Samenvattingen lezingen

Here you will find the reports of the lectures and discussions. Before viewing them please take note that these summaries are made by volunteers in the audience. Although they are endorsed by the speakers, they are not written by themselves, and can therefore not be qouted.

Have fun and be inspired reading them!

Prof. Jos Platenkamp

Structural analysis and the dynamics of political change: the case of Laos

Discussant: Sabine Luning

- Summary by Marije Kapinga \ Translation by WDO


There has been a lot of criticism on the French and the Leiden Schools of Structural Anthropology. Critics state that both these schools in structuralism are not able to analyze complex data gathered through professional fieldwork nor to provide adequate analysis of the dynamics of social change. Structural anthropology does not, according to the critics, pay enough attention to the individual as a barer of culture. Structural anthropology is said to abide to illusionary concepts of culture and society, in which the individual is made invisible.

Prof. Rajni Palriwala

Fieldwork: The experiantal comparative and self-reflexivity

Discussant: Jojada Verrips

- Summary by Bo Gort


The author starts by stressing the historical and current importance for anthropology of fieldwork, which had formed the legitimising basis for the study of the "other". Participant observation in a face-to-face community was seen as enabling the anthropologist through her/his personal experience to 'learn' and 'know' and yet objectively describe the culture being studied. Post-modern reflections on the craft of anthropology, building on the post-colonial critique of objectivity claims, focus on the construction and writing of ethnography and the fact of multiple subjectivities in the field and of the fieldworker. However, the tendency has been to leave the fieldwork process and experiences themselves in a taken-for-granted, pre-theoretical space. This lacuna is reinforced by the implicit assumption in much of the literature that ethnographers are of or based in the societies/cultures that were/are the colonial/imperial powers; that the societies/cultures studied continue to be in what was the colonised world.

Prof. Kirsten Hastrup

The ethnographic attention: founding anthropological knowledge

Discussant: Peter Pels

- Summary by Martijn Wienia


This report is written in my own words but as much as possible these are based on those spoken by the key note speaker, discussant and other speakers. Nevertheless, the beneath reported is to my account.

Dr. Hans van den Breemer

Fieldwork and globalisation: Eastern Senegal and the Gambia

Discussant: Gerti Hesseling

- Summary by Pascal van Nugteren

The aim of this contribution is to consider wether or not the objectives of the research training, conducted by students of the department of cultural anthropology and development sociology of Leiden University. First, the objective of this fieldwork training will be presented. After this, some information will be given about the way in which the globalization process expresses itself in eastern Senegal. The possible influences of the local process of globalization on communication between researcher and the local people will then be consideedr, as well as the validity of the objectives of the fieldwork training in light of these supposed changes.

Prof. Albert Trouwborst

- Summary by Marije Kapinga \ Revised by Albert Trouwborst


The period after the Second World War, the Indonesian study program of the University of Leiden, gave a whole new generation of students who were trained as future civil servants in Indonesia. In the program next to Indonesian languages, Netherlands Indies law and economics, ethnology or "volkenkunde" was one of the courses. Materially, it was a rather difficult time to study, right after the war.

Prof. Jean Comaroff

Ethnography on an Awkward Scale: postcolonial anthropology and it's objects

Discussant: Peter Geschiere
- Summary by Sana Lopez Abellan


Studying zombies in South Africa led us (Jean and her husband John) to acknowledge that reality and its representations become confounded in one another, at once both cause and effect, each inseparably a part of the phenomenology of everyday life in the post colony.

Plenary Discussion
- Sorry, no translation available -

Plenary discussion with all the key note speakers and the discussants

- Summary by Martijn Wienia

The plenary discussion started with a one or two minute address to the floor [audience-WDO] by each key note speaker, followed by two rounds of questions from the floor and reactions from the key note speakers. The discussion was being led by Prof. dr. Patricia Spyer and Prof. dr. Peter Pels. I must note that I did not literally cite the speakers. This report is therefore to be read as my words based upon theirs.