25. – 28. Jul 2023

Being in/ at Work: Repositioning Knowledge about Work, Disability, Chronicity


Pan­el at the DGSKA (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sozial- und Kul­tur­an­thro­polo­gie) con­fer­ence in Munich

Just a short reminder of our pan­el on work and disability/chronicity at next year’s DGSKA (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sozial- und Kul­tur­an­thro­polo­gie) con­fer­ence in Munich (25–28 July 2023). We hope to cre­ate a plat­form for schol­ars inter­est­ed in how people’s being at/in work relate to expe­ri­ences of dis­abil­i­ty and chronic­i­ty, in par­tic­u­lar in (but not restrict­ed to) con­texts of the Glob­al South. Your con­tri­bu­tions to the pan­el will hope­ful­ly lead to a spe­cial issue that taps into this (neglect­ed) field.

Sub­mis­sions (max. 200 words) should go to The Call for Paper runs until 15 Decem­ber 2022. Please con­sid­er sub­mit­ting an abstract and cir­cu­late widely.

Being in/ at Work: Repo­si­tion­ing Knowl­edge about Work, Dis­abil­i­ty, Chronic­i­ty (Work­shop)

Dis­abil­i­ty and chronic­i­ty are terms that seek to cap­ture bioso­cial expe­ri­ences that inter­sect with, and affect, how peo­ple engage in work, labor or employ­ment. This pan­el is focused on how peo­ple nav­i­gate dis­abling, debil­i­tat­ing and/or are enabling expe­ri­ences in and through work, and how these expe­ri­ences are shaped by the social local­i­ties from which they emerge. We place empha­sis on how work becomes sig­nif­i­cant for peo­ple whose bod­i­ly con­di­tions or appear­ances are pro­duced as ‘oth­er’ in respec­tive soci­eties, or who expe­ri­ence pain or chron­ic ill­ness that delim­it (but maybe also reshape or expand) their pos­si­bil­i­ties to con­tribute to com­mu­ni­ties and oth­er social arrange­ments. Depart­ing from the focus on work-relat­ed exclu­sion put for­ward in pre­vi­ous inquiries in anthro­pol­o­gy and relat­ed dis­ci­plines, we attend to pos­i­tive rela­tions between occu­pa­tion­al iden­ti­ties and work embod­i­ments on the one hand, and expe­ri­ences of dis­abil­i­ty and chronic­i­ty on the oth­er. Explor­ing new angles on the inter­play between ‘being dis­abled’ and ‘being in/at work’, we ask whether and how work ‘works’ as a form to aban­don or to prob­lema­tize con­struc­tions of dis­abil­i­ty. The work­shop will bring togeth­er schol­ars who address one or more of the fol­low­ing concerns:

Co-Con­sti­tu­tion: How are forms of dis­abil­i­ty and/or chronic­i­ty defined in con­nec­tion to notions and ideas of work? And vice ver­sa, how do dis­abil­i­ty and chronic­i­ty shape extant forms of labor?

Mean­ing-Mak­ing: How do peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ty and/or chron­ic con­di­tions in dif­fer­ent local­i­ties around the globe per­form and talk about their work?

Cri­tique: How can embed­ded under­stand­ings of dis­abil­i­ty, chronic­i­ty and work be brought to estrange the work­ings of admin­is­tra­tive pro­ce­dures, ide­olo­gies and polit­i­cal arrangements?

Reflec­tion and Auto-Ethnog­ra­phy: To what degree is the labor of anthro­pol­o­gists shaped by ableist con­cep­tions? Which poten­tial does dis­abil­i­ty hold to explore exclu­sion­ary dimen­sions of anthro­po­log­i­cal work?

Best, Ste­fanie Mauksch
Insti­tut für Ethnologie
Fakultät für Geschichte, Kun­st und Regionalwissenschaften
Uni­ver­sität Leipzig
+49 341 97 37 227


25. – 28. Jul 2023

Families Managing Health and Wellbeing in Times of Crisis


Pan­el at the Ger­man Anthro­po­log­i­cal Association’s (DGSKA e.V.) bian­nu­al con­fer­ence „Con­test­ed Knowl­edge: Per­spec­tives in Social
and Cul­tur­al Anthro­pol­o­gy” at the Lud­wig-Max­i­m­il­ians-Uni­ver­sität München

Dear col­leagues,
On behalf of the work group Med­ical Anthro­pol­o­gy we warm­ly invite you to
our work­shop at the Ger­man Anthro­po­log­i­cal Association’s (DGSKA e.V.)
next bian­nu­al con­fer­ence „Con­test­ed Knowl­edge: Per­spec­tives in Social
and Cul­tur­al Anthro­pol­o­gy” (Lud­wig-Max­i­m­il­ians-Uni­ver­sität München,
25–28 July 2023), see abstract below. The work­shop will include a
keynote address by Prof. Sjaak van der Geest (Emer­i­tus Pro­fes­sor of
Med­ical Anthro­pol­o­gy, Uni­ver­si­ty of Ams­ter­dam). Please send your
abstract of *max. 200 words* to and *by 15 Decem­ber 2022*. We look for­ward to
your con­tri­bu­tions!
Best wish­es,
Astrid Bochow and Dominik Mattes
*Fam­i­lies Man­ag­ing Health and Well­be­ing in Times of Crisis*
AG Med­ical Anthropology
PD Dr. Astrid Bochow, Georg-August-Uni­ver­sität Göttingen
Dr. Dominik Mattes, Freie Uni­ver­sität Berlin
Post­colo­nial the­o­ry crit­i­cizes that knowl­edge about the body, health,
and well­be­ing is deeply con­nect­ed to vary­ing forms of governmentality
and sub­mis­sion. Post­colo­nial ethnog­ra­phy, for instance, documents
con­tests over health epis­te­molo­gies and author­i­ty in con­texts of medical
plu­ral­ism and shows that fam­i­lies are cru­cial in the sense of “ther­a­py
man­ag­ing groups” that help medi­ate dif­fer­ent health epistemologies
rec­on­cil­ing, for instance, social-spir­i­tu­al with phys­i­cal aspects of
heal­ing. Fam­i­lies also par­take in the nego­ti­a­tions around diverging
con­cep­tu­al­iza­tions of health and well-being between indi­vid­ual patients
and bio­med­ical insti­tu­tions. Final­ly, fam­i­lies may medi­ate particular
forms of sub­jec­ti­va­tion pur­sued by state insti­tu­tions, while themselves
sub­du­ing indi­vid­u­als to local forms of gen­der and age-relat­ed hierarchies.
Mean­while, recent social phe­nom­e­na such as long-term lock­downs during
the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, dra­mat­i­cal­ly ris­ing dai­ly liv­ing expenses,
grow­ing num­bers of peo­ple being forced to leave their home coun­tries, as
well as envi­ron­men­tal cat­a­stro­phes rein­force pub­lic and scholarly
inter­ests in fam­i­lies as resources of social and mate­r­i­al care and
sup­port for vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple includ­ing chil­dren and elder­ly peo­ple. We
invite papers that reflect on how fam­i­lies shape health man­age­ment in
these (and oth­er) con­texts of cri­sis where mul­ti­ple forms of knowledge
and insti­tu­tion­al expec­ta­tions col­lide. Among oth­ers, they may address
the fol­low­ing questions:
How do fam­i­ly mem­bers medi­ate (com­pet­ing) insti­tu­tion­al knowl­edge, e.g.
relat­ed to nutri­tion, sports, med­ica­tion but also loss and trauma?
Which sources and bod­ies of knowl­edge are deemed legit­i­mate for what
rea­sons, and how are they negotiated?
Do dai­ly health-relat­ed deci­sions reflect gen­der and age-related
How do fam­i­ly mem­bers deal with gov­ern­men­tal and oth­er institutional
expec­ta­tions con­cern­ing their role as cen­tral sites of caregiving?


25. – 28. Jul 2023

Troubled Knowledge: Health, Harm and the Environment in late Industrialism


Pan­el at the DGSKA (Deutsche Gesel­len­schaft für Sozial- und Kul­tur­an­thro­polo­gie) con­fer­ence in Munich

Over the last decades, a grow­ing num­ber of schol­ars in the nat­ur­al and
social sci­ences have shown the dev­as­tat­ing health effects of
envi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tion on humans and oth­er liv­ing beings. Hydrocarbon
extrac­tion, chem­i­cal pol­lu­tants with­in exten­sive plan­ta­tion regimes as
well as the envi­ron­men­tal effects of glob­al sup­ply-chains are only some
exam­ples of con­tem­po­rary eco­nom­ic, indus­tri­al, agri­cul­tur­al and medical
activ­i­ties, which are deeply gen­dered and racial­ized. All this has
con­tributed to envi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion, the break­down of biological
and social sys­tems as well as the increase of chron­ic health problems,
hit­ting par­tic­u­lar­ly the most pre­car­i­ous, in both the Glob­al South and
North. While numer­ous pub­lic actors cor­rob­o­rate the valid­i­ty of such
knowl­edge, oth­er actors, how­ev­er, con­test not only the intertwinements
between envi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tion and health issues but also its
We wish to dis­cuss in how far anthro­po­log­i­cal meth­ods pro­vide the
nec­es­sary time and depth to fur­ther knowl­edge on expe­ri­ences and
rela­tions through which grow­ing lev­els of tox­i­c­i­ty, pol­lu­tion, and
atmos­pher­ic warm­ing man­i­fest as health is-sues, as well as to understand
the con­tro­ver­sial and infor­mal forms of knowl­edge pro­duc­tion that
sur­round this. There­fore, we ask: Through which knowl­edge prac­tices do
eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal actors try to obfus­cate the con­nec­tions between
pol­lu­tion, tox­i­c­i­ties and human and more-than-human dis­ease? Which role
does anthro­po­log­i­cal knowl­edge play in ongo­ing debates about the health
effects of late indus­tri­al­ism? How do peo­ple and activists on the ground
pro­duce and spread de-colo­nial, anti-ableist, par­tic­i­pa­to­ry and
col­lab­o­ra­tive knowl­edge about the rela­tions between health and
envi­ron­ments? In which ways do dai­ly liv­ing expe­ri­ences, that
anthro­po­log­i­cal knowl­edge is based on, chal­lenge and com­pli­cate existing
causative mod­els about the dis/juncture between envi­ron­men­tal pollution
and health effects in human afterlives?
Please send a text of max. 200 words direct­ly to the workshop
orga­niz­ers. Dead­line: 15 Decem­ber 2022
Gior­gio Brocco
Depart­ment of Social and Cul­tur­al Anthropology
Uni­ver­si­ty of Vienna
Uni­ver­sitätsstraße 7 (NIG)
1010 Wien
Raum: C0412
T: +43–1‑4277–49535


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