Unproblematic belonging? Practices of community and constructions of difference in institutional day-care in Vienna.

Während Kinderbetreuung in Österreich historisch primär als ‚private’ Angelegenheit von Müttern galt, wird sie heute zögerlich, aber zunehmend als gemeinsame Aufgabe von Institutionen und Familien definiert. Vor allem seit der Einführung des verpflichtenden Kindergartenjahres 2010 wird der Kindergarten in der Öffentlichkeit verstärkt als Garant für Chancengleichheit und als wirksames Mittel zur ‚Integration’ von Kindern von MigrantInnen konstruiert. In Kontrast zu dieser normativen Konzeptualisierung der öffentlichen Kinderbetreuung werden in meinem Dissertationsprojekt subtile, aber wirkmächtige Prozesse der Inklusion und Exklusion in alltäglichen Interaktionen zwischen PädagogInnen, Eltern und Kindern untersucht. Inspiriert ist dieses Vorhaben von aktuellen Beiträgen in der Anthropologie, die vorschlagen die komplexen Verstrickungen zwischen scheinbar ‚privaten’ verwandtschaftlichen Beziehungen und dem Staat in den Fokus zu nehmen. Auf Basis umfassender ethnographischer Feldforschungen werden Kindergärten als Institutionen erforscht, die in die Verdichtung oder auch Schwächung von Zugehörigkeit wie auch die Konstruktion von Differenz involviert sind.

Hard Facts

Projektdauer: Oktober 2015 - Oktober 2018

Finanzierung: uni:docs (Universität Wien)

Projekt von: Anna Ellmer

Betreuerin: 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

Website: practicingvalues.wordpress.com/project/


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


The workings of corporate social responsibility in the (re)configuration of contemporary societies

Corporate Social Responsibility as a case of moral transformation has been celebrated as the solution to world problems. CSR departments that are officially in charge of establishing morality in businesses organizations have been implemented into upper management. The CSR managers claim, that the ability to cross-cut between the seemingly different institutional contexts of modern society (economy, politics, society) is a prerequisite to be able to do this work and push CSR forward.This PhD project draws on ethnographic research within a major business corporation in Turkey, operating in a particularly contested and criticized business sector. It deals with the translation of these societal and moral values into practices in business organizations and the role individual CSR practitioners play in these practices. CSR is therefore conceptualized as a moral economy to reflect the continuous (re)negotiation of meanings, moralities and interests within organizations  across contradicting and manifold institutional contexts. The boundary work of actors at top management level, in supply chain audits, international project meetings and other internal CSR activities serves as a lens through which the conceptualization of society at large can be explored. The project is located the disciplinary intersection of organizational, business, economic and political anthropology, with a special focus on value studies, moral economies, gifts & rights and care studies.The PhD project is part of the DOC-team project "Practicing Values - Valuing Practices" funded by the Austrian Academy of Sciences. In this project, Deniz Seebacher, Barbara Stefan and Andreas Streinzer are researching renegotiations of so-called economic and moral values in three contexts (the others being the effects of austerity measures in Greece and Social Movements for Democracy and Distributional Justice in Austria) and from the perspective of three disciplines (social and cultural anthropology, business anthropology, political sciences).

Hard Facts

Project Duration: October 2014 - October 2017

Funding: Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften (ÖAW), DOC-team

Project by: Deniz Seebacher

Supervisor: Tatjana Thelen (Co-Supervisor: Ståle Knudsen, Universität Bergen)

Website: https://practicingvalues.wordpress.com/project/ 


Enactments of participation: Performing state, civil society and family in an ‘ecological village’ in China

Verschmutzung durch Landwirtschaft, Lebensmittelskandale, Einkommensungleichheit und Herausforderungen mit Bezug auf die massive Abwanderung aus dem ländlichen Raum schaffen es derzeit regemäßig in die Schlagzeilen in China. Seit den 2000er Jahren richten der chinesische Staat und soziale Bewegungen die Aufmerksamkeit wieder vermehrt auf das Ländliche. Das Dissertationsprojekt von Christof Lammer befasst sich mit Prozessen der Staatstransformation im Kontext ländlicher Entwicklung. Die Arbeit beruht auf einer einjährigen ethnographischen Feldforschung in einem selbsternannten ‘ökologischen Dorf’ in der Provinz Sichuan und dem verbundenen Lebensmittelnetzwerk. Die Dissertation untersucht wie Akteure globalisierte Ideen der ‘Neuen Bewegung zum ländlichen Aufbau’ wie Partizipation, Gemeinschaft, Kooperation und Nachhaltigkeit, sowie staatliche Kampagnen zum ‘Aufbau neuer sozialistischer Dörfer’ und zum ‘Aufbau einer ökologischen Zivilisation’ in lokale Praktiken übersetzen. In dieser ‘Stategraphy’ – einem ethnographischen Zugang zum Staat – wird die Frage bearbeitet, wie Grenzen zwischen ‘Staat’ und ‘Zivilgesellschaft’ in Performances von ‚Partizipation’ ausgehandelt, konstruiert und aufgelöst werden. Ein Fokus auf diese Grenzziehungsprozesse in diesen Performances ist wichtig um zu verstehen, wie der Staat reproduziert und transformiert wird, wenn Beamte und andere Bürger*innen das Ökologische, Sorge/care und Bürokratie in China inszenieren.

Hard Facts

Projektdauer: Februar 2013 - Juli 2017

Finanzierung: Universität Wien (Februar 2013 – Juli 2017), Marietta-Blau-Stipendium (September 2014 – September 2015), China Scholarship Council (September 2014 – Juni 2015)

Projekt von: Christof Lammer

Betreuerin: Tatjana Thelen