Category: "Fieldwork"


02:49:14 pmCategories: Fieldwork, Anthropological notes, Oslo

Back home part 2 – presenting my project so far (part 1)

Each time I tell about my fieldwork, I end up saying different things to different people, and usually I feel that it turns out quite messy, whatever I say. That was certainly the case when I tried to sum up the main points to my supervisor. So before my first seminar presentation (in front of a small multidisciplinary audience), the time had come to structure all I had experienced neatly into a comprehensible – and hopefully quite comprehensive – format.

My presentation was almost purely empirical, as I’ve not been reading much else than newspapers the last 9 months. The structuring principle I chose was to first give a socio-political overview of the bigger social events that took place during my fieldwork (October 05 to July 06), before I shifted to a more concrete micro focus on what and whom I’ll focus my research on (due to a need to anonymize at the web, I’ll be a little less concrete in this English version). I see the major socio-political events as forming a backdrop to my ethnographic micro focus, which – I hope – in turn can contribute to the understanding of these larger events. The first part of this post gives an English version of the first, events focuses, part of my presentation. The next part moves on to the micro focus, with a few words on my intended comparison with London as well as an attempt to sum up some of the comments I got after my presentation.

This is roughly what I said:

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02:40:07 amCategories: Fieldwork, Places, Spaces

Boulevard phenomenology

Place de Ménilmontant in the autumn (with bikes and cyclists...)

It’s been ages since I’ve been walking down the boulevard, but today I was doing it again. My bike has been stolen! And it was stolen from one of my favourite places, Place de Ménilmontant. Well, such things happen, and anyway it was a too small, but it feels strange that it should happen less than 48 hours before my departure. It’s the third (attempted) crime that happens to me after I came here. First I was robbed for my deposit (1300€!) for a flat that was way too expensive in the first place, then a kid tried to nick my camera during an anti-CPE demonstration (we both looked the same surprised – me because why would someone nick a fellow demonstrator’s camera, him because the camera was attached with a string around my neck so he didn’t get it…) and now my funny little green bike…

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04:09:43 pmCategories: Fieldwork, Politics

My blog, my project and I, part 3 – I and Politics

Another warm night, and it seems like insomnia strikes again despite however little storm and poèsie infused sleep I had last night. I’ve been too snotty to go to the jazz concert in Parc Floral and hang around somewhere in East Paris until the early hours, as would have been suitable for this hot Saturday. And I regret it a lot, especially since it’s my second last weekend here (and only three more jazz concerts to go, amongst all the other things I’ll be missing...). Instead I make use of my sleeplessness to finish a blog post I’ve been planning for months.

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Slam poetry

Slam 'aleikum - slam poetry soirée in Saint Denis (93)

I realised last night – dozing uncomfortably under rather dramatic circumstances, in the midst of a thunderstorm lightening the sky and with the wind making slamming windows and shutters throughout the street, and not to mention the pool of sweat from the perpetual heat wave as well as my untimely cold – that it’s about high time I write about what I’m actually doing here.

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06:01:23 pmCategories: Fieldwork

Seasonal sensations

The summer heat has come to Paris. For some days no, it’s been so hot in the afternoon that the boulevards are almost empty. Only in the shade under the trees are there a few pedestrians strolling slowly. However the Jehovah’s Witness people with their Watchtower are as usual in place by the metro Père Lachaise: A black man and a blonde woman, both decently dressed – in shirt and trousers, blouse and skirt – as usual with these missionaries. Metro Père Lachaise is about as far as I get up the deserted boulevard. This is not the time to be outside. Only some sweaty tourists defy the climatic condition and walk in the sun. I return home, and wait a couple of hours in front of my laptop, with all the windows wide open, mixing the music from my trashy little ghetto blaster with voices and other people’s music in the courtyard. (All these open windows facing the yard are great now during the Championship; the neighbourhood is reverberating when the right team scores – which unfortunately for the moment is not France…).

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01:15:16 amCategories: Fieldwork, Places, Spaces, Distinctions

“Elle va se faire draguer”

Every blog post I’ve tried to write on gender strands for some reason or another before they reach the web. The following text was meant to be a simple and silly account of a quick bike trip around Belleville. However, when I let it rest for a moment in order to start sorting out the huge heap of paper – flyers, magazines, newspapers, brochures… -that was threatening to cover more and more of the surface space in my little office-cum-livingroom-cum-kitchen, I came a cross an old article about a café that I had just passed on my trip. This café reached the national media right after the Mohammad caricature affaire because they put up an exhibition with blasphemous caricatures right in the heart of Belleville. Well, the article in itself wasn’t enough to put me off track. It was rather it’s point of view, or framing, that threatened to put my experiences on my little trip in a new light. I started worrying that my silly little text had to become a bit more complicated.

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02:50:41 amCategories: Fieldwork, Anthropological notes

Space, time and revolt: - My blog, my project and I, part 2

The working title of my project has been Communities in the making: Identity and belonging in postcolonial Paris and London. Initially, the idea was to do a similar project to the one I had done for my master thesis. However, after I came to Paris I quickly learnt that the situation here is quite different from the one in London 6 years ago. The first thing I realised was that it was no wonder my first fieldwork went pretty well, but – hélas – I yet don’t see any reasons for this one to follow suit…

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