Meet Our New Doctoral Students
Adelaida Caballero, doctoral student in Cultural Anthropology
My project explores vulnerability at the intersection of old age, gender, and the postcolony through the study of older female street vendors in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. It aims at documenting the women’s practices of narrative self-formation in order to understand how they transform, through the prisma of moral creativity, bodily and economic hindrance into moral strength and social resource. Personal experience drawn from previous visits to the field (2014) suggests that the women’s group identity has been constructed by others through two opposite narratives; one of which portrays them as inherently weak, and another that romanticizes them as one of the most empowered groups in contemporary Malabeño society. How do these two narratives condition the way in which older female street vendors perceive themselves, their relationships with others, and their possibilities for fulfillment in late life? How is the tension between the women’s wishes/hopes and their socioeconomic/biopolitical situation negotiated? While addressing these questions I’ll draw theoretical inspiration from John Wall’s (2005) concept of ‘moral creativity’, which builds on Ricoeur’s largely unexplored notions of moral capability, selfhood, and poetics.
Rikard Engblom, doctoral student in Ethnology
During 2015 more than 160 000 where registered as asylum seeking refugees in Sweden, which is twice as many as in 2014. This increase represents major challenges to the Swedish authorities as well as to refugees, challenges that has to be dealt with. Historically, most of the refugees had been placed into urban areas. However, in 2015 small municipals received most refugees per capita, some of them as many as 100 refugees per 1000 inhabitants. What does it mean, for small municipalities on the Swedish countryside when relatively high numbers of refugees are being placed there? And what is it like to be a refugee in a village on these places? In my Ph.D. project, I will focus on the encounters and engagements between refugees and people in rural villages, seeing refugees not as a burden or as victims, but as a productive position that calls for the engagement of others.
Mirko Pasquini, doctoral student in Cultural Anthropology
My ethnographic research aims at addressing the construction of the “improper user” and the role of the glass barrier in the triage process of an Emergency Department in Northern Italy. This location is a unique spot of observation where fights between biomedical criteria and grassroots health needs literally explode, especially when emergent urban vulnerabilities, in particular due to the economic crisis, are bounded together into the same category of illegitimate users.
Here begins a broader re-appropriation of the central hospital structure by the local identities, which are unhinging the standardized organization of time to build a space for their social needs. Moreover, I will engage this creative space of interaction as a possible path towards empowerment and self-affirmation. My project will analyze vulnerability as capable of highlighting social injustice and advocating claims from a broader part of society.
Kristian Sandbekk Norsted, doctoral student in Cultural Anthropology
Recognizing feminism as something that is taken for granted across broad domains, my research project intends to explore contemporary feminism as it unfolds on the interactional level among people who are self-identified feminists. Through an emphasis on performativity–the generative power of several kinds of practices–I hope to explore the discourses, ideas and actions that are implicated in the becoming of feminism in urban Sweden. Questions pertaining to central feminist concepts and themes, such as patriarchy and women’s vulnerability, are of a particular interest in this respect. What, for example, is patriarchy, and through which acts of interpretation, among other things, does it become a lived truth? Furthermore, by privileging the the Swedish capital Stockholm as my primary site for fieldwork, and limiting research neither to institutional settings nor interviewing, I retain the ambition to develop and contribute to an already existing but limited body of anthropological scholarship on Nordic majority culture. Ultimately, my objective is not to criticize feminism or anthropology so much as to sharpen both as genres of social criticism.