In the Frictions. Fragments of Care, Health, and Wellbeing in the Balkans

Apr 27 – Apr 30, 2023 

Con­fer­ence at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Zadar, Croa­t­ia orga­nized by the Depart­ment of Eth­nol­o­gy and Anthro­pol­o­gy, Uni­ver­si­ty of Zadar, Croa­t­ia and the Insti­tute for Phi­los­o­phy and Social The­o­ry, Uni­ver­si­ty of Bel­grade, Serbia

Care has been broad­ly defined as “every­thing that we do to main­tain, con­tin­ue, and repair our ‚world’ so that we can live in it as well as pos­si­ble” (Fish­er and Tron­to 1991, p. 40). Com­plex rela­tions of care sus­tain our lives and are nec­es­sary not only for the sur­vival of humans and non­hu­mans alike, but also for their flour­ish­ing. Struc­tured through var­i­ous mech­a­nisms and insti­tu­tions, from kin­ships to states, care pro­duces var­i­ous forms of inti­ma­cy and relatedness.

In the wake of the Covid 19 pan­dem­ic, there has been a resur­gence of inter­est in care, health, and well­be­ing across var­i­ous dis­ci­plines. We are inter­est­ed in how anthro­pol­o­gy has respond­ed to the urgent changes in the field of care and in iden­ti­fy­ing the after­math of Covid-19 and post-Covid-19 real­i­ties in the Balkans.

We rec­og­nize, how­ev­er, that the pan­dem­ic has been only one of the most recent dis­rup­tions in rela­tions of care and acknowl­edge that the real-world pro­grams of neolib­er­al restruc­tur­ing are not lin­ear paths that con­verge but are forged in fric­tions of sit­u­at­ed encoun­ters with ear­li­er social and cul­tur­al land­scapes. While the term „Balka­ns” is fraught with ambiva­lent mean­ings and asso­ci­a­tions, this con­fer­ence aims to move away from Balka­nism (Todor­o­va, 2009) and dichoto­mous frame­works to rethink the Balka­ns as a site of knowl­edge pro­duc­tion that has more to offer than just “catch­ing up” with the West. What the­o­ret­i­cal and method­olog­i­cal issues do anthro­pol­o­gists face in their research in the Balka­ns? How do peo­ple in the Balka­ns relate to one anoth­er with­in car­ing rela­tion­ships them­selves? What does care look like in prac­tice and what does it entail? How are car­ing rela­tion­ships shaped and changed? How do these expe­ri­ences and rela­tion­ships inform or chal­lenge broad­er the­o­ret­i­cal concerns?

We see this con­fer­ence as a step towards build­ing a net­work of anthro­pol­o­gists work­ing on the issues of care in SEE. Pos­si­ble top­ics include but are not lim­it­ed to:

Struc­tur­al vio­lence and care;

Gen­der­ing care;

Racial­iz­ing care;

Sol­i­dar­i­ty and care;

Nar­ra­tives of (health)care;

Spir­i­tu­al­i­ty and care;

Pub­lic and pri­vate health/care;

Human­i­tar­i­an­ism and care;

Care and the commons;

Ecol­o­gy, ecofem­i­nist care;

Care and social class

Care and mobility

Care and the economy

Care and the state

We invite sub­mis­sions for pre­sen­ta­tions of up to 15 min­utes. Please send pro­pos­als of no more than 300 words and a brief bio­graph­i­cal note (100 words) by Octo­ber 15th, 2022. All appli­cants will be noti­fied of their sub­mis­sion sta­tus with­in four weeks of the appli­ca­tion deadline.

Appli­ca­tions should be sent in a sin­gle Word doc­u­ment. The file name should include the author’s name. The appli­ca­tion should include:

* an abstract (max. 300 words)

* a short bio­graph­i­cal note includ­ing your insti­tu­tion­al affil­i­a­tion, con­tact infor­ma­tion, and major pub­li­ca­tions (100 words)

The con­fer­ence will be held at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Zadar, Croa­t­ia between the 27and30 April 2023.

For addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion, please con­tact Jele­na Kup­s­jak at or Ljil­jana Pan­tović at


Con­fer­ence fees (which will cov­er a con­fer­ence pack­age, cof­fee breaks and a wel­come recep­tion) are:

70 Euros for post-doc­tor­ate schol­ars who are attached to insti­tu­tions out­side of the Balkans

60 Euros for post-doc­tor­ate schol­ars who are attached to insti­tu­tions in the Balkans

50 Euros for PhD stu­dents who are attached to insti­tu­tions out­side of Balkans

40 Euros for PhD stu­dents who are attached to insti­tu­tions from the Balkans


*We have applied for fund­ing to cov­er expens­es of trav­el and accom­mo­da­tion for young schol­ars par­tic­i­pat­ing in the con­fer­ence. Should we receive the fund­ing these par­tic­i­pants will be able to apply for a trav­el and accom­mo­da­tion grant.

**Deci­sions about trav­el grant allo­ca­tion will be made based on self-report­ed insti­tu­tion­al sta­tus and income. Upon selec­tion of par­tic­i­pants, we will issue an instruc­tion on how to apply for the grant.