Based on long-term fieldwork in Northeast Brazil and the Republic of Georgia, this article explores how open-endedness can be incorporated into ethnographic analysis and writing, not as the empirical object, but as a basic condition for knowledge production. In the empirical contexts that we describe, daily life is marked by poor prospects and the absence of possibility, especially for young people. Rather than letting this guide our analyses, this article argues for the necessity of paying attention to the openness and potential of experienced moments of change. We propose that even relapses into former habits and predicaments present the potential for change on a subjective level. In the process of putting informants' stories into words and analysis, we revisit both field and text, constituting a hopeful practice similar to that of our informants.
On Recurrence and Open-Endedness in Life and Analysis
Anne Line Dalsgaard and Martin Demant Frederiksen
A Comparative Perspective on Youth in Marginalized Positions
Susanne Højlund, Lotte Meinert, Martin Demant Frederiksen and Anne Line Dalsgaard
The article explores how societal contexts create different possibilities for faring well towards the future for young marginalized people. Based on a comparative project including ethnographies from Brazil, Uganda, Georgia and Denmark the authors discuss well-faring as a time-oriented process based on individual as well as societal conditions. The article argues that in order to understand well-faring it is important to analyse how visions and strategies for the future are shaped in relation to local circumstances. Whether it is possible to envision the future as hopeless or hopeful, as concrete or abstract or as dependent on family or state is a ma er of context. Well-faring is thus neither an individual nor a state project but must be analysed in a double perspective as an interplay between the two.