The Institute of Social Anthropology at the University of Bern is pleased to announce the upcoming Anthropology Talks taking place on the 5th and 6th of October 2021. In this lecture and workshop series, we invite influential scholars in social and cultural anthropology to discuss their current research. Anthropology Talks 2021 features Prof. Didier Fassin, Anne-Claire Defossez, Judith Marcou and Lorenzo Alunni. (Here you can find information on their current research project "Crisis. A Global Inquiry into the Contemporary Moment".)
Registration: Students please register for the lecture and the workshops via KSL, all others via email to email@example.com.
European migration policies have created borderlands where
individuals on the move experience precarious living conditions and find
themselves between life and death. Judith Marcou and Lorenzo Alunni’s
ethnographic works explore contemporary workings of borders, through the
prisms of practices of border detention and the management of
healthcare at the border. Marcou’s current ethnographic fieldwork takes
place in French border detention centres, called the ‘waiting zones’.
Her research focuses on the criminalisation of migration, institutional
violence, and border-crossing experience. Alunni’s presentation is based
on his ethnographic work in Lampedusa. He focuses on health issues
through the articulation of two perspectives: healthcare provision for
migrants as a form of border management, and the embodiment of borders.
Through their ethnographic approaches, the two presentations aim to
suggest a common framework for a discussion on the “migrant crisis” and
the different forms and effects of its local production and elaboration.
* Registration is requested on CTS (KSL) or via email (only for guests).
Politics of immigration are commonly presented in terms of policies
of control of flows, especially so since 2015 when many displaced
persons arrived in Europe through the Mediterranean causing what was
called the “migrant crisis” by governments or the “refugee crisis” by
non-governmental organizations. Starting with the ethnography of a scene
at the French-Italian border where I have been conducting research in
the past three years, I will propose a critical approach bringing
together the various protagonists of this scene: the exiles, whether
individuals or families; the volunteers, whether working as rescuers or
in shelters; border patrols, whether from the police or the army. Within
a few years, what was a free traffic zone between the two countries
under the Schengen regulation has become a highly tense area where
migrants and refugees risk their life crossing in the mountain above the
pass, where a unique social movement has emerged to assist them, and
where the state has deployed an impressive military presence while
recognizing its concrete inefficacy. It is this dramaturgy that I will
explore, considering the performative function of the politics of
* The event is for registered persons only. Participants
must hold a valid Covid-19 certificate (vaccinated, recovered or
tested). Certificates will be checked at the entrance. Please register
via KSL or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The French-Italian border in the Alps has become the arena where two
logics of intervention towards migrants and refugees compete, and where
the lives of exiles are treated in irreconcilable ways, implemented by
protagonists with opposing goals and positions. The first logic is based
on the constitutional principle of fraternity. This is the logic on the
basis of which activists (they call themselves solidaires)
champion the principle of the unconditional rescue and welcome of all
migrants. The second logic rests on the principle of the State’s
sovereignty, the fight against illegal immigration being one of its
components. According to this logic, which is enforced by the police and
the gendarmerie, the State has the right to control the borders and to
decide who is granted access to the national territory.
Based on long-term fieldwork, this presentation describes the scene
at the border and discusses the theoretical approaches of hospitality
(Arendt, Derrida) as well as sovereignty and biopolitics (Foucault,
Agamben), posing the question of the value of actual and concrete,
rather than metaphysical or abstract, lives.
*Registration is requested on CTS (KSL) or via email (only for guests).
In this interactive workshop, Didier Fassin proposes a brief
reflection on the violation of academic freedom before discussing
contemporary examples of attacks on critical thinking with the workshop