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Open access

Adapting to Crisis

Migration Research During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Aydan Greatrick, Jumana Al-Waeli, Hannah Sender, Susanna Corona Maioli, Jin L. Li, and Ellen Goodwin

Abstract

This article draws on our experiences of carrying out PhD research on migration during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are all involved with the University College London Migration Research Unit (MRU), and our PhD research explores the lived experiences of migrants and people affected by migration. This is the first of two articles in this issue of Migration and Society addressing the implications of COVID-19 on migration research from the perspective of postgraduate researchers. In this article, we firstly reflect on how “crises,” including the COVID-19 pandemic, inevitably shape contexts of migration research. We then share how COVID-19 has shaped our relationship to “the field” and our formal research institutions. Finally, we share how we have adapted our methodologies in response to COVID-19 and, considering the complex ethical and practical challenges posed by this context, reflect on what it means to make methodological “adaptations” in times of overlapping crises.

Restricted access

The Coronavirus as Nature-Culture

Talking about Agency

Annette Schnabel and Bettina Ülpenich

Abstract

We analyze how the coronavirus is fabricated at the interface between science and the public in order to be addressable by political strategies. By means of a content analysis of Christian Drosten's podcasts, we follow (1) how SARS-CoV-2 is constructed in order to be understood by non-scientists, (2) how the specialist becomes a public expert, and (3) how this co-fabrication takes place. This provides insight into the “fabrication” of meaning and of how uncertainty is transformed into knowledge during times of major risk through focusing on the perception of the virus itself. Out of a perspective of speech act theory-informed assemblage thinking, the analysis emphasizes the role of the known-unknown and of the temporality of developments in formatting both virus and expert.

Open access

Introduction

Religious Rituals’ Reflection of Current Social Conditions in the Middle East

Ingvild Flaskerud

Abstract

Peoples’ practising of religious ritual is never isolated from the social and political setting in which it takes place. It is therefore inevitable that ritual practice somehow contends with the current social context. Examining Muslim ritual practices across the Middle East, the authors of the articles in this special issue discuss religious ritual as a tool for accomplishing something in the real world. They provide examples of which social concerns are addressed in ritual practice, who is involved and how the ritual practice is affected. The studies show that current ritual practices are embedded in multi-actor social spaces, and they also reflect on the ritual as a multi-actor space where the power to define ritual form, meaning and importance shifts between different categories of actors.

Open access

Nadeem Ahmed Moonakal and Matthew Ryan Sparks

Abstract

Throughout the Islamic world, the era of COVID-19 has witnessed controversial changes to highly ritualised traditional Islamic funeral rites. To combat the pandemic in Egypt, the government and Al-Azhar implemented restrictions surrounding group prayer and burial which many Egyptians viewed as impinging on their religious duties as well as on their ability to mourn. Utilising participant observation, interviews, and deductive research, this article explores the social and anthropological ramifications involved in the modification of traditional Islamic burial rituals in the era of COVID-19 and the negotiations involved amongst different actors, looking specifically at cases in Egypt.

Open access

Reflecting on Crisis

Ethics of Dis/Engagement in Migration Research

Ioanna Manoussaki-Adamopoulou, Natalie Sedacca, Rachel Benchekroun, Andrew Knight, and Andrea Cortés Saavedra

Abstract

This article offers a collective “gaze from within” the process of migration research, on the effects the pandemic has had on our interlocutors, our research fields, and our positionalities as researchers. Drawing from our experiences of researching a field in increasing crisis, and following the methodological reflections of the article written by our colleagues in this issue, we discuss a number of dilemmas and repositionings stemming from—and extending beyond—the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Focusing on issues of positionality, ethics of (dis)engaging from the research field, and the underlying extractivist nature of Global North academia, we propose our own vision of more egalitarian and engaged research ethics and qualitative methodologies in the post-pandemic world.

Open access

Teaching creative careers in the pandemic

A study of digital tools used by university instructors

Bexi Perdomo, María del Carmen Llontop Castillo, and Oscar Mas

Abstract

During the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the major concerns at the Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de América Latina (UCAL; the University of Sciences and Arts of Latin America) has been to keep offering high-quality education with effective teaching methodologies and creativity at its core. This article aims to describe and understand the use of digital tools for class preparation, synchronous encounters, storage, interaction, collaborative work and assessment by UCAL's instructors in creative careers. It finds that instructors were proactive about learning and using a variety of digital tools. Gamification apps and interactive boards were instructors’ favourites because they tended to motivate their students the most. No statistically significant associations were found between tool selection and course, sex, or age. Based on the evidence, this article will propose general guidelines for a training plan for instructors.

Open access

Ethnicity Past and Present

A Transnational Virtual COVID-19 Interview with Ulf Hannerz

Marek Jakoubek and Lenka J. Budilová

The beginnings of the interview date back to 2019, the year when we commemorated the 50th anniversary of the publication of Ethnic Groups and Boundaries (Barth 1969). We used this event as a springboard for looking back at the rich professional trajectory of Professor Ulf Hannerz, in which ethnicity and other forms of collective identities play one of the key roles. The interview was started after a lecture by Professor Hannerz, ‘Fifty Years of Diversity Watching’, given at the Department of Ethnology of Charles University in Prague in September 2019, and it was finalised during the COVID-19 pandemic online via e-mailing the questions and answers back and forth between Stockholm and Prague.

Open access

Towards Critical Analytical Auto-Ethnography

Global Pandemic and Migrant Women (Im)mobilities in Northern Ireland

Marta Kempny

Abstract

This article discusses the usefulness of critical analytical auto-ethnography in studying migrant (im)mobilities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whereas the auto-ethnographic genre has boomed during COVID-19 times, the authors of auto-ethnographic texts usually focus on their own experiences of the pandemic, engaging in an evocative style of writing. Following an overview of auto-ethnographic writing genres, this article discusses complex issues of insider/outsider status in pandemic research. It calls for a critical and analytical auto-ethnographic approach to the study of migrations and mobilities in a context in which they are currently unevenly distributed.

Open access

The effectiveness of online teaching and learning tools

Students’ perceptions of usefulness in an upper-level accounting course

Heba Abdel-Rahim

Abstract

This study investigates how students in a distance-learning upper-level accounting course perceive the effectiveness of different online teaching and learning (OTL) tools that are commonly used in business courses taught online. This topic is of critical importance, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed more courses to be OTL. A mid-semester anonymous survey in an Accounting course at a public US university was conducted to measure students’ perceptions about different OTL course tools. Students were asked to provide their general assessment about how effective these tools were and how they believe these tools helped them learn. Analyses and discussions of the effectiveness of different tools and their link to earlier literature and how instructors can utilise the results of the OTL survey are presented.

Open access

Museums and the Pandemic, One Year On

Some Reflections on Academic Resilience

Joanna Cobley

Abstract

Written as notes from the field, this article explores the overlaps between researcher development and the idea of academic resilience within the museum and heritage studies community. During a climate of uncertainty and rapid change, it argues that alongside the academic literature, positive psychology methods transfer well into the researcher development space. Methods involved informal email conversations with museum and heritage practitioners united by how COVID-19 and border lockdown presented new opportunities to connect, share ideas, and rethink. Presented as short narratives, these findings show how researchers and practitioners in northern Europe, the United Kingdom and Canada share similar concerns to those in the southern hemisphere about climate change, equity, well-being, resilience, and sustainability. These narratives highlight the importance of encouraging critical engagement, finding ways to traverse time zones that build international networks and provide leadership opportunities for researchers at any level.