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Laboratoire dEthnologie et de Sociologie comparée

11 Projects, page 1 of 3
  • Funder: ANR Project Code: ANR-12-BSH3-0006
    Funder Contribution: 299,996 EUR
    Partners: Laboratoire dEthnologie et de Sociologie comparée, Laboratoire d'Ethnologie et de Sociologie Comparative

    This research project is concerned with the daily lives of Chinese religious specialists today, in a context where the roles of religious dignitaries, and in a larger sense the religious landscape itself, have undergone massive changes. This program will take as its subject different aspects of what are commonly called Chinese religions – Daoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, local religions – and compare them in their current forms. Focus will be placed on the old masters of these diverse traditions who entered the religious life before the Cultural Revolution or even prior to the Liberation (1949). Witnesses of these periods of great turbulence of the 20th century, these senior masters are today able to narrate these events from their own points of view. Most importantly, the remaining few who are still alive today are the only ones capable of providing information on their methods of performing specific rituals and ascetic techniques, as well as explaining how they used to manage their daily tasks and responsibilities. In the 1980s, it was often these old masters who perpetuated the transmissions that had been interrupted during the long period of prohibition. Today, they are the last heirs of specific knowledge and practices that are on their way to extinction. Paying particular attention to their oral accounts, our goal is to understand – through their own memories, and those of their forebears and disciples – what changes have occurred between the last generations of religious specialists. By drawing their ethnographic portraits and considering, in great detail, their life narratives and their actual activities, the team members will be able to describe several facets of today’s Chinese religious world, and to better understand the historical ruptures of the second half of the twentieth century. The enterprise of restoring temples began in the 1980s, along with the opening-up policy. Since then, religious practices have been re-authorized within a new, official framework prescribed by the State. While transmission was traditionally based on master-disciple relations, the responsibility of training clergy has been entrusted to newly-made academies. On this basis, contemporary religious communities reorganized themselves sometimes by adapting to the new framework, and sometimes by escaping it. The pivotal generation of the “elders” has already passed the torch to new generations. Thus, the time seems appropriate to study the manner in which these local Chinese traditions have been perpetuated, and on which bases the religious renewal, characterized by deep changes and reinvention, has been accomplished. A team of sinologists has been gathered in order to question what, from now on, “makes” the Daoist master, the Buddhist monk, the geomancer, the diviner, the spirit-medium, the Yi nationality bimo, the ritual musician…. Most of them are ethnologists and sociologists with a long history of fieldwork experience, enabling them to make contact with elder masters of these traditions and to compile a new corpus of first-hand materials. The idea is to document their daily life and their life experiences within the current religious context, which is both inherited from, and in conflict with, their knowledge. The several local ethnographies that this research project will provide will describe specific religious worlds, most of which are currently quite unknown. In a larger sense, this comparative and interdisciplinary project will invite us to question the raison d’être of these different religious masters in China today, and to understand the peculiar virtuosity that characterizes them in such a changing context.

  • Funder: ANR Project Code: ANR-16-FRQC-0001
    Funder Contribution: 209,768 EUR
    Partners: Laboratoire dEthnologie et de Sociologie comparée, laboratoire d'ethnologie et de sociologie comparative, University of Montreal

    A joint Franco-Quebec collaboration for the consolidation and development of research projects on the theme of death in a context of migration. This international collaboration aims to examine different themes relating to death in the context of migration, including material, legal, institutional, associative, familial, moral and emotional dimensions. This implies understanding death as an integral part of the migration experience, both as a reality and as a potentiality with multiple effects. The challenge of this program is twofold, because it necessitates bringing together two questions which have rarely been addressed together in the scientific literature, while at the same time drawing on a heterogeneous multidisciplinary corpus. At the present time, no such network exists in Canada or internationally. This grant will enable the consolidation and development of an inter-university network by supporting the conditions for collaboration and research between researchers, students and professionals from diverse milieu and countries. The themes of death and migration will be examined from a multifaceted perspective drawing on several disciplines, fields of practice and cultural universes. The program itself will be structured around two axes: 1) the development of joint research projects based on qualitative and comparative methods, narratives and case-studies as means of advancing knowledge in the field of death and migration; 2) the sharing and transfer of scientific knowledge.

  • Funder: ANR Project Code: ANR-17-CE36-0007
    Funder Contribution: 186,919 EUR
    Partners: CERMES3, Laboratoire dEthnologie et de Sociologie comparée, Laboratoire d'ethnologie et de sociologie comparative

    VITALMORTEL seeks to put into comparative perspective emerging societal challenges of care for those living with neurodegenerative diseases, and of care for the dying. This will be achieved by ethnographically attending to the trials and tests of the last stages of life for a person affected by a cerebral disease, living in institutions whose task is to take care for them. Since the beginning of the 1990s, practices of care have been increasingly reworked around a “person centered approach”. “Person-centered” care particularly challenged previous assumptions held about the personhood of the sick individual, by attempting to address the subjectivity of demented patients, of the comatose and of those near death, so as to guard these persons from a “social” death in advance of the actual physical death of an individual body. Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s (AD) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), are exemplary of a dual challenge for such person centered approaches: a search for a form of care in circumstances when there is no cure and when the disease is always fatal; as well as the challenge of giving form to death, of shaping the extent to which, and manner in which, the body is managed during the process of dying. Through ethnographic inquiry based in care homes, and hospitals, we seek to observe practices of care for people suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, within the emergence of new frameworks for the end of life. The study has targeted two contexts: France and California, political settings that have recently implemented new legal frameworks for governing the end of life; specifically voluntary assisted dying for certain illnesses in California (including ALS), and the clarification of legislation around terminal sedation in France. Thus, in the French and the Californian contexts, the central question asked by this project is: for lives whose cerebral and physical integrity is threatened, how is care that seeks to maintain personhood put into practice, up to death? Given available techniques and organizational settings, what are the uncertainties and breakdowns that patients, caregivers, kin and medical professionals are confronted with? How do they endeavor to work through them and to what ends? Given new and variable possibilities for ending life, terminal sedation and voluntary death, we seek to look at the ways in which these techniques for ending life are made to cohere with ideas about caring for the person. Conducted by a team with expertise in medical anthropology and the anthropology of ethics, this inquiry will unfold over three years. The project draws on very strong partnerships with the neurological team at the Memory and Aging Center (MAC) at UC San Francisco, and the Institut de la Mémoire et de la Maladie d’Alzheimer (IM2A) at the Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris. This project will produce both scientific and lay publications which will nourish not only public political debate, but also provide tools for medical practitioners, suffering persons, and their families, in the form of descriptive case studies of the different ways in which care in living and dying can be connected. Furthermore, our programme includes workshops with key stakeholders (neurologists, patents and their families), as well as an international workshop to foster international exchange and discussion of results.

  • Funder: ANR Project Code: ANR-17-CE41-0003
    Funder Contribution: 206,270 EUR
    Partners: Laboratoire d'Anthropologie des Enjeux Contemporains, Laboratoire dEthnologie et de Sociologie comparée, Laboratoire d'ethnologie et de sociologie comparative

    "In postsocialist Central Asia, international migrations mostly towards Russia have been increasing since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. These circulations may sometimes end with the death of migrants. This project will expore the issues raised by deaths that occur during this mobility. It will contribute to explore a region that has been left aside by French anthropology (Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Mongolia, and Russia) and to analyse with a multidisciplinary approach the overlooked issues raised by ""dying abroad"". Our projet aims at exploring new territoriality of migrants' deaths which, as the ones of the living, tend to intensify in an unprecedented way, in both their modality and their frequence. These new forms of circulation encourage the creation of new ritual and economic practices by societies. The REFPoM project will analyze these practices following two lines of research: (a) ""Re-territorializing the dead: Symbolic, ritual and economic practices"" It will analyze the symbolic, ritual and economic practices of reterritorialization of these deaths which occured during migrants' mobility. In most case, death is followed by body repatriation. Our aim is to study funerary ideology, transnational ritual practices and family relations, a background on which these practices take place during these tragic times. Examining how people chose where to burry a late relative, how to repatriate him/her, and the financial costs that these decisions imply demand to consider also the variety of populations (Uzbeks, Tajiks, Mongols, etc.) and of religions (islam, buddhism, etc.) coexisting in this wide territory. (b) ""Funerary rituals, construction of memory and political resistance"". Our second research question will focus on the construction of the memory of the dead, and the political dimension of transnational ritual practices. One of the original aspects of our project is based on its political approach: rituals will be taken as sites of micropolitics. Close analysis will highlight how migrations and political processes impact relations between communities, societies, and the institutions ruling them. Notions such as ""tactic"" (De Certeau) or ""infra-politics"" (Scott) will serve as starting points to think how rituals can become ""arenas of contestations"" (Gardner and Grillo, 2002) in times of political and economic unstability, at a more or less conscious level. This project will thus highlight politcal relations between communities and States, relations that are not reflected in institutions but embedded in specific practices - here, funerary ones - which frequently aim at by-passing them."

  • Funder: ANR Project Code: ANR-12-CULT-0005
    Funder Contribution: 278,000 EUR
    Partners: Laboratoire dEthnologie et de Sociologie comparée, Laboratoire d'ethnologie et de sociologie comparative, Mondes Américains Sociétés Circulations Pouvoirs XVI-XXI siècles

    Patrimonialization (the various means by which cultural features –either material or immaterial– are turned into a people’s heritage) has recently become, for Amerindian groups, a major means to gain visibility and recognition in the new American social and political landscapes where multiculturalism plays an increasingly important role in the definition of governance. Different forms of cultural patrimonialization have largely been studied elsewhere, especially in North America. Yet, they are far lesser known in Meso- and South America, especially among Amerindian peoples. Among them, the notions of what ought to be preserved or forgotten, the ways knowledge and assets are transmitted, and the modes of historicity often seem to go against the very grain of patrimonialization as defined according to Western views. Besides, due to outside mediation, teachings and influence, Amerindian peoples are now transforming some of their daily activities into items of identifiable, transmissible and retainable cultural heritage. Such schemes are usually associated with narratives working through the objectification, essencialization and ethnicization of native cultures. The specific forms of remembrance among Amerindian minorities therefore display a twofold dimension. On the one hand, they are fostered within their very own localized cultural and social mold. On the other hand, they are now also, quite often, used within a globalised world as a means to reinforce collective identities, or even new forms of indigenousness. Analyzing the patrimonial patterns that can be found during fieldwork therefore requires solving how all this is forced upon and adopted by people, but also understanding how indigenous actors managed, in response, to reclaim the right to handle their own cultural narratives and establish them as a source for the statement of their very own identity. In order to understand the different forms of this patrimonialization process in the thirty-odd Amerindian societies investigated in this project, three complementary axes will be followed: • time-scale issues, historicity and knowledge. • the “making” of heritage, its’ social construction and political uses. • the institutional practices and the local forms of multicultural governance. The twenty-odd anthropologists taking part in this project have longstanding fieldwork experience. They can therefore cover a vast sample of local situations and will be able to address the global process and varied responses associated with cultural patrimonialization. This definitely comparative project is not about establishing a typology of similarities and differences between the various ways of placing emphasis on heritage. Its main ambition is rather to compare categorical representations, settings, relationships, and processes of constructing meaning and narratives through the study of cultural patrimonialization, which reveals individual options, strategies of self definition and political agendas. On the one hand, we hope to decipher how Native American peoples strive to fit into modern society and negotiate with different patterns of knowledge and historicity stemming from patrimonialization. On the other hand this study aims at highlighting the genesis and contemporary developments of the multicultural patterns, which define the Meso- and South American political arena.