Tagged / anthropology

Successful ESRC Festival of Social Sciences in EBC today

Slide1Slide2This afternoon Prof. Jonathan Parker introduced the final of three session in the Executive Business Centre under the title ‘Enhancing social life through global social research: Part 3. Social science research in diverse communities’.  This session was well attended and coveredwas a wide-range of interesting social science research topics.

Professor of Sociology Ann Brooks started off the session with her presentation on ‘Emotional labour and social change.’   She was followed by Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen who gave an overview of research in Nepal.  FHSS PhD student Andy Harding introduced his thesis research into ‘Information provision and housing choices for older people.’  At this point Prof. Brooks gave her second talk on ‘Risk and the crisis of authenticity in cities’. Social Anthropologist Dr. Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers spoke about her research on ‘Reconciliation and engaged ethnography in the Balkans.’  Dr. Hyun-Joo Lim highlighted her study on ‘North Korean defectors in the UK’ and the session was completed by Dr. Mastoureh Fathi who presented her analysis of parenting books for Muslim parents in the UK.

ESRC banner (2)

This was the last day of the ESRC Festival of Social Science at which Bournemouth University was extremely well presented!


Thank you to my colleagues for organising this and the ESRC for funding the events!


Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

(medical sociologist)

BU social science research on ‘Guns, Pride & Agency’

Worldwide, guns are a topic wrought with emotions. While most democratic countries consider guns in private hands a severe risk for public health if uncontrolled, it is not just in the US that licencing laws face resistance that benefit from a political and emotional rejection of state interference (e.g. UKIP’s Nigel Farage earlier this year). But why and how are ‘gun cultures’ built and sometimes sustained, even if they might undermine, an EU-led, much-desired democratisation and peace-building process after violence and war?

Dr Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers, social anthropologist at the HSC, addressed this question in her presentation ‘Guns, Pride and Agency—Albanian Ideals of Militancy Before and After the 1999 War in Kosovo’, at the international conference Comparing Civil Gun Cultures: Do Emotions Make the Difference? at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin from August 26 to 28, 2014 (https://www.mpib-berlin.mpg.de/en/research/history-of-emotions/conferences/comparing-civil-gun-cultures-do-emotions-make-the-difference). The wider ethnographic research project, on which her findings are based, was also subject of an interview earlier this year, published on a research blog of the London School of Economics: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lsee/2014/04/03/ilegalja-terrorists-or-freedom-fighters-an-albanian-tale-from-yugoslav-times/ .



Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen


ApSci PhD student wins Santander award

Many congratulations to Kyle Waters from Applied Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, for winning a grant of £2,500 from the BU Graduate School Santander Mobility Wards towards a competitive internship at the prestigious American Museum of Natural History in New York. Kyle will be working in the Biological Anthropology Department of the museum with its vast collection of human skeletal remains, an experience that will directly benefit his doctoral research on ‘Differential mortality and morbidity– a bioarchaeological approach to childhood in Roman Britain’. Supervisor Professor Holger Schutkowski says: ‘This is a lifetime opportunity and I am delighted for Kyle to have secured Santander funds.’

A view from afar…

I have recently become part of a fascinating network, the Royal Anthropological Institute, who kindly made me a Fellow. Fascinating, because they have realised, after a longer period of Sleeping-Beautyesque focus on social and cultural anthropology alone, how important it is to embrace the natural science part of anthropology, its biological, forensic and medical strands. An excellent move that will bring Anthropology and its representation in the UK back to its comprehensive and encompassing roots and remit. Good also for BU, because the RAI is recognising our contribution towards educating the next generation of anthropologists, whose combined education in humanities and science produces the rounded and aware graduates society will need in future.

Naturally, the RAI fosters broad-ranging discussions among its members, and their ‘house journal’, Anthropology Today, invites guest editorials on a regular basis. Not long ago, a former Cambridge graduate, who moved on to a highly successful career in the US, reflected on the latest changes to the UK Higher Education system, its commercialisation and consumer orientation (anthropology today). American universities have been operating this for a long time, and they are beginning to pick up the fallout now. Hugh Gusterson’s thoughtful comparison of political agendas here and campus reality there makes interesting reading – if only to avoid falling into the same traps.