Remembering Oslo in Transnational Contexts: Young Palestinian migrants and their memories of the Oslo Accords

Among the many essential events of the Palestinian past, the younger history is dominated by the First and the Second Intifada as well as the so-called Oslo Accords in-between. The various arrangements usually subsumed under the term Oslo Accords fundamentally changed the relation between Israel and the Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories, deeply influencing local Palestinian society and the Palestinian national movement. The related processes during the 1990s particularly affected those Palestinians who grew up at that time, whereby a part of them have emigrated temporarily or permanently during or after the subsequent Second Intifada. Often their migration is not a process with a clear beginning and a definite end, as a number of them have even already lived in different local and national contexts. Because of that, and also because many Palestinian families are scattered around the globe today, these young Palestinian migrants are usually not only connected to their places of origin in the Occupied Territories and the local communities in their current country of residence. They have often incorporated several national contexts into their everyday lives and are part of transnational flows by crossing borders, sending goods and money or transferring ideas across the globe. This is relevant for memory production insofar as today remembering is not seen as a simple recalling of past events. Rather each act of remembering is treated as a complex process of reconstruction, which takes place in a particular social setting. On the basis of young Palestinians’ memories of the Oslo period, the main aim of this research is to examine how people are reconstructing contents in different transnationally linked spaces. Building on this, the role of transnational networks and flows for these processes of reconstruction should be revealed.

Hard Facts

Project Duration: July 2014­–August 2018

Funding: DOC - Austrian Academy of Sciences

Project by: Eva Kössner

Supervisor: Andre Gingrich

Translating difference as culture? Care for elderly Turkish migrants in Vienna and Amsterdam

Immigrants are expected to compose an increasingly large part of the ageing population in Europe. Calls from different points in society are made about creating a higher awareness and sensitivity related to cultural differences among those who need care. Accommodating ‘difference’, such as shared culture of groups, within frameworks of universal legal, political and social rights are a complex matter, which needs a mindful consideration. Nevertheless, ideas about health, illness and appropriate care are clearly differently constructed by different social actors, and therefore the services sector is confronted with an increasing variety of illness interpretations and challenged in its capacity to cope with the diversity of the population. This research project aims to explore the ways in which difference is translated as culture by investigating the interactions between first-generation Turkish migrants and the caregivers they meet when the need for care arises. The location for the research will be in two European contexts: Vienna and Amsterdam. Both cities have a large population of Turkish migrants who first came to the countries as guest workers and are now reaching the ‘old age’. Through ethnographic research in health care settings where encounters between elderly migrants and care providers commence, this project tries to unravel the subtle, complex processes of translation in care.

Hard Facts

Project Duration: Oktober 2017 - Oktober 2020

Funding: uni:docs (Universität Wien)

Project by: Brigitte Möller

Supervisor: Tatjana Thelen

Practicing Values in the moral economy of Volos

The project focuses on the political economies of provisioning in Volos, Greece. Most households in the medium sized city have experienced shrinking available incomes due to state austerity and recession in the formal economy after 2009. The research project aims at understanding the repercussions of these changes in the economic lives of participant households. Two levels of analysis are used - the reconfigurations of the material relations and the moral evaluations of these reconfigurations. A special role in fieldwork and analysis is given to two alternative economic networks - a no-middleman network and a complementary currency scheme. 

The project raises questions on the arrangements in which provisioning becomes possible under circumstances of austerity and especially so concerning (1) the reversal of economic growth, (2) changing social roles among kin, friends, and (3) the moral implications of having to cope with less.

Hard Facts

Project Duration: October 2014 - June 2018

Funding: Marietta Blau Grant, DOC-team - Austrian Academy of Sciences

Project by: Andreas Streinzer

Supervisor: Thomas Fillitz


Optimization of the Emotional Self – in the Digital Age

Digital technology and smartphones, in particular, are becoming increasingly embodied and interlinked with the very core of the person we construct online and offline. Particularly, young people - the so called generation of “digital natives” - are frequently portrayed as a symbol of a new anthropological subject, usually at the extreme ends of either digital political activism or narcissism.

How do we take a more nuanced anthropological approach and avoid separating the digital from the social, cultural and political? How do we read between the lines of the seemingly power- and ideology-free technology, becoming an invisible and intransparent part of everyday life? And what are the ways in which we construct personhood and “optimize” ourselves as “neoliberal” subjects negotiating digital media narratives and dynamics?

Given the complexity of technological infrastructure, as well as the increasingly intricate usage of big data in conjunction with psychological expertise, an interdisciplinary approach was selected. In this project, Social and Cultural Anthropology, Cognitive Science and Media Informatics are joining efforts in order to understand the multiple layers of the interplay between social, cultural and psychological actors – and the digital, framed as an extended social space of practice. The research includes an ethnographic and a phenomenological study among groups of adolescents in Vienna, as well as a digital project in co-creation with the youth.

Hard Facts

Project Duration: September 2017 - September 2020

Funding: DOC-team – Austrian Academy of Sciences

Project from: Suzana Jovicic

Supervisors: Univ.-Doz. Dr. Marie-France Chevron (Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna), Prof. Dr. Thomas Stodulka (Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Freie University Berlin)


Households at the Dawn of the Bronze Age – Contextualizing Local Social Organization in the Eastern Mediterranean from Anthropological Perspectives

Sabina Cveček’s PhD project focuses on studying households as a primary source for discussing the emergence of social structures in Early Bronze Age (3 rd Millennium BC), underlining the importance of bottom-up studies for classifying and studying prehistoric societies. The planned dissertation project deals with households and household activities, the social structure, and the settlement organization within the geographic frame of the Aegean and Western Anatolia, namely at the site of Çukuriçi Höyük (Turkey) and Platia Magoula Zarkou (Greece). These sets of topics will be addressed through the applicant’s own investigations, but also by research cooperation between two archaeologists, one archaeozoologist and one anthropologist, thus linking both humanities and natural sciences.

Within this dissertation project, focused on households and domestic mode and specialization of craft production within a settlement (e.g. textile production, metal processing), information about “everyday” life in the Early Bronze Age Aegean and Western Anatolia will be investigated. The main question to be answered is about the social organization of Early Bronze Age societies (i.e. pre-scriptural and pre- state), more precisely in how far there was some hierarchical social differentiation comprehensible within these societies or whether these societies were organized in a more egalitarian fashion. Further questions concern possible processes of proto- urbanization within the chronological frame and beyond, and if the social structure of Bronze Age differed from earlier periods, like the Neolithic or Late Chalcolithic in the region.