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!

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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.

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NEW: Open Session – Convenors: Giolo Fele & Gianmarco Navarini

  1. The Intimate Life of Power – Convenor: Pietro Saitta (pisait@gmail.com)
  2. Street-corner politics. Urban everyday life and the art of living together – Convenors: Sebastiano Citroni & Carole Gayet-Viaud (sebastiano.citroni@unimib.it; carole_gayet@yahoo.fr)
  3. ‘Cultures of Combat’: Qualitative Studies of Martial Arts, Fighting Systems and Combat Sports – Convenors: David Brown, George Jennings & Dr. Lorenzo Pedrini (dbrown@cardiffmet.ac.uk, GBJennings@cardiffmet.ac.uk, l.pedrini5@campus.unimib.it)
  4. Ethnography of university life in the era of evaluation – Convenors: Marco Pitzalis & Filippo Zerilli (pitzalis@unica.it; zerilli@unica.it)
  5. Ethnography of Fascisms – Convenor: Charlie Barnao (charliebarnao@gmail.com)
  6. Ethnographies of asylum seeker reception – Convenors: Michela Semprebon & Roberta Marzorati (roberta.marzorati@unimib.it, michela.semprebon@unibo.it)
  7. Migrant Masculinities and Global Religions. Exploring Gendered Religious Change through International Mobility – Convenors: Ester Gallo & Francesca Scrinzi (ester.gallo@unitn.it,  Francesca.Scrinzi@eui.eu)
  8. Be(ar)ing witness: Testimony, evidence and subjectivation in institutional contexts – Convenors: Alessandra Gribaldo, Tommaso Sbriccoli  & Barbara Sorgoni (alessandra.gribaldo2@unibo.it, barbara.sorgoni@unito.it, tommasosbriccoli@gmail.com)
  9. Comparing What? Conceptualising comparison in migration and urban studies– Convenors: Nicholas DeMaria Harney & Andrea mubi Brighenti (nharney@uwindsor.ca, andrea.brighenti@unitn.it)
  10. Work, Consumption and Social Relations: Processual Approaches to the Platform Society  – Convenors: Chiara Bassetti, Annalisa Murgia & Maurizio Teli (chiara.bassetti@unitn.it,  a.murgia@leeds.ac.uk, maurizio.teli@m-iti.org)
  11. Minors in migration: Comparative Approaches - Convenors:
    Simona Tersigni & Lorenzo Navone (simona.tersigni@u-paris10.fr, lo.navone@gmail.com)
  12. Ethnographic studies of tourism – Convenors: Monica Gilli & Giovanna Rech (monica.gilli@unito.it, giovanna.rech@unitn.it)
  13. Experiencing the Sacred between Religion and Spirituality – Convenors: Stefania Palmisano, Nicola Pannofino & Emily Pierini (stefania.palmisano@unito.it, nicolaluciano.pannofino@unito.it, e.pierini@aur.edu)
  14. Contested Rights: Minorities and Justice – Convenors: Paola Bonizzoni & Alberta Giorgi (paola.bonizzoni@unimi.it, alberta.giorgi@unibg.it)
  15. Critical ethnographies of African media and creative industries – Convenor: Alessandro Jedlowski (alessandro.jedlowski@gmail.com)
  16. Ethnographies of racialized labour processes - Convenors: Vando Borghi & Devi Sacchetto (vando.borghi@unibo.it, devi.sacchetto@unipd.it)
  17. Informal labour brokers and contemporary capitalist economies  – Convenors: Timothy Raeymaekers & Domenico Perrotta (timothy.raeymaekers@geo.uzh.ch, domenico.perrotta@unibg.it)
  18. New patterns of intra-EU migration? Ethnographic insights on labour and welfare experiences of migrant workers  – Convenors: Gabriella Alberti, Diego Coletto & Giovanna Fullin (G.Alberti@leeds.ac.uk, diego.coletto@unimib.it, giovanna.fullin@unimib.it)
  19. Processes of criminalization and qualitative research  – Convenors: Alvise Sbraccia & Francesca Vianello (alvise.sbraccia@unibo.it, francesca.vianello@unipd.it)
  20. Visual research of migrations and other border experiences. What about politics and aesthetics?– Convenors:  Annalisa Frisina, Valentina Anzoise and Camilla Hawthorne (annalisa.frisina@unipd.it, valentina.anzoise@unive.it, camilla.hawthorne@berkeley.edu)
  21. What sort of Fieldwork and Participant Observation in today’s Maghreb? – Convenors: Mohamed Kerrou & Paola Gandolfi (mkerrou@gmail.com, paola.gandolfi@unibg.it)
  22. Un/Sustainable Practices in a Scarcity-Driven World - Convenors: Elena Bougleux & Sara Bonfanti (elena.bougleux@unibg.it, sara.bonfanti@unibg.it)
  23. Playing on the Move: Rethinking Sport, Migration and Play through Inter-relationality – Convenors: Estella Carpi, Chiara Diana & Stefano Fogliata (estella.carpi@gmail.com, dianachiara3@gmail.com, stefano.fogliata@gmail.com)
  24. Death in European Society: Field Research Experiences – Convenors: Roberta Bartoletti, Asher Colombo & Francesca Pasquali (roberta.bartoletti@uniurb.it, asherdaniel.colombo@unibo.it, francesca.pasquali@unibg.it)

The abstract-book-2018 is available for download.

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Keynote Speakers

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

Empathy as method: reflections on the ethnographic encounter


Wendy Espeland - Northwestern University (US)

Visibility and Invisibility Through Numbers


Lonnie Athens - Seton Hall University, New York

Park’s Theory of the Human Habitat: A Radical Interactionist’s Critique

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 https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Agier )

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 http://www.sociology.northwestern.edu/people/faculty/core/wendy-espeland.html )

Lonnie Athens is Professor of Criminal Justice. His research interests  are in criminology; domination,violence, and conflict; and naturalistic methods. He is the author of three books : Domination and Subjugation in Everyday Life, The Creation of Dangerous Violent Criminals, and Violent Criminal Acts and Actors Revisited. He also has edited or co-edited several anthologies, including Violent Acts and Violentization: Assessing, Applying and Developing Lonnie Athens’ Theories  and Radical Interactionism on the Rise. (From https://www.shu.edu/profiles/lonnieathens.cfm)

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Pre-conference workshop


Chiara Bassetti, Andrea Mubi Brighenti, Sebastiano Citroni, Alessandra Gribaldo, Gianmarco Navarini


Max. 15 selected Ph.D. Students or junior Post-Doctoral Researchers.

Registered conference participants may take part to the workshop for free.

Dates & place

June 6th, from 3:00 PM to 6:30 PM and June 7th, from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM

University of Bergamo, Pignolo Building, Room: TBA

 Aims & Objectives

The workshop will constitute an opportunity for Ph.D. Students and junior Post-Doctoral Researchers engaged in ethnographic and qualitative research to share their research experience with colleagues and senior researchers in an informal, stimulating environment. More specifically, the workshop will focus on several challenges of conducting ethnography and qualitative research in the current academic and societal context, including:

– How to connect ethnographic data to substantive social theory, and how to advance social theory through ethnography;

– How to carry out ethnographic research across various disciplines in the social sciences, and beyond;

– How can the ethnographic insight help in becoming more reflective and keep the passion alive while making one’s way into the academic world and an array of research institutions;

– What is the current situation and prospect for early and mid-stage ethnographic researches in terms of career opportunities and career advancement, in the current academic labor market.

Selection procedure

If you are interested in participating to the pre-conference workshop, please send one-page statement describing your situation and critical reflection concerning one or more challenge (among those mentioned above and others as well). Alternatively, you may send one-page statement summarizing the main theoretical dimension you have been able to explore thanks to your ethnographic/qualitative research and doctoral dissertation.

Plese send your statement by April 30, 2018 to erq.conference@unibg.it with “Pre-conference workshop application” as e-mail subject.

Based on the proposals, two groups may be formed – one specifically concerned with theoretical development, and one more focused on conducting ethnography and developing a career as ethnographers in the current academy.

The groups will finally come together to share their insights on theory development and career advancement in ethnography and qualitative research.

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Scientific & Organizing Committee

Chiara Bassetti, University of Trento (chiara.bassetti@unitn.it)

Elena Bougleux, University of Bergamo (elena.bougleux@unibg.it)

Andrea Mubi Brighenti, University of Trento (andrea.brighenti@unitn.it)

Sebastiano Citroni, University of Milano Bicocca (sebastiano.citroni@unimib.it)

Nick Dines, European University Institute (nicholas.dines@eui.eu)

Giolo Fele, University of Trento (giolo.fele@unitn.it)

Elena Fontanari, University of Milano (elena.fontanari@unimi.it)

Paola Gandolfi, University of Bergamo (paola.gandolfi@unibg.it)

Pier Paolo Giglioli, University of Bologna (pierpaolo.giglioli@unibo.it)

Alberta Giorgi, University of Bergamo (alberta.giorgi@unibg.it)

Alessandra Gribaldo, University of Bologna (alessandra.gribaldo2@unibo.it)

Marco Marzano, University of Bergamo (marco.marzano@unibg.it)

Cristina Mattiucci, University of Trento (cristina.mattiucci@unitn.it)

Gianmarco Navarini, University of Milano Bicocca (gianmarco.navarini@unimib.it)

Francesca Pasquali, University of Bergamo (francesca.pasquali@unibg.it)

Domenico Perrotta, University of Bergamo (domenico.perrotta@unibg.it)

Federico Rahola, University of Genova (federico.rahola@unige.it)

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