Work with Theodoros on solidarity or democracy

Democracy in the work place

Cooperative anthropologies invite students to participate in projects of studying cooperative environments of work and social life. How is industrial and labour democracy organized? How are the questions and themes of solidarity and direct democracy addressed in the field?

Cooperatives, cooperation and cooperativism are partly driving the world ‘Economy’ and, most importantly, are organizing principles for the livelihoods of many (according to ICC, one billion people). Coops operate in the agrarian, industrial, consumption and distribution sectors of local, regional and national economies. They mobilise people around sharing assets, co-shaping labour and deciding on their own fates, by virtue of voting in their assemblies.

Cooperative anthropologies invite students to participate in projects of studying cooperative environments of work and social life. How is industrial and labour democracy organized? How are the questions and themes of solidarity and direct democracy addressed in the field? How are people managing their cooperating lives with a number of other obligations they have in their private lives (including attachments to kin, the household and other types of communities)? How are coops helping people go about their lives in the current predicament of global capitalist crisis?

An idea of a cooperative anthropologies also concerns the ways we do fieldwork, and the multiple commitments we are engaged in too, as anthropologists. The practice of doing research in ambiences that require membership is an issue in many fieldworks that can extend beyond the immediate interests in coops.  

Solidarity or not? Humanitarian concern and refugees in Europe

What does provisioning for others do to “hosts’” notions of selfhood and sociality? How is solidarity geared by and coarticulated with “hospitality?” How do we understand notions of inclusion and exclusion in a Europe that is increasingly inimical to its others?

There is a rising discourse accompanied by practices and discourses of solidarity towards the arrivals of people in contemporary Europe, refugees and migrants from the middle-East, South Asia and Africa. There is also much xenophobia and debates of suspicion around these disfranchised people. As anthropologists, we can analyse what motivates people in solidarity practice towards refugees, and how idioms and ideas of solidarity are deployed in provision and welfare towards “the Other”. Amidst a growing NGO sector, solidarity is both mobilized for and against the aid industry, a sophisticated system of charity that often encounters critique; many of these NGOs and their employeers or volunteers are Danish or Norwegian. Alongside this condition, places like the Eastern Aegean islands of Greece have seen a massive tendency towards helping refugees through informal means of a grassroots humanitarianism, often based on sheer empathy.

What does provisioning for others do to “hosts’” notions of selfhood and sociality? How is solidarity geared by and coarticulated with “hospitality?” How do we understand notions of inclusion and exclusion in a Europe that is increasingly inimical to its others?

In a Mediterranean context of financial crisis and people’s forced movement, as well as  a Scandinavian context of relative affluence, students are invited to examine the meanings of solidarity, humanitarianism and charity, as well as the affects and feelings that mobilises people towards a praxis that addresses others in an inclusive, provisioning manner. Solidarity is an idea with a long history in Western thought, but also a practice that has been taking material and political form recently, working as informal welfare towards needing subjects.

In the setting of humanitarian solidarity, that operates beyond market and state and rests upon voluntary work done informally, the formation of group action is an original, collective endeavor. It is a fertile ground for anthropological engagement with otherness and sameness, as well as reflection on the political state of contemporary Europe.

Published Aug. 22, 2018 1:59 PM - Last modified Nov. 9, 2018 9:43 AM