Category: Conference



Critical ethnographies of cultural heritage in Mediterranean cities. Convenor: Nick Dines

Ethnographies of sport and social change. Convenors: Davide Sterchele & Dino Numerato

Ethnography and the senses. Convenor: Andrea Mubi Brighenti

Ethnography of disasters: history, resistances, struggles. Convenors: Pietro Saitta & Domenica Farinella

Ethnography of multicultural practices. Convenor: Enzo Colombo

Ethnography of populist movements. Convenors: Lynda Dematteo & Marc Abélès

Hegemony/Subalternity. Global scenarios and local practices. Convenor: Elena Bougleux

It’s a free work… When work relations become passionate. Annalisa Murgia & Maurizio Teli

Michel Foucault: ethnography and critique. Convenors: Martina Tazzioli & Orazio Irrera

New ethnographic studies on Italy’s Southern Question(s). Convenor: Domenico Perrotta

Porn Ethnography. Convenor: Gianmarco Navarini

Rhythm in social interaction: some detailed aspects of action-in-interaction. Convenors: Emanuele Bottazzi & Chiara Bassetti

Sacred creativity. Convenors: Stefania Palmisano, Giovanna Rech & Nicola Pannofino

The ethnographer’s body as heuristic instrumentConvenor: Chiara Bassetti

The material infrastructure of ethnography: objects, technologies and artifacts. Convenor: Attila Bruni

Time, Space and Labour. Convenor:  Devi Sacchetto

Urban Conflicts. Convenors: Federico Rahola & Massimiliano Guareschi

Who’s the author? And whose are the findings? Convenor: Paolo Boccagni

Why ethnography today. Emerging ethnographic practices and conventional ethnographic styles.  Convenors: Filippo Zerilli, Franco Lai, Marco Pitzalis

Full Abstract Book

Keynote Speakers

Michael Burawoy and Marc Abélès

Marc Abélès, LAIOS – Laboratoire d’Anthropologie des Institutions et des Organisations Sociales

Directeur d’études à l’EHESS, Directeur de Recherche CNRS, Directeur de l’IIAC

Opening plenary on Thursday 5th:

Globalization and the state

Globalization affects societies by redesigning both global economic space and power configurations. In this context, the states are more and more dependent on economic and the rules of financial markets. Moreover, as a political consequence of the globalization, new forms of transnational institutions are emerging and reshaping the traditional locus of power. We simultaneously experiment with the limits of the concept of sovereignty and the emergence of “multilayered governance” that seems more adjusted to the rise in power of the information society. At the same time, one can question the functionalist perspective which informs most of the studies of the transnational governance, as if the emergence of global-politics could be interpreted as a complexification of institutions necessarily responding to a new globalized order.

In this paper, leveraging on the ethnographies of the political life and institutions I conducted in France and Europe, I will focus on what I call the displacement of politics, i.e. the fact that state is no longer the only protagonist and that the Hegelian dyad of state/civil society has lost its centrality. This displacement is not limited to the appearance of a new political scene in which old institutional powers have been replaced by newer ones, more adapted to deal with the world’s changes. Actually, what can be observed is a global redefinition of the meaning and aims of political action. This redefinition is not simply cognitive. It also shows up in modes of action, in the constitution of organizational and institutional forms, in the selection of issues for public debate, and in the construction of epistemic spaces where this debate will happen. In other words, the redefinition is a matter of governmentality, in its original Foucaldian meaning. In fact, we can speak of a real transition, with a rise in preoccupations of life and survival at the heart of political action, while the issue of the Platonic city and the relationship of the individual to sovereignty, what I call convivance, is relegated to the background.


Marc Abélès is an alumnus of Ecole normale supérieure (Paris). He holds a ‘Doctorat de 3e cycle’ and a ‘Doctorat d’Etat’ in Anthropology. Marc Abélès first worked under Claude Lévi-Strauss’s supervision on the political practices of the Ochollo in southern Ethiopia. After joining CNRS he was a member of the Laboratoire d’Anthropologie Sociale from 1979 to 1995. Based on his work among the Ochollo, his subsequent research was devoted to political life and institutions in France and Europe. Elections, assembly practices, and political symbolics lie at the core of his work on political life in Burgundy (Quiet days in Burgundy: a study of local politics, 1991, orig. 1989), on the political rituals orchestrated by François Mitterrand (Anthropologie de l’État, 1990), the French Parliament (Un ethnologue à l’Assemblée, 2000), the misadventures of political representation (L’Echec en politique, 2005), and on European parliament (La vie quotidienne au Parlement européen, 1992). In 1993, Marc Abélès directed anthropological research within the European Commission at the latter’s request. More recently, his research has focused on founders of startup companies and philanthropists in Silicon Valley (Les Nouveaux riches. Un ethnologue dans la Silicon Valley, 2002), and on new powers and countervailing powers at play in globalisation (Politique de la survie, 2006). MA sat on the Comité national of CNRS from 1990 to 1998. He has run the LAIOS since its creation with other colleagues in 1995. He was also elected Directeur d’Etudes at Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in 2005, where he teaches anthropology of institutions. Marc Abélès was a Visiting Scholar at Brown University (1997), Stanford University (2000), and invited Professsor at New York University (2004), Boston University (2006), and Universidad de Buenos Aires (2006).


Michael Burawoy, University of California Berkeley

Plenary session on Friday 6th:

Philosophy of Praxis: A Gramscian Approach to Ethnography

The main thesis of this paper is that theory and method are inextricably interconnected. Starting from the subjectivity of the dominated, Bourdieu’s theory of symbolic domination leads to notions of misrecognition and the method of participant objectivation, while Touraine’s theory of postindustrial or programmed society leads to notions of historicity and the method of sociological intervention. Antonio Gramsci’s notion of hegemony combines and transcends the theories of Touraine and Bourdieu, leading to the idea of good sense within common sense, built on his philosophy of praxis and a theory of intellectual engagement.The ethnographer elaborates the good sense contained in the practical life of the subjects while combating the bad sense contained in hegemonic ideologies. This method is illustrated with the author’s ethnographies of workers in the United States, Hungary and Russia.

Michael Burawoy has studied industrial workplaces in different parts of the world — Zambia, Chicago, Hungary and Russia — through participant observation. In his different projects he has tried to cast light — from the standpoint of the workplace — on the nature of postcolonialism, on the organization of consent to capitalism, on the peculiar forms of working class consciousness and work organization in state socialism, and on the dilemmas of transition from socialism to capitalism. During the 1990s he studied post Soviet decline as “economic involution”: how the Russian economy was driven by the expansion of a range of intermediary organizations operating in the sphere of exchange (trade, finance, barter, new forms of money), and how the productive economy recentered on households and especially women. No longer able to work in factories, most recently he has turned to the study of his own workplace – the university – to consider the way sociology itself is produced and then disseminated to diverse publics. Over the course of his research and teaching, he has developed theoretically driven methodologies that allow broad conclusions to be drawn from ethnographic research and case studies. These methodologies are represented in Global Ethnography a book coauthored with 9 graduate students, which shows how globalization can be studied “from below” through participation in the lives of those who experience it. Throughout his sociological career he has engaged with Marxism, seeking to reconstruct it in the light of his research and more broadly in the light of historical challenges of the late 20th and early 21st. centuries.

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Contributors must register by April 16, 2018 at the latest to be included in the Conference Programme


Standard fee (full time employed scholars): € 105 by April 3, 2018; € 165 after April 3, 2018.

Reduced fee (PhD, unemployed/part-time scholars): € 75 by April 3, 2018; € 105 after April 3, 2018.

The fee includes:

  • access to all conference sessions;
  • yearly subscription to the journal Etnografia e Ricerca qualitativa (publishing articles in Italian, English and French);
  • buffet lunch on June 8, 2018 and coffee breaks;
  • certificate of attendance to the conference;
  • access to the pre-conference workshop if you apply and are then selected.

With an additional fee of € 20, it is possible to obtain a two-year subscription to the journal.

Optional additional fee for the Social Dinner: € 28



Yearly subs.

Two-year subs.

Yearly subs.

Two-year subs.

Early bird registration

€ 105

€ 125

€ 75

€ 95

Late registration

€ 165

€ 185

€ 105

€ 125



In order to register for the conference, please fill the registration form (coming soon) and send it, together with proof of bank transfer if you are not paying by credit card, to:

Federica Bellei (

Società editrice il Mulino
Strada Maggiore 37
40125 Bologna

tel: 051-256011

fax: 051-256034



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Keynote Speakers

Michel Agier – École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris


Wendy Espeland – Northwestern University (US)

* * *

Michel Agier is a French ethnologist and anthropologist, Professor at the Development Research Institute and as well as the School of Higher Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS) in Paris. His research focuses on the relationships between globalization, places of exile, and the formation of new urban contexts. Engaged in the associative world, Michel Agier militates for the opening of borders for migrants. ( Adapted from )

Professor Wendy Espeland works in the areas of organizations, culture, and law. Her book, The Struggle for Water: Politics, Rationality and Identity in the American Southwest was awarded the Best Book Prize by the Culture Section of the American Sociological Association, the Rachel Carson Award from the Society for the Social Studies of Science, and the Louis Brownlow Book Award from the National Academy of Public Administration. (From )

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Where to eat

Restaurants & Co.

Al Donizetti, via Gombito, 17   tel. 035/242661
Agnello d’oro, via Gombito, 22   tel. 035/249883
Ciccio Passami l’Olio, via Sant’Alessandro, 24   tel. 035/226813
Colleoni & dell’Angelo, Piazza Vecchia   tel. 035/232596
Del Gourmet, via San Vigilio   tel. 035/256110
Il Sole, via B. Colleoni, 1   tel. 035/218238
La Marianna, Largo Colle Aperto   tel. 035/237027
Ol Giopi e La Margì, via Borgo Palazzo, 27   tel. 035/249550
Ristorante/Pizzeria Arlecchino, Piazza S. Anna,1h tel. 035/210303
Ristorante/Pizzeria 900, via dello Statuto, 23 tel. 035/255210
Ristorante/Pizzeria S. Vigilio, via San Vigilio   tel. 035/253188
Ristorante Pizzeria da Franco, via Colleoni, 8, tel. 035/238565
Il Circolino, via Sant’Agata 19, tel. 035/218568
Ristorante Marienplatz Hostaria, via Pignolo, 37   tel. 035/238964
Trattoria D’ Ambrosio Giuliana, via Broseta, 58   tel. 035/402926
Trattoria Sant’Ambroeus, Piazza Vecchia   tel. 035/220545
Osteria di via Solata, via Solata   tel. 035/271993
L’Osteria del vino buono, Piazza Mercato delle scarpe, tel 035/247993
Il Pianone, via Castagneta, tel. 035/216016
Trattoria da Ornella, Via Gombito, tel. 035/232736
Ristorante Pizzeria da Mimmo, via Colleoni, tel. 035/218535
Lounge Bar, Take away Città alta, Bergamo.
Caffè del Tasso, Piazza Vecchia, tel. 035/237966
Ai Giardini (Aperitivi & Drink), , P.zale della Repubblica, 2 b
Bar S. Vigilio, via Castello di S. Vigilio   tel. 035/253191
Bar Le Iris, viale Vittorio Emanuele II, 12   tel. 035/217037
Blue Bar (Tavola calda), via Stezzano
Birreria del Pozzo Bianco, via Porta Dipinta, 30   tel. 035/247694
Pub Papageno, via B. Colleoni, 1b   tel. 035/236624
Tsunami (Sushi bar, ristorante giapponese) organizza colazioni, via Statuto, 19 A
Vineria Cozzi, via B. Colleoni, 22   tel. 035/238836

How to get there

Conference Venues: (Piazzale Sant’Agostino, 2  &  Via Pignolo, 123)

From Orio al Serio International Airport

Bus ATB no. 1 to Città Alta (Upper Town) – Bus stop: Porta Sant’Agostino.

(The bus ticket from the Airport costs 2,10€ per trip; the journey will take half an hour; buses run every 15 minutes.)

From Bergamo Railway Station

Bus ATB no. 1 to Città Alta (Upper Town) – Bus stop: Porta Sant’Agostino

(The bus ticket from the Railway Station costs 1,25€ per trip; the ticket is valid for 75 minutes; the journey will take around 15 minutes; buses run every 15 minutes.)

From the highway

Exit the highway A4. Follow signs for BERGAMO CENTRO, via Autostrada.
Take: via San Giorgio. Procede to: via Pietro Paleocapa.
Continue toward: viale Papa Giovanni XXIII. Arrival at: Largo Porta Nuova.         Procede along: viale Roma. Then take: viale Vittorio Emanuele II.  Arrival at: Porta Sant’Agostino.

You reach: Piazzale Sant’Agostino, 2 (main Conference Venue).

For information:



Bergamo (Italy) – June 6-9, 2018


Organized by:

University of Bergamo

Etnografia e Ricerca Qualitativa (ERQ) / Ethnography and Qualitative Research

il Mulino

Since 2006, the Ethnography and Qualitative Research Conference in Bergamo has become an increasingly recognised and established scientific meeting for social researchers. The Conference is organised bi-annually, and has grown positively both in terms of numbers (with the 2016 edition gathering almost 300 scholars) and in terms of its international impact (with nearly half the participants coming from outside Italy).

The 2018 Ethnography and Qualitative Research Conference aims to build on the rich intellectual discussion developed during the previous editions. Researchers from across a variety of disciplines including sociology, anthropology, political sciences, arts & humanities, education, social work, geography, cultural studies, science and technology studies, and gender studies are able to present their research, discuss findings, theory and methodology in a lively and friendly environment.

The core mission of the conference is to:

    •    foster scholarly exchange and facilitate research collaborations among senior and junior scholars based in different universities and research centres in Europe and further afield;

    •    support the dissemination of fresh, original research;

    •    encourage PhD students at different stages of their research to share and present preliminary findings and fieldwork experience;

    •    welcome graduate and undergraduate students as members of the audience and active participants in conference discussions.

The conference embraces and endorses a broad, ambitious view of ethnographic research. Ethnography is understood as an inquiry into the processes, implications, and meanings of social life and culture in groups, organizations, and institutions across diverse social spaces and settings. Accordingly, contributions can be based on a variety of methods, including participant observation, in-depth interviews, focus groups, video-based field studies, auto-ethnography, visual ethnography, discourse studies, and other forms of inquiry inspired and informed by an ethnographic sensibility. The Conference welcomes empirically grounded, theoretically informed, and methodologically sound proposals that contribute to the substantive knowledge of the social world and contemporary emerging phenomena.

The 7th edition features keynote talks and thematic sessions (see the full list below) addressing current key issues such as migration in its various aspect and the neoliberal turn in academic life and higher education. The format is based on 3-hour sessions with 5 to 6 paper presentations per session, leaving as much room as possible for debate and discussion.

“This is not a conference, it’s a feast!”, said a participant during the 6th edition.

Join us in celebrating the ethnographic passion!

* * *

About the 2018 totemic person. Who is the person pictured in the banner above? For each Conference edition, we have selected an Italian intellectual who, while not being an ethnographer stricto sensu, has revealed a prominent ethnographic sensitivity in his/her work. By doing so, we want to both emphasise the many sources of ethnography and invite scholars to re-consider the work of certain Italian writers and artists whose attitude can be still quite inspirational nowadays. In 2014, we featured Antonio Gramsci, in 2016 Pier Paolo Pasolini. For the 2018 edition, we have chosen Tina Modotti.

* * *

Scientific & Organizing Committee

Chiara Bassetti, University of Trento (

Elena Bougleux, University of Bergamo (

Andrea Mubi Brighenti, University of Trento (

Sebastiano Citroni, University of Milano Bicocca (

Nick Dines, European University Institute (

Giolo Fele, University of Trento (

Elena Fontanari, University of Milano (

Paola Gandolfi, University of Bergamo (

Pier Paolo Giglioli, University of Bologna (

Alberta Giorgi, University of Bergamo (

Alessandra Gribaldo, University of Bologna (

Marco Marzano, University of Bergamo (

Cristina Mattiucci, University of Trento (

Gianmarco Navarini, University of Milano Bicocca (

Francesca Pasquali, University of Bergamo (

Domenico Perrotta, University of Bergamo (

Federico Rahola, University of Genova (


How to Submit

To submit your proposal please send an e-mail to the convenor/s of the session of your choice and to the conference committee (, indicating the title of the chosen session. Please send:

  • the title of your talk and an abstract of maximum 1000 words (.doc, .docx, .odt, .txt, .rtf);
  • your contact details (full name, e-mail, post address and affiliation) and those of your co-author/s, if any;
  •  if you like (we would like!), a short videotalk (2 min. max.), not necessarily a piece of what your proposed talk would be, but a sort of teaser trailer for it, and a piece of you too (by sending the video, you thereby allow the organizing committee to upload the video at its discretion, in full or cut form, on the youtube channel of Etnografia e Ricerca Qualitativa:

Abstracts (and video talks) must be submitted in English. The official languages of the conference, however, are Italian, English, and French; for each session, languages will be used depending on the participants composition.

NEW DEADLINE                                                                                                                        Proposal must be submitted by January 15, 2018. January 22, 2018

Acceptance of proposals will be notified by March 12, 2018.

Contributors must register by April 16, 2018 to be included in the program.

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Porn Ethnography

Convenor: Gianmarco Navarini (Università di Milano Bicocca)

A man attending a slide show on Africa turns to his wife and says with guilt in his voice: “I’ve seen some pornography this night”. (Trinh T.Minh-Ha, Reassemblage)

On the xvideo website, one of the most popular among the fans of this genre, each video is given a score defined as “porn quality”. However it seems that no one ever understood what that means.

In 1955 Geoffrey Gorer argued that natural death had turned into pornography. Half a century later Jean Baudrillard attributed the same character to new wars.

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