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InterGender PhD course:
Ethnographies of gendered mobility and imaginaries

June 15-27, 2009

Deadline for application:
May 8, 2009

Luleå University, Sweden

Prof. Sharon Traweek UCLA, USA
Prof. Ulf Mellström LTU, Sweden
Dr. Ulrika Dahl, SH, Sweden

Prof. Ulf Mellström in collaboration with Prof. Nina Lykke, Director of the Research School.

Course description:
Ethnography as an organising methodological principle is in the beginning of the 21st century facing numerous complex challenges as new forms of global, national, regional, and translocal assemblages of people, spatialities and temporalities are emerging. Present day globalisation has brought change on many levels of mobility, circulation and migration, although maybe not configured in the free flow utopia of the early globalists optimism, but in new as well as old reinvigorated cartographies of human mobility. Gradually, globalisation theory has come to conceptualise circuits of movement as highly conditioned and/or channelled (Tsing 2000, Freeman 2001). In these “channel-making” processes, mobility and migration is to be seen as a contested and tentative formation of scales and landscapes, facilitating, organising, and constraining human mobility in particular ways (Tsing 2000, Lindkvist 2008). Gendered notions and practises of mobility, flows, migration and imaginaries are increasingly given attention as one of the most important organising principles for multiple economic, social, and cultural migratory practises and imaginaries (Moore 1988, 1994, Traweek 1988, Reid and Traweek 2000, Harding and Narayan 2000, Mellström 2003, Kabeer 2008). Gender, both as a social relation and a symbolic construction organise such practises and analytical themes such as for instance labour relations, work-modes, desire, and belonging. Furthermore, in global “power geometries” (Massey 1994, Connell 2000) gender inquiries combined with an intersectional approach also challenge distinctions such as formal and informal, public-domestic in new digital economies and geographies (Lindkvist 2008, Seligman 2004, Kabeer 2008).

A common experience in ethnographic work the last decades is that the ethnographer often seems to be less mobile than the research subjects. The multi-sitedness as well as the multi-situatedness of ethnography is part and parcel of the methodological working conditions and will be critically explored in this course. The course will use a number of ethnographic examples (in-situ and virtual) to ask how local gendered forms of knowingness are combined with translocality and strategically situated ethnography. It will introduce a broad experience of different forms of ethnographic work and how this particular way of approaching the world can be effectively transformed and textualised in interdisciplinary gender studies.

The course will focus on the how’s, what’s and when’s of ethnography, in other words how to go about doing ethnographic fieldwork. The participants own experiences will be used as an extensive resource for discussing methodological and epistemological dilemmas, possibilities and trajectories.


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