How to write about survival? How to tell survival? By exploring manifold reasons to withhold a story, I shed light on the limits of ethnographic knowledge production and the politics of storytelling that mobilize one story and silence another. Through engaging with the fragmented narrative of a Moroccan survivor of a shipwreck in Spanish waters in 2003, I reconceptualize the movement called “migration as survival” by theorizing it as an ethnographic concept. I explore the different temporalities of survival as living through a life-threatening event and as living on in an unjust world. These interrelated temporalities of survival are embedded in the afterlife of the historical time of al-Andalus and the resurgent fear of the Muslim “Other.” By suggesting an existentially informed political understanding of the survival story, I show how the singularity of the survivor is inscribed in a regime of mobility that constrains people and their stories.
Withheld Stories and the Limits of Ethnographic Knowability
Films and Stories from a Tundra Village
last section, I present the stories before ending with a discussion of the politics of storytelling and affect. Remoteness, Films, and Sentimental Pessimism The village is often defined in the media as otdalenka , a diminutive of “remote area,” and can
Creating Situations and Spaces of a City's Counter-narrative
This article explores the creation of new structures of participation and counter imaginaries within the city between the poles of arts and politics. On the basis of two case studies, one situated in the non-institutionalised artistic field and one in the non-institutionalised political field, I will explore narratives of a 'topography of the possible' in the city of Salzburg. Aiming to outline collage pieces of a topography of the possible and of counter-narrative in and of the city – the city is looked at in terms of collage, understood as overlapping layers of the three spatial dimensions materiality (physical space), sociability (social space) and the imaginary (symbolic space). These are understood as differing but interrelated spatial dimensions, each one unfolding forms of collective appropriation of a city. The focus lies on the creation of social relations and collective imaginaries on the micro-level of cultural and political self-organised initiatives, looked at under terms of narration and storytelling. My ethnographic project asks for the creative potentiality of a city and for the creative power of social relations and collective imaginaries.
Storytelling around the Museum of Witchcraft
The skeleton of Joan Wytte, or the Fighting Fairy Woman of Bodmin, was displayed in the Museum of Witchcraft in Cornwall in the UK for several decades until her eventual burial in nearby woodland in the autumn of 1999. Her story has been deployed as a critical historical source and a demonstrable link between Cornwall and magical histories. It is well established that the past is recorded and represented through narratives, artefacts and events in multiple and diverse ways, and museums are often idealised sites for historical knowledge. Historicity is contingent on current needs and agendas, and often contested. Through retelling over time certain elements are highlighted or downplayed. Since the burial, the life and death of Joan Wytte has become vividly invested with new meanings as her story becomes incorporated into the landscapes of folklore, Cornish histories and magical practices.
Narratives of Girlhood
In this article I focus on the narratives of girls who describe the events that shape their lives and get them into trouble. The narratives are explored against Darrell Steffensmeier and Emilie Allan’s (1996) proffered Gender Theory, to consider whether it offers an adequate explanatory framework. The article adds to the body of knowledge about girlhood, gender norms, and transgression and provides fresh insight into the relevance of physical strength to girls’ violence. I conclude that girls are defining girlhood as they live it and it is the disjuncture with normative concepts that leads them into conflict with institutions of social control.
Genre differentiation is possible by external factors (function, communicative situation) and internal factors (grammar, theme). As the external factors for all 18 texts of the corpus are the same, the article relies on internal factors. The cohesive means of genre identification in this corpus are recurrence, time structure, connectivity, grounding, and lexis. The peculiarity of Koriak genre differentiation consists in a preponderance of narrative structures, which are characterized by a sequential time line with passages in scenic present tense and structures of a theme with a following exemplification.
In this article, I offer a response to Todd Berliner’s splendid book Hollywood Aesthetic. Although the book is an innovative and well-crafted contribution to the study of Hollywood cinema, I argue that it underestimates the extent to which unity and coherence contribute to the aesthetic value of a film.
Side Stories from Molenbeek, Brussels
More than a year aft er the Brussels district Molenbeek came to international attention as “ISIS’s European capital,” an unplanned encounter during a visit at my former field site leads to a conversation about the struggles and concerns that people are facing in this much-talked-about place. The discussion on a small restaurant terrace wanders off into disappointments and adjustments during research and life and is marked by a shared feeling of uncertainty that mirrors the atmosphere of a city that has seldom been portrayed beyond ephemeral media descriptions.
Impacts of Performing Memory in Northern Ireland
This article addresses the function of public presentations of personal memory in a post-conflict context and explores whether they may contribute to a preservation of that conflict. In particular, it examines the reception of performed memories of violence and its aftermath by audiences who have lived through similar experiences. To do this, it will discuss observations from empirical research on a verbatim theatre production in Northern Ireland, Heroes with Their Hands in the Air, that used interviews with relatives of those killed or wounded in an incident that came to be known as 'Bloody Sunday'. Drawing on the responses to the stories portrayed, it argues that, although such performative re-enactment of memory may contribute to an affirmation of collective identity and thus to preserving boundaries, it allows a community of memory to examine past events of suffering and explore impacts that reach into the present.
The Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI) joins a long history of critique, challenge and transformation of higher education. EUI courses are an important site for the creation of non-traditional narratives in which students challenge 'business-as-usual' in higher education. For under-represented students, this includes inquiry and analysis of the racial status quo at the University. In this article, I provide a student's perspective on EUI through my own experiences with EUI research as both an undergraduate and later graduate student investigating race and racism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (U of I). Using ethnographic methods and drawing on critical race theory, I provide two examples of EUI research that critiqued the University's management of race. The first example is a collaborative ethnography of the Brown versus Board of Education Commemoration at U of I – a project that I joined as an undergraduate (Abelmann et al. 2007); and the second is my own dissertation on 'racial risk management', a project that emerged from my encounter with EUI. I discuss both projects as examples of Critical Race Ethnography, namely works based on empirical research that challenge institutions' racial composition, structure and climate.