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Open access

A novel perspective on doctoral supervision

Interaction of time, academic work, institutional policies, and lifecourse

Søren Smedegaard Bengtsen and Lynn McAlpine


While supervision is often characterised as a relatively private relationship, we would argue it is strongly influenced by departmental, institutional, national and global factors. It is also intertwined with other academic work and life experiences – with time playing an important role, not just as regards lifecourse but also changing institutional policies and practices. Using this embedded dynamic perspective in a longitudinal institutional case study, we examined how individual supervisory practices, embedded within life experiences and the evolving policy contexts of supervision and other academic activities, changed over time. We found that changed institutional supervision expectations and related structures influenced supervisory thinking and actions. Future research could further examine how this dynamic perspective opens horizons for understanding individual supervisor change in light of new institutional expectations.

Open access

Giuseppe Tateo


Based on ethnographic research conducted in a number of Orthodox parishes in Bucharest, this article discusses different conceptions of har among Bucharest Orthodox believers, practitioners, and clerics. Har stands for ‘grace’, ‘charisma’ or ‘gift’ depending on the context. An ethnographically grounded analysis of this emic concept, I argue, is essential for two main reasons. First, understanding grace through gratuity allows us to grasp diverse forms of religious change, such as committed church attendance and the detachment from communal religious life, in contemporary Romania. Second, seeing through the looking glass of Orthodox practice allows for unexplored insights into the workings of charismatic authority. The article ends with a seeming paradox: grace is ‘something extra’, an addition which is best grasped apophatically, that is, through subtraction.

Open access

The Paradoxical Agora

The Social and the Political in between the People in the Marriage Corners of China

Jean-Baptiste Pettier


Where is the political located? Since the early 2000s, the phenomenon of ‘marriage corners’ has mushroomed in city parks all over China. It consists of public gatherings attended by middle- to upper-middle-class parents attempting to find a partner for their child. The competitiveness of these gatherings and the vocabulary used by the participants when evaluating each other reflect political tensions of Chinese society without articulating them. Exploring this tension, the article argues for attending to the political ramifications of spaces where politics are silenced and denied. Hence, these marriage corners are examined as ‘paradoxical agoras’, that is, as constrained public spaces where politics are neither discussed nor decided, but rather embodied and practiced.

Open access

Kareem Rabie

Drawn from ethnographic fieldwork and documentary research, this article examines three shifts in national-scale planning in Palestine. In the period after the Oslo accords, Palestinian planners were tasked with the responsibility to create formal structures of governance and build for a future, eventual state there. Through that process and especially after the second intifada, national planning came to focus almost exclusively on market openness, privatization, and capitalistic development as part of a state and economy building project. Increasingly since 2015, planners have attempted to re-take some kind of formal authority. This article argues that such regimes show how Palestine is increasingly crafted at the state-scale as a node in wider global political economies in order to ostensibly stabilize the political situation, and in ways that have wide consequences for Palestine.

Open access

Postsocialist Mediterranean

Scalar gaze, moral self, and relational labor of favors in Eastern Europe

Čarna Brković


This article opens a conversation between anthropological studies of the Mediterranean and of postsocialism in order to propose the notion of a “scalar gaze” as an analytical approach useful for capturing veering practices in their social complexity. The article argues that favors (veze/štela, lit. relations, connections) in contemporary Bosnia and Herzegovina were a practice through which people fulfilled the demands of capitalist economy to be active, rather than a pre-capitalist excess that prevented “proper” development of the country into a neoliberal democracy. Zooming in and out and looking sideways between moral reasoning, internationally supervised structural changes of the job markets, and electoral politics, this article explores how the relational labor of favors reproduced moral selves, as well as hierarchy and inequality.

Open access

Review Essay

Anthropology and the Moral Project of Neoliberalism

Juan M. del Nido

Dieter Plehwe, Quinn Slobodian and Philip Mirowski, Nine Lives of Neoliberalism. London: Verso, pp. 368. 2020

Jessica Whyte, The Morals of the Market: Human Rights and the Rise of Neoliberalism. London: Verso, pp. 288. 2019.

James Carrier (ed.) After the Crisis: Anthropological Thought, Neoliberalism and the Aftermath. London: Routledge, pp. 212. 2016.

Open access

Juan Javier Rivera Andía

Valeri, Valerio, Classic Concepts in Anthropology, 280 pp., appendix, bibliography. Chicago: HAU Books, 2018. Paperback, $30.00. ISBN 9780990505082.

Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo, The Relative Native: Essays on Indigenous Conceptual Worlds, 366 pp., bibliography, index. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015. Paperback, $35.00. ISBN 9780990505037.

Ab ramson, Allen, and Martin Holbraad, eds., Framing Cosmologies: The Anthropology of Worlds, 336 pp., bibligraphical references, index. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2014. Paperback, $35.00. ISBN 9781526107183.

Open access

The stable stranger

Constructing “the Roma” within the European neoliberal culture complex

Marianne Blom Brodersen and Emil André Røyrvik


Drawing on ethnographic material from Gitanos of Spain and current EU Roma integration policies, we explore the contemporary construction of the Roma ethnic group category as a specific type of “stranger” in the context of the European neoliberal culture complex. Our argument is that this classificatory reconstruction can be seen to work as a cultural prerequisite for the socio-political shaping and management of the Roma as a neoliberal “stable stranger.” This new stranger is based on constructing Roma as a potential unused labor pool and as recent immigrants, in contrast to the Gitanos’ own ideology and locally grounded identity of self-employment and anti-proletarianism. The paradoxical consequence of the integration policies, therefore, is the potential pushing of the Gitanos further away from Spanish mainstream society.

Open access

Struggling for home where home is not meant to be

A study of asylum seekers in reception centers in Norway

Anne Sigfrid Grønseth and Ragne Øwre Thorshaug


This article focuses on how asylum seekers in Norway struggle to create a sense of home within a physical and political environment that puts significant challenges to their efforts to do so. Based on a national survey and fieldwork, we demonstrate that poor housing and the political derived marginality challenge existential and material home-making processes, thus making it an ambiguous and strenuous experience. This view is rooted in a critical phenomenological understanding in which home is built through inter-relational and intersubjective relations that constitute self and senses of belonging and/or estrangement, as well as well-being and mental health. The agentive struggle for home is a crucial aspect of asylum seekers’ experiences of belonging, well-being and mental health, thus being at the heart of questions of social justice.

Open access

An Unaccountable Love

Healing and Sacrifice in Post-Genocide Rwanda

Nofit Itzhak


What does a consideration of the place of grace in the therapeutic relationship have to add to our understanding of the healing process? This article explores the experience of bereavement and healing in the aftermath of loss among members of a Catholic Charismatic community in Rwanda. Considering cases in which divine healing is experienced as either having succeeded or having failed, I argue that the healing process involves acts of sacrifice and gifting, taking place between the mourner, God, and social others, and that the central sacrificial gesture constituting this process is the sacrifice of the self as lived prior to loss. I suggest that in order to understand gifting and sacrifice's therapeutic potential, we must read them as acts anchored in grace or gratuity.