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Reflecting the “Field”

Two Vepsian Villages and three Researchers

Laura Siragusa and Madis Arukask

photographs facilitated trust between locals and me, and initiated possible discussions. Thanks to those diaries, Madis could also reveal a more complex personality that made us reconsider our initial impression of Peterson as a stereotypical Soviet social

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Family on the Edge

Neblagopoluchnaia Family and the State in Yakutsk and Magadan, Russian Federation

Lena Sidorova and Elena Khlinovskaya Rockhill

such derogatory names as deribasy, ulusniki, mambety at young people hangouts, these urbanites included not only Russians, but urban Sakha as well. The consequences of this stereotyping became visible in the work of the Yakutsk child welfare network

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Introduction

The Presence of the Past in the Era of the Nation-State

Nicolas Argenti

long-standing notions of ‘Balkan mentality’ and ‘Balkan myths’, including the myth of the ‘500-year Turkish yoke’. They point out that these stereotypes all stem from and say more about the Western preoccupation with the militant nationalisms of this

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Alla Bolotova, Anastasia Karaseva, and Valeria Vasilyeva

“There are no roads in the North” is a common stereotype about the Russian Arctic. 1 Social scientists working there often become annoyed by this postulate, not only because it presumes an essential immobility of the local population that is far

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European Bodies?

Class and Gender Dynamics among EU Civil Servants in Brussels

Paweł Lewicki

Drawing upon ethnographic fieldwork between 2007 and 2011 in Brussels, this article shows how visual markers, class distinctions and classification of gender performances come together to create a ‘Euroclass’ among European civil servants. These markings, distinctions and classifications are denoted on bodily hexis and body performance and evoke stereotypes and essentialised representations of national cultures. However, after the enlargements of the EU in 2004 and 2007 they also reveal a postcolonial and imperial dynamic that perpetuates the division into ‘old’ and ‘new’ Europe and enables people from old member states to emerge as a different class that holds its cultural power firm in a dense political environment permeated by networks.

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Part 1: Active learning and intercultural competence

Action research reform of a US study abroad programme in Seville, Spain

Eva Infante Mora and Davydd J. Greenwood

CASA-Sevilla is a study abroad programme for US university students with an advanced level of Spanish. In recent years, new patterns of social behaviour among students (mainly the use of technology and low-cost flights) aggravated their difficulties in establishing contacts with the local society, which often resulted in the perpetuation of stereotypes. The programme goals of cultural immersion and language improvement were therefore at risk. Through an action research and a participatory organisational development process, CASA-Sevilla stakeholders carried out a profound reform of the programme, based on the principles of active pedagogy, mentoring and community-engaged learning. This section illustrates this reform process, with its highlights and shadows.

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Larissa Titarenko

There is a stereotype that such former Soviet republics as Russia, Ukraine and Belarus are totally Orthodox. However, this statement is not entirely correct, as part of the population in these countries belong to many different churches, while a large part have rather eclectic religious and para-religious beliefs. In the case of Belarus, a major part of the population belongs to two Christian confessions, Orthodox and Catholic, while many other confessions and new religious movements also exist. Religious pluralism is a practical reality in Belarus which has the reputation of the most religiously tolerant post-Soviet country. Contemporary laws provide the legal basis for the tolerant relations in the country, and there is a historical tradition of religious tolerance in Belarus. Research data from the EVS studies and national surveys are used.

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Weaving Threads between the Ethnic and the Global

African Women’s Entrepreneurial Ventures in Athens

Marina Petronoti

This article addresses hairdressing as a forum in which African women running small salons in Athens negotiate identity and raise claims to modernity. The specificity of their entrepreneurial activities lies in that they occur at a time when the incorporation of ethnic modes of adornment in Western fashion captures Greeks' interest, but prevailing policies curtail the rights of displaced populations and look down upon their traditional performances. In this sense, my analysis touches upon issues of analytical importance to the ethnography on immigration in Greece. It exemplifies how African entrepreneurs diffuse seeds of their cultural legacy in the lifestyle of otherwise dismissive hosts as well as the multiple repercussions that their involvement in a major domain of consumption have on stereotypical imageries of and attitudes towards the Other.

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Livia Jiménez Sedano

This is a brief reflection on the consequences of the commodification of dance cultures from the former colonised world and the ways they are consumed in Europe. Inspired from ten years of fieldwork, the ethnic structuring of postcolonial dance floors in European cities proves an empirical basis to start this line of thought. Instead of promoting respect and interest in the dance forms and the cultural contexts in which these dance forms developed, aficionados tend to consider that these are less evolved, beautiful and interesting than the appropriations they develop in their home countries. As a result, commodification leads to reinforcing previous stereotypes and emic hierarchies of value. The kinetic metaphor of the bodies that scream but cannot listen structures the text and its arguments.

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Dismissive Diaries, Desiccated Journeys, and Reductive Fictions

Sri Lanka in the Writings of Donald Friend, Shiva Naipaul, and Julian West

S. Walter Perera

Sri Lanka remains a popular site for international travelers despite its recent political instability. In examining texts based on sojourns spent in Sri Lanka by Donald Friend, Shiva Naipaul, and Julian West, this article argues that, though supposedly more informed about the island than their predecessors, these visitors from the latter half of the twentieth century eschew enlightened approaches in their writing for those that continue to exoticize, demonize, or stereotype the island's people, culture, environment, and politics. That their backgrounds and countries of origin are dissimilar makes little difference in their attitudes. The narrative strategies that they employ, which are often calculated to attract a certain kind of Western reader, irretrievably enervate their works and render futile the hopes expressed by recent postcolonial critics: that contemporary writing based on travel could lead to greater intercultural understanding between travelers and the local inhabitants that they encounter on their journeys.