Events 2020

5th Vienna Ethnography Laboratory


Mobilities and Care. Transformations of belonging and inequalities.

Senior guests: Angela Garcia (Stanford University) and Laura Merla (UC Louvain). This year’s lab takes place both online and on-site – we’re looking forward to inspiring contributions and lively discussions! 

Have a look at the program!

Group photo: Organizers and participants of the 5th Vienna Ethnography Laboratory.
Organizers and participants of the 5th Vienna Ethnography Laboratory

16th EASA


Three of our CaSt-members are hosting panels at this year’s EASA conference New anthropological horizons in and beyond Europe, which will take place virtually.

Christof Lammer (Alpen-Adria-University Klagenfurt) & André Thiemann (Riga Stradiņš University): Infrastructures of Value: Uniqueness and Genericness in Agri-Food Chains.
Value has often been discussed with examples from agriculture. On this old terrain, this panel opens new views on valuation through the lens of infrastructure. This directs attention to material creations of uniqueness and genericness and challenges persistent binaries in economic anthropology: artisan versus industrial production, gift versus commodity exchange, capitalism versus socialism, civil society versus state, community versus market.

Christof Lammer | André Thiemann

Ivan Rajković (University of Vienna) & Larisa Kurtović (University of Ottawa): Water Will Rise: New Political Lives of a Life-giving Substance. This panel asks how this “turn to water” reshapes collective life and the political itself, by simultaneously making it naturalised, popularised, and sacralised.

Ivan Rajković

IUAES Congress


Eco-Warriors in the Name of Life: Generations, Nature and the Actual Degrowth of the Balkans

Ivan Rajković is co-organising a panel at the next IUAES congress “Coming of Age on Earth: Legacies and Next Generation Anthropology” in Šibenik, Croatia. The panel, co-convened with Ana Banić Grubišić (University of Belgrade) deals with intersections of generational, demographic and ecological matters in Southeast Europe.

Ivan Rajković

Conference: Anthropology of state performance, kinship and relatedness


Rīga Stradiņš University, Riga, Latvia

Political theories have predicted decline and demise of kin relations in
modern societies, particularly due to advancing bureaucratic state.
Meanwhile anthropologists have criticised the concept of kinship as
ethnocentric and therefore problematic for analysis. However, concepts
such as blood, kin, family, descent, origin have been and remain
crucial in the way nation state is conceived and performed (see for
instance Herzfeld 2005; Strathern 1992; Thelen & Alber 2018). Moreover,
development of reproductive and other technologies as well as genetic
research challenge prior concepts and practices of relatedness and thus
identify new directions in the ways states are performed.

Along the explorations of state-kinship interfaces, the conference
invites to scrutinise the concept of the state as a result and a process
of performance. Here fruitful ideas may be drawn from authors that have
written on states as explicitly consisting of and originating in
performances (e.g., Yurchak (2006), Reeves et al (2014)) as well as the
concept of performance in other fields (including, for instance, Victor
Turner’s insights on drama (1974), Scott’s writings on transcripts
(1990) or Judith Butler’s views on gender (2006)).

The objective of this conference is to bring together researchers to
provide a detailed and empirically based understanding of the interplay
between relatedness and the way a nation state is “done” or

The current Covid-19 crisis provides a particularly fertile ground for
exploring interaction between state performance, family and kinship. For
example, as the main weight of fighting the virus seemingly is carried
by the state institutions, it is families where people tend to spend
their “social distancing” and self-isolation. Thus, new insights
from the time of Covid-19 are welcome to be included in this discussion.

Public Lectures

postponed: new date tba

The Work of Financial Market Experts: a Cultural Approach

Understanding and anticipating market movements plays a critical role in current capitalist activity. Through the assessment of the present and the engagement in the unknowable future, financial-market participants create financial opportunities. At the heart of this process is the work of financial experts who claim to provide ‘thorough analyses’ of market movements. In this talk, I will describe how financial analysts deploy various techniques to formulate financial-market predictions. On the basis of ethnographic data collected during two years of fieldwork in the financial analysis department of an internationally operating bank, I illustrate how analysts capitalize on ‘feeling’, individualized strategies and narration to come up with explanatory narratives about possible future market scenarios. I argue that financial analysts use such techniques to construct meaning in an environment of radical uncertainty. Their work as experts in finance helps financial-market participants think of their investment practices as not simply ‘speculative’, but based on reason.

Stefan Leins

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