Tutti gli articoli di tommaso zambon

44. Towards a racialization of European space? Exploitation and resistance in agricultural economies.

Jacopo Anderlini (University of Genoa), Enrico Fravega (University of Genoa), Daniela Giudici (University of Trento)

In the last decades, a network of circular seasonal mobility, mostly involving migrants, interlinked with the needs of this labour market has grown in southern Europe. A vast body of research has highlighted the crucial role played by the migrant labour force in Mediterranean agro-industrial supply chains and has, at the same time, focused on the key role of the exploitation of immigrant labour as a way to face the structural weakness of agricultural economies.

Within those contexts, the rapid expansion of migrants’ informal settlements is intertwined with a set of multi-layered processes, such as the increasing precarization of working conditions, inadequate asylum reception policies, structural discrimination of the housing market and precarious homemaking practices. Interestingly, those settlements play the role of ‘stations’, or hubs, within a vast circulation network of workers, shaped by and enabling mobility across the Mediterranean space. At the same time, those dwelling environments – functional to labour exploitation dynamics – often take shape as racialized spaces, seemingly estranged from the rest of the society. Nevertheless, within those precarious places, meaningful forms of sociality, interaction and agency may also emerge.

Against this background, this panel aims at developing a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of migrants’ informal settlements, as well as of the different dynamics – such as shifting agricultural labour relations – facilitating their widespread diffusion across the Mediterranean ruralscape and reshaping agricultural economies. We welcome proposals that draw on original ethnographic research and engage with the wider political and social implication of this kind of occupational and dwelling condition. Possible themes include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Migrants’ informal settlements, housing precarity and housing segregation, or exclusion.
  • Labour relations in agricultural economies. Forms and dynamics of exploitation, precarity and informality among agricultural workers.
  • Labour conflicts along the “colour line”. Organized and individual tactics and practices of resistance of migrant farmworkers.
  • Racialized market labour. Forms of occupational segregation in the agri-food industry.
  • Migration routes and migrants’ informal settlements as nodes. Ephemeral and/or stable nature of those dwelling environments, as well their role in broader experiences of mobility, settlement or circulation.
  • Migrants’ informal settlements as sites of relationship and encounter. Solidarity practices, ethnic social capital, and social reproduction in migrants’ informal settlements.
  • Inhabiting precarity. Home-making practices, affective attachments and feelings of estrangement connected to migrants’ informal settlements.
  • Migrant’s informal settlements and new geographies of differential inclusion, within and across the European space.

The call addresses the following sub-disciplines among the others:

  • Migration studies
  • Urban and rural studies
  • Labour migration
  • Mobility studies

Short Bios
Jacopo Anderlini is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Education Studies at the University of Genoa. His main research interests are border studies, refugee studies, migration, critical theory on technologies, social and political philosophy. His work mixes qualitative methods and ethnography – with both multi-sited and digital fieldwork – and critical theoretical reflection. He is currently investigating the transformations of the government of mobility, its infrastructures and logistics, at the southern borders of Europe. He is part of the research group on the analysis of digital technologies C.I.R.C.E. and of several self-organised collectives that support the right to move. E-mail: jacopo.anderlini@edu.unige.it

Enrico Fravega is a sociologist member of the MOBS (Mobilities, solidarities and imaginaries across the borders. PRIN Bando 2020 – Prot. 2020TELSM8) and REFINTEG (The Canadian model of the public-private sponsorship for the integration of refugees) research groups at the University of Genoa, Dipartimento di Scienze della Formazione. Previously he has been a research fellow at the University of Trento, joining the HOASI research project (Home and Asylum-Seekers in Italy). His research activity focuses on migrants’ housing pathways, housing conditions, institutional reception facilities and migrants’ informal settlements. E-mail: enrico.fravega@gmail.com

Daniela Giudici is an anthropologist, interested in the ethnographic analysis of institutions, politics and regimes of care, migration and social movements. She is Assistant Professor at the Department of Psychology and Cognitive Sciences, University of Trento. Together with Enrico Fravega, she has been engaged for three years in the HOASI project, focused on refugees’ housing conditions and “home experiences” in Italy.  E-mail: daniela.giudici@unitn.it

43. Institutional ethnography: a sociology with and for the people

1) Dr Morena Tartari*
Dr Morena Tartari, Research Fellow (PI), University of Padua
morena.tartari@unipd.it [this will be my affiliation from September 1st, 2022]

2) Dr Órla Meadhbh Murray**
Research Associate, Imperial College London

Institutional Ethnography (IE) is a sociological approach to research developed by the Canadian sociologist Dorothy Smith (1926-2022) (Smith, 1987, 1990a, 1990b, 2005; Smith and Griffith, 2022). It is a well-established research approach in Canada and the US, with more recent networks of scholars emerging in the Nordic countries, Europe, Taiwan, Australia, and the UK and Ireland (Reid and Russell, 2018; Stanley, 2018; Lund and Nilsen, 2020; Murray, 2020; Luken and Vaughan, 2021). This session aims to celebrate the legacy of Dorothy Smith and support the emerging network of IE scholars in Europe by highlighting the value of IE for different academic fields and beyond, including policymakers, activists, other practitioners.

IE is not simply an ethnography of institutions; it is a distinctive approach to research with a specific social ontology, focused on how texts and language organise people’s everyday/everynight lives. Influenced by ethnomethodology, Marx’s materialism, and feminist activism IE aims to provide a ‘sociology for people’ (Smith, 2005; Smith and Griffith, 2022), investigating how things work and identifying ways to affect change. In IE, ‘institutional’ refers to clusters of text-mediated relations which are organized around particular ruling functions such as education, health care, and law (Smith, 2005). IE research often do bureaucratic ‘mapping’ whereby discourses are analysed as social relations rooted in materially replicable texts. 

This session invites contributions which explore both methodological aspects of IE and showcase IE empirical research across topics and themes, including gender, social inclusion, inequalities, citizenship, community development, social resilience. Such work is likely to span thematic areas and theoretical/conceptual backgrounds, including sociology of education, sociology of health, sociology of law, sociology of family, sociology of work and professions, feminist sociology, intersectionality and decoloniality.

We are interested in papers which focus on the study of people’s needs and actualities concerning different kinds of institutions, and those who focus on how IE can generate social change. 

We invite contributors to think about how IE helps to uncover the hidden work of people within institutions and organizations. We are interested in researchers who mix IE with other theories and methodologies, including specific text analysis or creative/participatory methods. We wish to showcase and explore how IE has been used beyond the North American context, considering the challenges and opportunities this presents. Overall, we will consider how IE differs from other forms of ethnographies and the possibilities this provides researchers and users of IE research in trying to understand how thing works and how we might generate change.

Conference contributions are expected to address the following questions:

  • How does IE analyse the (hidden) work of people within institutions and organizations?  
  • How do Institutional Ethnographers combine IE with other theories and methodologies? 
  • Which methods are being used by Institutional Ethnographers, particularly around text analysis and creative or participatory methods?
  • How has Institutional Ethnography been used beyond the North American context? What challenges and opportunities does this present for Institutional Ethnographers? 
  • In what ways is IE different from other forms of ethnography? 

Keywords. Keywords should be substantive rather than disciplinary, specifying as clearly as possible the focus of interest.

  • social inclusion
  • inequalities 
  • gender
  • social change
  • organizations
  • policy making
  • Institutional Ethnography

Sub-disciplines or cross-disciplinary areas of concern.

  • Sociology of education
  • Sociology of health
  • Sociology of law
  • Sociology of family
  • Sociology of work and professions
  • Feminist sociology
  • Intersectionality

Luken, P.C. and Vaughan, S. (eds) (2021) The Palgrave Handbook of Institutional Ethnography. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.

Lund, R.W.B. and Nilsen, A.C.E. (eds) (2020) Institutional Ethnography in the Nordic Region. London: Routledge.

Murray, Ó.M. (2020) ‘Text, process, discourse: doing feminist text analysis in institutional ethnography’, International Journal of Social Research Methodology, pp. 1–13. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/13645579.2020.1839162.

Reid, J. and Russell, L. (eds) (2018) Perspectives On and From Institutional Ethnography. Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing Limited.

Smith, D.E. (1987) The Everyday World as Problematic: A Feminist Sociology. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Smith, D.E. (1990a) Texts, Facts, and Femininity: Exploring the Relations of Ruling. London: Routledge.

Smith, D.E. (1990b) The Conceptual Practices of Power: A Feminist Sociology of Knowledge. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Smith, D.E. (2005) Institutional Ethnography: A Sociology for People. Oxford: AltaMira Press.

Smith, D.E. and Griffith, A.I. (2022) Simply Institutional Ethnography: Creating a Sociology for People. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Stanley, L. (2018) Dorothy E. Smith, Feminist Sociology & Institutional Ethnography. Edinburgh: X Press.

Short bio
*Morena Tartari is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology of the University of Southampton (UK). She holds a PhD in Sociology, completed in 2012 at the FISPPA Department of University of Padua. From 2019 to 2021 she was a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research Fellow (MSCA-IF) at the University of Antwerp (Belgium). She is a 2021 STARS-Grants Awardee, University of Padua (Supporting Talent in ReSearch@University of Padua Programme). Her research focuses mainly on family, gender and inclusion by a sociological perspective that intertwines Institutional Ethnography and different qualitative methods.

** Órla Meadhbh Murray is a Research Associate at Imperial College London’s Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship. Her research focuses on feminist sociology, specifically Institutional Ethnography, audit culture, and intersecting inequalities in UK universities. She is currently writing a monograph – Abolish Audit: A Feminist Institutional Ethnography of UK Universities – based on her PhD thesis and running Institutional Ethnography training workshops as part of the UK and Ireland Institutional Ethnography Network.

42. Grounding ethnography. Social struggles, fields of power, and research practices in geography

Anna Casaglia, University of Trento (contact scholar) 

Her main field of research is critical political geography and she deals with borders and mobility, spatial aspects of power relations and injustice, populism and territorial revival, the climate crisis and security, popular geopolitics. 

Chiara Giubilaro, University of Palermo 

Her main fields of interest are critical urban studies, popular geopolitics and visual culture. She currently works on the relationship between culturally based urban transformation practices and social justice in Southern Europe. 

Grounding Ethnography. Social struggles, fields of power, and research practices in Geography. 

The relation between knowledge and power was at the core of the Italian experience of Democratic Geography, culminated in a conference held in Florence in 1979 centered around methodological questions. Research on the ground, besides being the title of the convention, was intended as an occasion to critically discuss ethnography and the production of geographic knowledge in relation to social struggles: going on the ground was the occasion to access unofficial direct sources, essential to revise our own questions and definitions.
The intrinsic decolonial character of this methodological endeavor reveals itself in two key aspects: from one side the recognition of the non-neutrality of the researcher and of research itself; from the other side, the need to transform research in a social practice aimed at reclaiming science, knowledge, space, alienated labor, the past and the future, as Dematteis put it in his intervention at the Florence conference in 1979. By recognizing the critical function that geographic knowledge can have, the proposal for doing research on the ground opens up to research practices as practices of struggle and involves the co-constitution of knowledge outside the power laden structure of the academy.
Forty-three years after that experience, Geography, especially thanks to feminist and postcolonial approaches, has gone a long way in overcoming over-theorization and focusing on the materiality, the lived experience, and the meaning of space in processes of subjectivity formation. The practice of doing research on the ground has indeed gained popularity and permeates the production of western geographic knowledge.
Our questions for potential panelists regard the actual implications of this methodological approach on our role as geographers in relation to present social struggles such as those on mobility rights, on climate (in)justice, on the right to the city: how does working and being on the ground affect the production of geographical knowledge and its outcomes? How can research on the ground be a practice that unveils and contests power dynamics? Does it open new fields for conflict, new places and strategies of resistance? Does it deconstruct and decolonize knowledge and, with this, genuinely recognize the co-constitutive character of research processes?
Given the social and political relevance of these struggles and given also their centrality in present social sciences’ research, we address these questions to geographers, sociologists and anthropologists interested in the potential of research on the ground as a transformative and radical social practice.

Keywords: grounded research, Geography, social struggles, fieldwork, knowledge production, power relations.

41. The Mediterranean as a laboratory of border externalization. Ethnographic perspectives from the south

Ilaria Giglioli – University of San Francisco: igiglioli@usfca.edu
Timothy Raeymaekers – University of Bologna: timothy.raeymaekers@unibo.it

In critical border studies, it is well known that territorial boundaries are not simply lines on the map, but rather complex devises that channel and filter mobile flows (Casas-Cortes, Cobarrubias, and Pickles 2014; Mountz and Loyd 2018; Parker and Vaughan-Williams 2009). Within the nation-state and beyond, sites of bordering have multiplied through territorial devices (walls, barriers and checkpoints), as well as practices of surveillance and securitization at multiple scales (camps, detention centres, housing facilities for migrants, individual bodies).

Countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean (also known as the MENA or SWANA region) have increasingly become epicentres of these bordering and surveillance practices (Bialasiewicz 2012; Celata and Coletti 2017; Dini and Giusa 2020; Gazzotti 2021). As the European Union has sought to ‘outsource’ the securitization of its borders to countries such as Morocco, Libya, or Turkey, these areas have witnessed a rise of both territorial securitization, and practices of surveillance towards potential migrants (be they their own citizens or those of other countries) (Gross-Wyrtzen 2020). These transformations of the Mediterranean border regime have led to a proliferation of actors and institutions responsible for identifying, filtering, and channelling mobile flows, as well as the emergence of new solidarities between migrants and activists in the MENA region, across the Mediterranean and beyond (Cuttitta 2018; Dini and Giusa 2020). In addition, they have also engendered contrasting imaginaries and visions on and of the Mediterranean (examples are the neo-Fascist imaginations of Mare Nostrum on one hand, and the Black Mediterranean and the Manifesto for Mediterranean Citizenship on the other (see e.g. Proglio et al. 2021). 

This panel focuses on the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean as violent laboratories of the ‘multiplication’ of borders. We seek to understand the multiple practices through which border externalization is occurring, and the range of actors who support, participate in, or contest these processes. We are particularly interested in the types of symbolic boundaries and hierarchies that are being created in these intermediate spaces – for instance through the accentuation of divisions between North and Sub-Saharan Africa(ns), or – alternatively – the creation of new solidarities. We are also interested in how processes of border externalization, and the material and symbolic hierarchies this entails, play into existing imaginaries of the Mediterranean. 

Specifically, we invite social science and humanities scholars whose research is grounded in ethnographic methods to share their perspectives around these types of questions:

  • What actors, infrastructures and forms of knowledge are involved in contemporary border externalizations in the Mediterranean?
  • What similarities or connections might we see between bordering practices within Europe (particularly Southern Europe) and the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean? 
  • How do processes of border externalization reconfigure the Mediterranean space – both in imaginary and in embodied terms?
  • How have cross-Mediterranean or South-South solidarity movements responded to border externalization? How might new epistemologies such as the Black Mediterranean allow for the building of new solidarities?

The panel convenors specifically welcome contributions from scholars who are either based in or focus on the Mediterranean.

Key words: borders, migration, ethnography, geography, Mediterranean

Bialasiewicz, Luiza. 2012. “Off-Shoring and Out-Sourcing the Borders of EUrope: Libya and EU Border Work in the Mediterranean.” Geopolitics 17(4): 843–66.

Casas-Cortes, Maribel, Sebastian Cobarrubias, and John Pickles. 2014. “‘Good Neighbours Make Good Fences’: Seahorse Operations, Border Externalization and Extra-Territoriality.” European Urban and Regional Studies: 0969776414541136.

Celata, Filippo, and Raffaella Coletti. 2017. “Borderscapes of External Europeanization in the Mediterranean Neighbourhood.” European Urban and Regional Studies: 0969776417717309.

Cuttitta, Paolo. 2018. “Delocalization, Humanitarianism, and Human Rights: The Mediterranean Border Between Exclusion and Inclusion.” Antipode 50(3): 783–803.

Dini, Sabine, and Caterina Giusa. 2020. Externalising Migration Governance through Civil Society. Tunisia as a Case Study. Palgrave Macmillan.

Gazzotti, Lorena. 2021. Immigration Nation. Aid, Control, and Border Politics in Morocco. Cambridge University Press.

Gross-Wyrtzen, Leslie. 2020. “Contained and Abandoned in the ‘Humane’ Border: Black Migrants’ Immobility and Survival in Moroccan Urban Space.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 38(5): 887–904.

Mountz, Alison, and Jenna M Loyd. 2018. Boats, Borders, and Bases: Race, the Cold War, and the Rise of Migration Detention in the United States. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Parker, Noel, and Nick Vaughan-Williams. 2009. “Lines in the Sand? Towards an Agenda for Critical Border Studies.” Geopolitics 14(3): 582–87.

Proglio, Gabriele et al., eds. 2021. The Black Mediterranean: Bodies, Borders and Citizenship. Palgrave Macmillan.

40. Anticipating the unpredictable: logics, actors and techniques of preparedness

Frédéric Keck (CNRS-Collège de France-EHESS), Davide Caselli (Università di Bergamo) 

In the last twenty years, the issue of radical uncertainty has become central to almost every aspect of social life. As a response, techniques of preparedness have emerged in the world of disaster management to mitigate the consequences of unpredictable catastrophic events, such as early warning signals of pandemics or simulations of earthquakes and terrorist attacks. Although these techniques come from a military rationality based on emergency, they become meaningful tools to visualize the vulnerabilities of the environment. Sentinels of pandemics, for instance, are not only soldiers on the frontline of the enemy but also animals communicating with humans on the conditions of emergence of shared zoonotic pathogens. 

Techniques of preparedness – from stockpiling of emergency devices to simulations enacting future possible disasters – are not neutral and are often associated with neo-liberal techniques of disaster management: they entitle actors (such as farmers or nurses) with specific responsibilities; they rely on specific logics of domination that frame and determine which disasters are meaningful, which lives should be saved and who counts as a responsible actor. Simulations of disasters can be described as critical stages where these forms of domination are performed but also as spaces where actors contest scenarios written by and for decision makers. 

Moreover, in a global context where the frontiers between the ordinary and the exceptional/emergency are increasingly put into question by the radical uncertainty characterising both “natural” and political contexts, preparedness as a tool for emergency management raises crucial questions about the space for democratic governance. In this sense, it participates to the more general tension between top-down science- and technology-driven technocratic approaches and radically pluralistic, democratic and inter-species elaborations. 

Finally, these techniques raise questions about models of temporality, since – in the perspective of preparedness – catastrophic events are thought as emerging and imminent in non-linear forms of causality, which makes them unpredictable. At the same time, they also rely on imagination to do as if the future was already realized, as if nature behaved in an intentional way, for instance when viruses are compared to terrorists. 

This panel will examine how techniques of preparedness can redefine borderland territories between animal species and political collectives, as well as boundary infrastructures, connecting communities of knowledge and practices in distributed organizations. 

We invite papers presenting empirical research on (but not limited to): 

➢ “communities of practice”, networks of expertise and epistemic communities that are at work in the field of preparedness, especially in healthcare and agriculture. 

➢ the specific regimes of truth that these communities impose: if they are relevant, what are the specific paradigms and regimes of meaning that are guiding private and public action? ➢ the role of digitalisation, and high technological innovation more generally, in shaping preparedness in health and agriculture 

➢ the processes underpinning the creation of preparedness indexes and rankings ➢ how preparedness is related with processes of marketisation: creation of new markets, reliance on market actors, adoption of market logic in the public sector. 

➢ how the concern for health expressed through measures against emerging infectious diseases reorganizes domains such as primary care or environmental conservation 

➢ how techniques of preparedness allow actors to imagine the future for slow disasters on long-term temporalities, such as agricultural changes to mitigate the effects of climate change.

➢ how different actors use techniques of preparedness to share vulnerabilities they perceive in the beings they care for 

As well as theoretical and methodological reflections dealing with: 

➢ What are the features and variables to focus on the territorial dimension in an empirical research on preparedness ? 

➢ How can techniques of preparedness be connected with those linked to other approaches such as prevention, preemption and precaution? 

Keywords: infrastructures – simulation – preparedness – sentinel – territory – participation – healthcare – agriculture 

Disciplines: sociology – anthropology – geography – disaster studies – environmental humanities 

Short Bio : 
Frédéric Keck, Senior Researcher at the Laboratory of Social Anthropology (CNRS-Collège de France-EHESS). After working on the history of social anthropology and contemporary biopolitical questions raised by avian influenza, he was the head of the research department of the musée du quai Branly between 2014 and 2018. He published Avian Reservoirs. Virus Hunters and Birdwatchers in Chinese Sentinel Posts (Duke University Press, 2020) and (with A. Kelly and C. Lynteris) Anthropology of Epidemics (Routledge, 2019). 

Davide Caselli, Post-Doc Researcher in Sociology at the University of Bergamo. His main research interests are related to health and welfare policies, expertise and financialization. He is currently member of the PRELOC project focused on the critical discussion and empirical analysis of preparedness in the fields of health and agriculture. He published many articles on these issues and he published Esperti. Come studiarli e perchè (il Mulino 2020).

39. Studying up: dissecting the ethnography of wealth and power

Federica Duca
Academic Coordinator,  Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI), University of the Witwatersrand. 

The last decades have seen renewed interest in the study of inequality across the globe. Increasing wealth inequality is now a focal point of interest, with particular emphasis devoted to the gap between the 1% and the rest of the population across the globe.  Popularised by economists such as Piketty, wealth inequality and redistribution now sits at the top of research agendas, and “studying up”, as advocated by Nader in 1972, has become increasingly popular amongst social scientists. The work of sociologists and anthropologists has proliferated in this regard, and scholars contribute to this conversation through a number of studies of privilege, elite attitudes and behaviours, elite norms, values and lifestyle, providing us with nuanced ways of understanding the life of elites from within. Indeed, the life of the wealthy now seems to be more scrutinized than ever before. 

However, it is less clear how such ethnographic accounts might assist us in understanding the differences between the various forms of wealth, and how different social and political contexts contribute to wealth creation and redistribution, or its lack thereof. Indeed, there is often a tendency to refer to global elites without clear distinctions between national and international contexts in defining wealth, the distribution of power, and the relationship between the economic and the political realms.  

In trying to address such a gap, the aim of this panel is twofold. On the one hand, it seeks to contribute to a fine grained theorization of wealth and power through ethnographic research by looking at local and international contexts; race and gender cleavages, assessing differences and commonalities. On the other hand, it advocates for an applied ethnography, where “studying up” is put at the service of progressive, transformative and emancipatory policy making.

The broad questions that the panel seeks to address are: 

  1. How can ethnography and qualitative research bridge the work of economists on wealth inequality and lead to a nuanced understanding of wealth? 
  2. How do we define the difference between various forms of wealth and power (elites, the 1%, the wealthy, oligarchs) at the local (e.g. urban), national and international levels? 
  3. How do self-understandings of their positions influence policy making?
  4. What are the challenges encountered when “studying up”? 

The panel welcomes empirical and theoretical contributions globally, either focusing on one context or offering comparative analysis from the fields of political sociology, critical policy studies, urban studies, nationalism studies and global sociology, amongst others. 

Wealth, elite, studying up, policy making, institutions, privilege

Adebanwi, W, Orock, R. (Editors), (2021). Elites and the Politics of Accountability in Africa, University of Michigan Press, 2021.

Ceron-Anaya, H. (2019). Privilege at Play: Class, Race, Gender, and Golf in Mexico, Oxford University Press Inc, 2019.

Cousin, B; Khan, S.; Mears, A. (Editors), (2018). “Elites, Economy and Society”, Socio-Economic Review, 16(2): 225-458.

Gains, F. (2011). “Elite Ethnographies: Potential Pitfalls and Prospects for Getting ‘Up Close and Personal'”. Public Administration, 89 (1): 156-166.

Herida, M. (2021). “Scales, Inequalities, and Elites in Latin America”, Global Dialogue, 11, 1, April 2021, pp. 54-55.

Rakopoulos, T.; Rio, K. (2018).” Introduction to an anthropology of wealth”, History and Anthropology, 29 (3): 275-291

Nader, L. (1972). “Up the anthropologists: Perspectives Gained From Studying Up”, Reinventing Anthropology, edited by Hymes, Dell H., New York, Pantheon Books, c1972, 284-311.

Paugam, S.; Cousin, B. Giorgetti, C.; Naudette, J. (Editors) (2017). Ce que les riches pensent des pauvres¸ Éditions du Seuil

Piketty, T. (2013). Le Capital au Siècle, Éditions du SeuilSherman, R. (2017). Uneasy Street: The Anxieties of Affluence, Princeton University Press, 2017.

37. Why practices become form: contemporary arts in the making

Convenors’ biographies
Yaël Kreplak works in the field of ethnomethodology, situated action analysis and  conversation analysis. Her main area of research is the study of artistic practices and the work  of heritage preservation. She has conducted several fieldworks in museums, art centers and art  schools, and regularly collaborates with artists and curators. She is a lecturer at the University  of Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne and an associate researcher at the Centre d’études des  mouvements sociaux (EHESS, Paris). 

Philippe Sormani is senior researcher at the Institute of Social Sciences at the University of  Lausanne, Switzerland, and associate researcher at the Centre d’études des mouvements  sociaux (EHESS, Paris). Drawing on ethnography and ethnomethodology, he has published  on experimentation in and across different fields of activity, ranging from experimental  physics to art experiments. Currently, he is experimenting with ‘DIY AI’, digital technology,  and adversarial design.  

This panel brings together ethnomethodological studies of contemporary arts in the making. The rationale for the panel is threefold:  

Firstly, in recent years, the observation of art in the making has been at the forefront of  numerous works in the sociology and anthropology of art, which have contributed to renewing  the approach to art, by paying attention, in variable ways, to the situations and interactions  through which artworks are produced. Secondly, the ethnographic turn of art taken in the 1990s,  has led to the production of a vast body of work that accounts for the observation and  investigation practices of artists. Last but not least, the development of art research has led  artists to develop, more and more, a descriptive, even reflexive approach to their own practices  – a form of auto-ethnography. Based on this configuration, this panel offers an original  perspective on these issues, rooted in ethnomethodology (i.e., the “study of practical methods”)  broadly understood, spanning reflexive ethnography, conversation analysis, and other modes  of investigating situated action. 

In so doing, the panel brings to bear Ethnomethodology’s Program (Garfinkel 2002) on the  description of current practices in visual and performing arts. In particular, the panel’s  contributions shall explicate, enact, and/or reflect upon the “requirement of mutual tutorial  adequacy” (ibid., p. 145), thus inviting a two-way conversation: what can ethnomethodology  learn from artistic practices and, vice-versa, what might be its take-away lessons for art? By 

instigating this two-way conversation, the panel pursues three key aims: detailed investigation,  re-specification and reflection.  

The panel invites presentations that contribute to the pursuit of (at least) one of the listed key  aims and related research questions, further developed below. The use of the plural in the panel  title, alluding to contemporary arts, marks both an acknowledgement of and a plea for the  current multiplicity of artistic practices, forms, and interventions. This multiplicity finds its  technical expression in current ethnomethodology too, as this research field engages in audio  and video recording, drawing and transcribing, breaching and observing, enacting and  reenacting. Working out in perspicuous detail where the commonalities, contrasts, and critical  issues lie – in, between and across contemporary arts and ethnomethodological studies – constitutes the crux of the outlined panel.  

List of broad and relevant open questions that conference contributions are  expected to address 
Firstly, the panel is intended as a presentation of detailed investigations into a variety of artistic  practices (visual art, drawing, music, dance, performance, and so forth), discussing the  adequacy of “hybrid studies” to account for those practices – both as a follow-up and renewal  of earlier initiatives, such as Sudnow’s Ways of the Hands (1978).  

Secondly, the panel aims at re-specifying the currently fashionable debate on “artistic research”, a debate that was recently introduced in art schools as part of artistic training and its institutional  legitimation. Whereas this debate is often pitched at a generic conceptual level, the panel  proposes to home in on artistic practices in situ.  

Thirdly, the panel opens up reflection on how ethnomethodology’s own practices become form  (in autodidactic, analytic, or hybrid terms), a reflection that might challenge the art/science  binary and benefit from conceptual discussions in and around, if not beyond contemporary art  (on “experimenting,” “performing,” “framing,” etc.).  

Finally, the shift from “when” to “why” in the panel title marks a double interest: how and  why practices shape up in situ, and how practitioners develop rationales (tackle cui bono questions) for their situated practices as part of them.  

List of keywords. 
Hybrid studies; experimental methods; re-enactement; transcript; performance; documentary  approaches 

Ethnomethodology; ethnography; conversation analysis; video analysis; science and  technology studies; artistic research; performance studies; art anthropology; art history; art  theory

38. Parenting experiences and family practices

Silvia Fargion e Teresa Bertotti

The care and upbringing of children in recent decades has been subjected to strong pressures related in part to the spreading of neoliberal ideologies across the world; in this framework the discourse on child rearing as an indivisible responsibility of individual parents has become dominant. The neologism ‘parenting’ refers more and more to a de-contextualised performance, with goals to be reached, and requiring competences to be learned. Currently, discourse on parenting thus entails what has been defined as ‘parental determinism’ which in turn leads to blaming parents, often described as incompetent and in need of guidance. In this picture It is therefore not surprising that parents’ voices have seldom been considered and systematically explored. 

This void is particularly evident in situations that feature complexities or challenges, such as highly conflictual parents, family forms not yet recognised by institutions, families dealing with migration and/or difficulties., such as financial insecurity or the presence disability. For this session we invite contributions from qualitative and ethnographic research that address this knowledge gap and explore the perspectives and ways of constructing one’s own experience as fathers and mothers in these contexts. In particular, we are interested in studies that address these issues within the framework of the family practices approach, and explore family practices also in connection to social services and institutions. The knowledge provided by these studies is particularly relevant to inform the interventions of professionals, such as social workers, that engage both with parents and with policies aimed at families and parents. 

More specifically we look for contributions that will address issues such as: 

1) How in situations of complexity or challenge parental tasks are redrawn and represented by the subjects themselves 

2) How the pressures of dominant ideologies and parental determinism are perceived in family practices 3) What old and new ways of constructing gender can be identified in the study of parenting practices 4) Place and time in parenting practices: what issues are raised in parents’ representations? 5) Experiences and reflections in the relationship between parents, professionals and institutions. 6) What methodological and ethical challenges can be identified in the study of parenting practices. 

Key words: Family practices, parenting experiences, intensive parenting, doing gender in parenting practices parenting in complex circumstances, LGBTQ+ parenting; space and time in everyday parenting. 

Short Bio
Silvia Fargion (PhD University of Edinburgh, 2001) is Professor of Social Work and Sociology at the University of Trento in the Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science. Silvia combines experiences as a social worker and as an academic researcher. She is currently Principal Investigator in an Italian national research project studying constructions of parenting on insecure grounds, which explores the experiences of parents and social workers in challenging circumstances.

Teresa Bertotti is an associate professor of social work at the University of Trento. Prior to her academic career, she was involved for more than 20 years in supporting children and families with problems of violence and neglect and in the supervision and training of practitioners. Current research interests lie in the quality of social work in child protection and family support, decision-making, ethics in social service research and the training of social workers. She favours qualitative research with a participatory approach.

36. The times of welfare

Tommaso Frangioni, University of Turin, tommaso.frangioni@unito.it
Daniela Leonardi, University of Turin, daniela.leonardi@unito.it

Time can be considered one of the driving axes through which we experience the world, a defining feature of everyday life and of societal rhythms (Adam 1990), calling into question individual, institutional, and structural issues (Elias 1993; Emirbayer and Mische 1998). Our everyday experience is deeply intertwined with the experience of time and the multiple ways in which it is represented, controlled, imagined, shaped. For this reason, it is important to highlight that also the relationship we build with the state and the public sphere is structured through representations and practices of time. In this regard, Auyero (2012) uses the emblematic expression of the “patients of the state” to emphasise the disciplining devices based on time that often permeate institutional encounters.

In the past years there has been a growing interest in qualitative and ethnographic analysis of welfare, policy, and the action of the state in all its territorial branches, involving scholars in disparate fields as sociology, anthropology, geography. However, relatively little space has been dedicated to the study of the temporalities, the rhythms, the waiting, the expectations that citizens experience when they interact with the state. We move from a perspective that looks at the interaction between citizens and welfare as something that takes place through the normative and prescriptive apparatus of the legal field, but also in the fine-grain encounters and exchanges happening with the variegated street-level bureaucracies. These encounters play a significant role  in implementing welfare measures and in socialising citizens with the expectations of the state (Brodkin 2011, Zacka 2017). 

In this session we would like to welcome contributions analysing the multiplicity of social rhythms and temporalities  involved in the implementation of social policies and, in general, in the functioning of welfare. This implies paying attention to the discourses and practices through which social actors frame their own elaborations of time, always keeping in mind power differentials and frictions between different roles. In the background, we can see the broader process of transformation of welfare, with a growing importance of control, individualisation, activation, and responsibility (Dubois 2013). 

In this session we are interested to welcome reflections regarding the following questions, although they do not exhaust all possible nuances:

  • How can we take into account waiting, considering the complex interaction between norms, street-level workers, and citizen agency? What specific configurations can it take in the field?
  • How can interactions with institutions contribute to shape ideas of the future on the individual or collective level? How can this contribute to reinforcing or weakening the precarization of the most vulnerable?
  • What role can time management and time constraints – one’s own and others’ – play in the daily activity of street-level workers? 
  • How could practical and discursive elaborations of time become – at least partially – counter-hegemonic? What role do social movements play in challenging welfare? What role could informality and everyday “life at the margins” have? (Lancione 2016)
  • How can activities such as ‘wasting time’, ‘buying time’, ‘delaying’ or ‘hurrying’ be ways of processing social time within the welfare state? What could be the coping strategies implemented?
  • How can the experiences of time vary, if we take into account intersections of class, gender, race, sexual orientation?

time, waiting, disciplining processes, inequalities, everyday politics, welfare systems, future.

Fields of study:
sociology of welfare, applied anthropology, critical ethnography, geography, public policy, time studies.

Adam, B. (1990). Time and Social Theory, Polity Press.

Alpes, M. J., & Spire, A. (2014). Dealing with law in migration control: The powers of street-level bureaucrats at French consulates. Social & Legal Studies23(2), 261-274.

Auyero, J. (2012). Patients of the state: The politics of waiting in Argentina. Duke University Press.

Brodkin, E. Z. (2011). Policy work: Street-level organizations under new managerialism. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory21(suppl_2), i253-i277.

Dubois, V. (1999). La vie au guichet. Relation administrative et traitement de la misèreParis, Économica.

Elias, N. (1993). Time: An Essay, Blackwell publishing.

Emirbayer, M., & Mische, A. (1998). What is agency?. American journal of sociology, 103(4), 962-1023.

Harms, E. (2013). Eviction time in the new Saigon: Temporalities of displacement in the rubble of development. Cultural Anthropology, 28(2), 344-368.

Lancione, M. (ed.). (2016). Rethinking Life at the Margins. Routledge.

Zacka, B. (2017). When the state meets the street: Public service and moral agency. Harvard University Press.

35. Sociomateriality and socio-technical assemblages

The actor-network perspective stands out for being an analytical and methodological approach able to looking at the intricate network of relations between human, non-human and more-than-human actors that characterizes research fields such as biomedicine and health (Crabu 2021; Lupton and Willis 2021; Cozza 2021), education (Sørensen 2007; Landri 2018; Schlauch, 2019), environment (Abrahamsson et al. 2015; Haraway 2016; Pellizzoni 2021) and work (Orlikowski 2010; Bruni and Esposito 2019). The studies conducted in these fields allow to reflect about the knowledge produced with ethnographic methods. On the one hand, doing ethnographic research from an actor-network perspective implies questioning the researcher’s role and positioning in the field, treating with care the critical and vulnerable aspects that emerge from it and considering the actors involved as subjects of the research and as co-creators (Konrad 2012) of that situated knowledge. On the other, it means to study socio-technical assemblages as politically charged and living “things” and to place the researcher in an interdisciplinary perimeter that expands the capacity to know and act, that demands understanding and caring in order to know and change the world. In other words, it means to be aware that research practice is “a doing and ethico-political commitment that affects the way we produce knowledge about things” (Puig de la Bellacasa 2011: 100).

This panel aims at opening a space of reflection around the ethnographic knowledge produced by considering the research field as a relational space affected (Gherardi 2019) by personal and material entanglements that happen, that are produced, that wait to be activated. We invite contributions that analyze fields such as health, education, technologies for work, automation processes, in other words, all those fields in ongoing transformation that require a gaze on non-human and more-than-human elements that compose them.


  • How can technologies and material objects become allies during ethnographic work? How does ethnography change when it happens?
  • How can field actors become research allies during ethnographic work? How does ethnography change when humans participating in the research field become allies and partners?
  • How to make protagonists non-human and more than human actors such as remote technologies, platforms, viruses, cells, animals who populate socio-technical fields?
  • How is the production of knowledge transformed by introducing actor-network perspective as analytical and methodological key?
  • What does it mean to do research with care and responsibility when it is necessary to investigate sensitive fields of sociomaterial life?

Keywords: allies; sociomateriality; entaglement; non-humans; more-than-humans; becoming.

Disciplines: Education; Work studies; Biomedicine; Anthropology, Architecture; STS.

Abrahamsson S, Bertoni F, Mol A, Martín RI (2015). Living with Omega-3: New Materialism and Enduring Concerns. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space,33(1), pp. 4-19.

Bruni, E. and Esposito, F. (2019). Digital Platforms: Producing and Infrastructuring Users in the Age of Airbnb, in Meyer, U., Schaupp, S., Seibt, D. (a cura di), Digitalization in Industry Between Domination and Emancipation. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 207-232.

Crabu, S. (2021). Organizing the precision clinic: arranging expertise, knowledge and technologies in cancer precision medicine clinical trials. New Genetics and Society, 40(1), pp. 58 – 72.

Cozza, M. (2021). Affective Engagement in Knowledgemaking. Tecnoscienza. Italian Journal of Science & Technology Studies, 12(2), pp. 115-123.

Gherardi, S. (2019). How to conduct a Practice-based Study: Problems and Methods. Cheltenham, UK • Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Haraway, D. (2016). Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Durham: Duke University Press.

Konrad, M, (2012). A Feel for Detail: New Directions in Collaborative Anthropology, in Konrad, M. (eds.) Collaborators Collaborating. Counterparts in Anthropological Knowledge and International Research Relations, New York • Oxford: Berghahn Books, pp. 3-39.

Landri, P. (2018). Digital Governance of Education. Technology, Standards and Europeanization of Education. London: Bloomsbury.

Lupton, D. and Willis, K. (2021). The COVID-19 Crisis. Social Perspectives. New York: Routledge.

Orlikowski, W. J. (2010). The sociomateriality of organisational life: considering technology in management research. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 34 (1), pp. 125–141.

Pellizzoni L., (2021). Post-truth or pre-emptive truth? STS and the genealogy of the present’, in K. Rommetveit (ed.), Post-truth imaginations, London: Routledge, pp. 

Puig de la Bellacasa, M. (2011). Matters of care in technoscience: Assembling neglected things. Social Studies of Science, 41(1), pp. 85-106.

Schlauch, M. (2019). Learning as a Matter of Concern: Reviewing Conventional, Sociocultural and Socio-material Perspectives. Tecnoscienza. Italian Journal of Science & Technology Studies, 10(2), pp. 153-172.

Sørensen, E. (2007). STS goes to school. Spatial imaginaries of technology, knowledge and presence. Critical Social Studies, 9(2), pp. 15-28.