrastructures explores how economic change and development projects dealing with tourism and infrastructures in a rural Quechuan-speaking Andean village affect power hierarchies and gender relations. I follow the case of the emergence of a landscape tourist attraction and the consequent formation of a female handicraft association. I look at how its members negotiate ways and means to enter the local political arena in order to defend their right to control the land on which they sell their handicrafts. I also follow the case of how the project to construct an international airport in the area is affecting meanings of land ownership, territory and space and time perceptions in the whole district in general and the village and handicraft association in particular. More generally, the project situates gender and rural/urban relations within current discourses on tourism, development and modernity in Peru. The ethnographic material was collected during long-term fieldwork in Chinchero, Peru, and consists mainly of participant observation, interviews and to a lesser degree visual material.


November 5, 10.00–11.30, B600 NB Thursday
Inge Daniels, Associate Professor in Social Anthropology and Fellow at St Cross College, University of Oxford

Beyond the Frame: An Ethnography of the Amateur Photographic Practices in Contemporary Japan

Based on an ongoing ethnography of amateur photographic practices in Japan, this project aims to question ubiquitous accounts about the negative impact of the Market on social life in capitalist societies. Japan offers an example of a contemporary, industrialized society where a range of businesses, by adhering to a busy ritual calendar, play a crucial role in both facilitating and steering people’s participation in group-affirming activities. Amateur photography is particularly suited to study this topic as the production, circulation, and consumption of quotidian photographs is inseparable from the commercial and ritual rhythms of everyday life. Photographs are ambiguous objects that cultivate togetherness while allowing for distinctive ways of seeing and (re) positioning oneself in relation to others within and beyond the family. My research will pay particular attention to how ongoing product innovations as well as new technological developments, such as mobile phones with camera functions, and the widespread use of the Internet have enabled particular actors to both challenge and reinvent social practices in accordance with their changing needs and expectations.

This is a joint seminar together with the Media cluster.


November 5, 13.00–15.00, B600 NB Thursday
Tim Cresswell, Professor, Northeastern University, Boston


This ‘paper’ will be a reading of a poem sequence called “Fence". The sequence reflects on a fence on the islands of Svalbard in the high Arctic. The fence is said to be the northernmost fence in the world. The poem explores a variety of connections in space and time made by this fence to, among other things, whaling, colonialism, and tourism. It is an exploration of the dialectical tension between a fence (symbolizing disconnection) and all the mobilities that make the fence intelligible. The hope is that a geo-poetic presentation of these connections presents some familiar (and not so familiar) geographic themes in a format that leaves space for connections to be made by the reader/listener in ways that are not usually apparent in formal academic writing. It is an example of ‘creative geographies’.


November 9, 13.00–14.30, B600
Filippo Osella, Professor of Anthropology and South Asian Studies, School of Global Studies, University of Sussex

From beggar to deserving poor: the politics of Muslim charity in Colombo, Sri Lanka

In this paper I discuss the politics of charity in Colombo, Sri Lanka, focusing in particular on Muslim practices of giving and receiving zakat and sadaqa. Recent anthropological studies of charity and philanthropy have focused almost exclusively on the practices and perspectives of those who give time, money or goods through modalities of organized giving, which take the shape of a pedagogy directed towards transforming the lives of givers and recipients alike. I will suggest instead that pedagogical interventions directed towards the habituation of givers and recipients of charity to ethics and aesthetics of piety, social responsibility and economic virtuosity are necessarily incomplete, fragmented and contradictory. In particular, I seek to unsettle normative accounts by drawing out the complexity and heterogeneity of orientations and practices, underscoring the all too obvious anthropological insight that acts of charity can be understood very differently depending upon the position of those who participate in the exchange. This, in turn, suggests a degree of caution in attributing hegemonic or near-hegemonic status to processes of subjectivation or habituation engendered by so-called neoliberalism and Islamic reformism alike.


November 16, 13.00–14.30, B600
Jennifer Mack, Post-Doc, Institute for Housing and Urban Research, Uppsala University

Form follows Faith: Architects, Expertise, and Swedish Mosques

In 2007, the city of Stockholm initiated the so-called Järva Lift in its northern suburbs. Loosely, the project seeks to improve the negative reputation of neighborhoods there, constructed during the state-sponsored Million Program (1965-1974). These areas convey a mid-century modernist’s notion of utopian living, with easy subway access, rectilinear streetscapes, scientifically designed housing, and town centers where the Swedish Church occupied one “service” space among many. In contrast, the Järva Lift specifically encourages the creation of new religious spaces, with three mosques now planned for the area.

In conversation with architects and planners, I explore how these mosque projects are traveling across domains of expertise: both via the design ideas brought by clients from abroad and through the planning regimes of the Swedish capital. Group members for two of the mosques come mainly from Somalia, and architects from countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have been involved. Even so, it is well-known or up-and-coming Swedish architects with no mosque experience who have been hired to complete the projects. Has bureaucratic expertise (especially an ability to navigate sometimes-opaque planning constraints and codes) trumped the design knowledge that a more seasoned mosque architect might bring?


November 30, 13.00–14.30, B600
Final discussion (Slutseminarium)
Arvid Lundberg, PhD student, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University

al-Harakat and the Political Culture of Jordan's Arab Spring

The thesis describes the disunity within al-harakat, the protest movements that emerged in Jordan in 2011, and it uses ethnographic material and interviews from some of the key actors and events in the history of these movements: e.g., from the protest movement in Dhiban, which many Jordanian political activists regard as the beginning of ”Jordan's Arab Spring”; from the protest movement in Haie al-Tafileh, one of the strongest protest movements in Amman in 2011; from the Higher Committee for Military Veterans, an organization led by retired military officers, who stood for the first – among the military – organized expression of discontent against the regime in the country's recent history; and from attempts to coordinate the protest movements' demands and strategies through the umbrella organization Youth of 24 March.

In all these meetings, conferences, and activities, there was a group of political activists who claimed to understand why the protest movements fragmented and tried countering this by coordinating the protest movements, institutionalizing them and getting them to work together to develop concrete alternatives to Jordan's current constitution, election and political party law, and to create an institution that oversees that the security services do not intervene in the parliamentary elections, and so on. Several of these activists had been members of a Jordanian political party, but were now politically independent because of what they perceived as an authoritarian political culture and certain ideological dead ends within these parties. These activists were driven by a, in a Jordanian context, relatively new understanding of political activism, which has similarities with the reformulation of the Socialist Workers' Party of Germany that began in the late 19th century and the reformulation of the opposition movements in Eastern Europe where especially Solidarity was pioneers. The thesis is a study of a Jordanian reformulated activism in 2011, which never became dominant among the protest movements, and it is in this respect a counterfactual study of Jordan's Arab Spring.

Examiner: Leif Stenberg, Professor, Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University.


December 7, 13.00–14.30, B600
Árni Sverrisson, Professor, Department of Sociology, Stockholm University

From glass plates to documentary: Visual remediation of Sami lives

I will show part of a TV-documentary, A life worth living, which was made by a team including Ingrid Jonsson-Wallin, Lecturer in Film-editing (who was the project leader) and H. Totte Mattson, Professor of Music and me. The documentary narrates events from the lives of three Sami families at the beginning of the twentieth century, all of whom were engaged in small business ventures of various kinds. It is based on photographic archives, sound recordings, texts and short film cuts.

I will then discuss the making of the documentary, i.e. the construction of a shared but heterogenous object according to a range of conventions, both interpretative and others. This includes tracing image archives, getting access to them, collecting images, analyzing them and the making of a first rough. I will draw on well-known sociological theories of photographic image making and interpretation, such as Becker and Bourdieu, and discuss how the translation of archive material to documentary can be analyzed with the tools of mainstream sociology. I will also discuss the choice between constructing stories vs constructing explanations and other themes that guided the research and editing work, such as families and collectives, sequences and narratives, soundscapes and artifacts. In this I will also draw on authors with a more specialized interest, such as Chion, Latour, Edwards and Harper.

This is intended to lead to a conversation with the audience about vernacular photography (and the visual vernacular more generally) as a source of knowledge about society and about the visual practices of that society. Another interesting topic is the issues that arise when these knowledges are presented as a documentary, or as short film, or animations, or in other forms of moving image practices that are being re-invented during the general diffusion driven by digital technology. At a more general level, when images replace talk and text as the means of social interaction among ordinary people in ordinary situations, the relation between theory and empirical material in standard approaches may need some serious rethinking and I hope we have time to talk about that too.

This is a joint seminar together with the Media cluster.


December 14, 10.00–12.00, B600
Final discussion (Slutseminarium)
Hannah Pollack Sarnecki, PhD student, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University

Favela Funk: Ways of Being Young in the Margins of a City Becoming Global

During the last decade, funk music produced in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro has been travelling the world as a genre of contemporary cool. Construed as both hip and authentic, and consumed globally, it has become a political and commercial asset in the nation’s rise to economic dominance and in Rio’s campaign to become a global city. But in Brazil, favela funk is rather drawing the boundaries between the shanty towns of the urban margins where it remains a social practice, and the state by which it is condemned and sometimes prohibited for lyrics that play with violence and the obscene in an alleged glorification of gang power. This dissertation is an ethnographic inquiry into the politics, economy and history of funk music in one of the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. It tells the story of how a drug dealing gang challenges the sovereignty of the state in its turf by means of both arms and the control and distribution of pleasure and fun. Funk, in this account, emerges as an immensely popular social practice and thus a technology of drug dealing power. By treating violence and the obscene as both unifying and fragmenting in the social dynamics of this place, the dissertation unravels the paths that favela youth trudge in contexts of severe poverty, vulnerability and lack of access to state institutions and formal employment.

Examiner: Steffen Jensen, Senior Researcher, DIGNITY - Danish Institute Against Torture


December 14, 13.00–14.30, B600
Lisa Björkman, Assistant Professor of Urban and Public Affairs, University of Louisville

Pipe Politics: Mumbai's Contested Infrastructures

In the Indian city of Mumbai, two dazzling decades of urban development and roaring economic growth have presided over the steady deterioration – and sometimes spectacular breakdown – of the city’s water infrastructures. Water troubles plague not only the more-than 60% of city residents now reported to live in ‘slums,’ but city elites as well have seen their taps grow increasingly erratic and prone to drying up. The everyday risks of water shortage that infuse the city’s water infrastructures– risks that flow across class lines – are managed and mitigated through the forging and maintenance of elaborate knowledge-exchange networks. Getting water to come out of Mumbai’s pipes is an activity that requires continuous attention to and intimate knowledge of a complex and dynamic social and political hydraulic landscape. Ethnographic attention reveals how water is made to flow by means of intimate forms of knowledge and ongoing intervention in the city’s complex and dynamic social, political, and hydraulic landscape. The everyday work of getting water animates and inhabits a penumbra of infrastructural activity – of business, brokerage, secondary markets and socio-political networks – whose workings are transforming lives as well as reconfiguring and rescaling political authority in the city. Mumbai’s illegible and volatile hydrologies are lending infrastructures increasing political salience just as actual control over pipes and flows becomes contingent upon dispersed and intimate assemblages of knowledge, power, and material authority.