The International Herald Tribune writes about how European low-cost airlines "are drawing a new map of how people and money travel in Europe". An example:
Andrzej Majewski, a Pole who works as a thoracic surgeon in Britain, catches a ride to the airport in Wroclaw on Sundays and hops a Ryanair flight to his hospital in Nottingham, England. Most Fridays he commutes home to southwest Poland. The flights cost him about $50 each way. "It takes about three hours, and I'm eating lunch at my house," Majewski said.
"The low-cost airlines really facilitate a type of hypermobility for the public at large to do anything from leisure to business, to new careers", Steven Vertovec, a professor of transnational anthropology at Oxford University comments.
But not everyone is happy with Europeans' mobility. People in countries served by budget airlines complain that British bachelor and bachelorette parties are taking over Eastern European cities like Riga.
"I know about guys who go to Prague for a weekend of cheap beer, prostitutes and fighting. "People there really complain about it — and that's due to low-cost airline", Vertovec says.
>> read the whole story in the IHT (link updated)
The article is good PR for RyanAir as it is not mentioned that somebody has to pay for the low prices
Vertovec is director of the Oxford Center on Migration Policy and Society. The center has published lots of working papers online. I've written about one of them before “No Pizza without Migrants”: Between the Politics of Identity and Transnationalism by Susanne Wessendorf.
(via del.icio.us) After his video about collaborative tools on the web (like blogs, wikis etc), Michael Wesch has become the most talked about anthropologist on the internet. In an interview with John Battelle's Searchblog, Wesch explains his interest in what geeks call web 2.0:
For me, cultural anthropology is a continuous exercise in expanding my mind and my empathy, building primarily from one simple principle: everything is connected.
For me, the ultimate promise of digital technology is that it might enable us to truly see one another once again and all the ways we are interconnected. It might help us create a truly global view that can spark the kind of empathy we need to create a better world for all of humankind.
He made his first website in 1998 and saw "a tremendous potential for transforming the way we present our research". Since then, he tells us, he has had a passion for exploring the latest technologies and how they an be used to communicate ideas in more effective ways.
Farther down in the comment field he explains:
The radically collaborative technologies emerging on the Web create the possibility for doing scholarship in the mode of conversation rather than argument, or to transform the argument as war metaphor into something that suggests collaboration rather than combat.
Personally, I prefer the metaphor of the dance and that we are all here in this webscape dancing and playing around with ideas. The best dancers are those that find a way to “lose themselves” in the music – pushing the limits of the dance without fear of tripping or falling because they know that it is all part of the dance.
As said, his video was widely debated, for anthropological comments see among others: mike wesch rocks the video essay (Savage Minds), Mike Wesch's Web 2.0 video makes waves, expands our understanding of this digital phenomenon (Anthropology.net), Anthropologists on Web 2.0 (TechnoTaste) and Internet 6 or Web 2.0: Video Edition (Disparate, Alexandre Enkerli)
His video is part of his work at the Digital Ethnography working group at Kansas State University.
Last year, Wesch was guestblogger at Savage Minds and blogged about new teaching methods.
How many Siberian anthropologists do you know? What are Chinese anthropologists engaged in? The discipline of anthropology is quite ethnocentric. It is dominated by research institutes in the U.S and Britain. Only a small elite interacts on a global level. It's time to globalize anthropology! To connect anthropologists from all over the world, to make anthropology more multivocal, richer and diverse. We need to create World Anthropologies.
That's the endeavor of the World Anthropologies Network.
One year ago, Gustavo Lins Ribeiro and Arturo Escobar published the book World Anthropologies. Disciplinary Transformations within Systems of Power. Now, you can read the whole book online, including more recent papers.
Among others, you can read Reshaping Anthropology: A View from Japan (by Shinji Yamashita), Anthropology in a Post-Colonial Africa: the Survival Debate (by Paul Nchoji Nkwi) or World Anthropologies. Cosmopolitics for a New Global Scenario in Anthropology (by Gustavo Lins Ribeiro) and many more.
"We intend this volume as a contribution to the making of a new transnational community of anthropologists", Gustavo Lins Ribeiro and Arturo Escobar write in their introduction. "Anthropologies everywhere will benefit from the scholarship already existing in globally fragmented spaces":
We see a tremendous transformative potential in embracing this project. Whether conceived in terms of diversifying anthropological practices while maintaining a unified sense of the field or adumbrating a ‘post-anthropological era’ in which the idea of a single or universal anthropology is put into question, we believe there are great gains to be made by opening up to new possibilities of dialogue and exchange among world anthropologies.
Eurocentrism can only be transcended if we approach the modern colonial world system from the exteriority, i.e. from the colonial difference (modernity’s hidden face). The result of this operation is diversality or the possibility of epistemic diversity as a universal project.
The network already has quite a lot of members from all continents - except from Africa (typical somehow!)
In Anthropology News October Gustavo Lins Ribeiro wrote about the lacking globalisation of anthropology, see my summary How can we create a more plural anthropological community?
(Thanks to the journal Ethnologic at the University of Munich for the link. The World Anthropologies website has been down for several month, but now it's up and running again)
Young muslims are moving from an Islam based on the culture of their homeland to an increasingly transnationally embedded Islam of Muslims from many different countries and cultures. That's one of the findings in the doctoral thesis by Norwegian anthropologist Christine M. Jacobsen that is now available online.
Contributing to an emerging “anthropology of Islam in Europe”, she writes, her thesis is concerned with exploring continuities and discontinuities in religious identities and practices in a context of international migration and globalization. She has conducted fieldwork among youth and students who participate in two Islamic organizations in Oslo.
The situation of belonging to a minority group, she writes, means that young Muslims cannot take their religion for granted, and that they must engage in the redefinition of identity/difference and of Islamic traditions. And in this redefinition, young Muslims increasingly aspire to engage directly with Islamic texts in order to “choose” which position or interpretation to adhere to. They increasingly engage in discussion and debate on issues that were previously mainly an area of scholarly debate.
In order to make this thesis relevant to the broader comparative field of studies of Islam in Europe, Jacobsen draws on insights from studies of young Muslims elsewhere in Europe.
She criticizes the prevailing methodological nationalism in studies on immigrants and migration (the paradigm of the nation-state as the principle organizing unit of society). She writes:
Discussions about integration often ignore distinctions related to e.g. class, generation, gender, and urban processes, and tend to reify the distinction between “Us” (the Norwegian society representing Norwegian values) and “Them” (being the foreigners that must be integrated). Often, such discussions proceed without questioning the premises upon which our understanding of “integration” depends, and the way in which integration is part of a nation-making process.
In research that is based in political-administrative and methodological nationalist perspective, immigrants and the cultural and religious forms they represent tend to be constructed as “social problems” and “deviance” that need to be solved and brought into order through governing processes (Lithman 2004).
An example is the issue of arranged marriage:
Depending on the perspective adopted, arranged marriage might appear as an issue of deviancy among immigrants or as a part of how a majority of mankind organizes its social life. The consequences for anthropology as cultural critique are obviously important. When immigrants and the social and cultural forms they represent are constructed as “social problems” and “deviance”, they can neither allow worthwhile and interesting critiques of “our own society”, nor enlighten us about other human possibilities, to paraphrase Marcus and Fischer.
Within this nationalistic perspective, Islam is usually approached in terms of how it hinders or facilitates the “integration” of “Muslim immigrants” into “Norway” (or other European societies, “the West”). Studies of Muslims in Europe based on what Lithman calls “wonderment over society” seem to be less frequent, she writes:
When framed within the perspective of a nationalist methodology, this endeavour necessarily must result in ethnocentrism. Furthermore, this perspective has certain consequences not only for the description of the social and cultural aspects involved in migration, but also for its moral evaluation and as a basis for policy making.
She prefers "methodological relativism":
Even though it is impossible to exclude all value-assumptions from research, I find striving towards considering different practices and traditions on their own terms worthwhile. If not, it is difficult to grasp the meaningfulness of social and cultural practices to the people that engage in them, or to see them as alternative ways of organizing human life, rather than just as deviance from a norm.
>> Download the thesis Staying on the straight path: Religious identities and practices among young muslims in Norway by Christine M. Jacobsen (BORA, Bergen Open Research Archive)
For those who read Norwegian: I've interviewed Christine M. Jacobsen a few weeks ago, see Doktorgrad på unge norske muslimer: På vei til en transnasjonal islam
"Anthropologists Should Participate in the Current Immigration Debate" was the title of an earlier entry. Josiah McC. Heyman is one of the engaged anthropologists. He wrote several newspaper articles about the US-Mexican border where he showed that more border enforcement will not deter people from coming to the United States, but rarther make them more likely to settle and less likely to return home.
In his op-ed The Border Control Illusion (MS Word document!)he writes:
What can we do when our current ideas don’t work? We can question our assumptions. In this case, the assumption is that BAD THINGS come from outside of the country and that WE inside the U.S. have nothing to do with them. The border could be a safe protective wall that keeps all danger away, if we could just make it big, tall, and tough enough.
(...) Migration is woven into the interior of the United States. It is part of the construction, agriculture, and services we all use, directly and indirectly. It is part of family reunification and community consolidation. Migration cannot be stopped by the border because it is already on the inside--not just the immigrants living among us, but part and parcel of our own culture and economy. We must think differently, very differently.
Elsewhere on the web:
Josiah McC. Heyman: Class and classification at the U.S.-Mexico border (Human Organization, summer 2001 / FindArticles.com)
Josiah McC. Heyman: The Anthropology of Power-Wielding Bureaucracies (Human Organization, winter 2004 / FindArticles.com)
Anthropologist Jesse de Leon shares some of his results from his field work among Filipino bloggers and their expression of Filipino identity on blogs.
He found five major categories of Filipino bloggers: Cosmopolitans, the Philippine Elite, Im/migrants, Second Generation Diasporic Filipinos, and Younger Filipinos in the Philippines. They blog about different topics. The way he used linking in his research has especially caught my attention. You somehow express your identity the way you use links on your blog.
Jesse de Leon writes:
Second Generation Diasporic Filipinos rarely link to blogs written by the preceding groups nor leave comments. More than the other groups, these Filipino bloggers discuss race and ethnicity. Im/migrants also discuss such things, but these topics seem especially relevant to the Second Generation, judging by how much they blog about race and ethnicity. I’ve noticed the same in my interviews.
Finally come Younger Filipinos in the Philippines. Generally, they don’t link to blogs written by Second Generation Diasporic Filipinos, even though they’re the same age and often have similar interests. They’re far more likely to link to blogs written by the other groups.
He has also published his first outline of his thesis. Very impressive. I wish I was so organised... (sometimes at least...)
(via Livejournal Anthropology Community) Jesse de Leon, Master’s student in Social Anthropology, has started blogging on his research on Filipino bloggers - a very interesting blog about migration, transnationalism, identity and internet research. In his second post he explains:
I’m what’s known as a 1.5 generation immigrant: someone who immigrated as a child old enough to remember the country they were born in. In my case, I immigrated to Canada from the Philippines when I was ten years old. I consider myself as having grown up in both countries. I know that if I had grown up entirely in the Philippines, I would be a different person than what I am today.
It’s therefore understandable that I’m interested in issues of migration, transnationalism, and identity. I’m particularly interested in what identity is like for other Filipinos who have migrated. Do they consider themselves as being completely Filipino? Or do they see themselves as being Canadians now (or American, or Australian, or so on)?
Now, this is all well and good, but lots of other people have examined these issues. What am I doing that’s new? Well, I’m investigating Filipino migration and identity, but I’m investigating them through blogs. Specifically, I’m looking at how Filipino bloggers talk about these issues. I’m also looking at how Filipino bloggers don’t talk about these issues.
Anthropologist and blogger Johannes Wilm has published a fascinating video about the annual meeting of the Danish minority in a small village in Northern Germany called Ascheffel. Is it possible to be both German and Danish? Why are there so many Germans who send their kids to the Danish school? As he shows, there is both nationalism and much transnational history among the participants of the annual meeting.