Researchers studying social movements or working with communities are often challenged about their position in the field. Their work is sometimes deemed as "not objective", due to the political stance they (explicitly or implicitly) take in their research. Yet, many "engaged researchers" have made the case for their double engagement as activist-researcher as a way to help them gain access to the field, have a deeper understanding of the issues at stake, and produce useful knowledge. Can we be both activists and researchers? What are the implications in terms of conducting fieldwork and writing up research findings? How can we legitimise this position towards a sceptical audience?
Alexander Koensler (PhD University of Siena 2009) is Associate Professor of Social Anthropology at University of Perugia, Italy, hired with a program that aims to reverse "brain drain". Alexander’s work focuses on how various forms of grassroot-activism change our political imagination and extend the horizon of what seems possible. In particular, his work focuses on the social production of political claims in conflicts and the role of political "acts" as moments of rupture/reproduction. Over the course of the past decade he has carried out extensive ethnographic fieldwork on the production of claims of Arab-Jewish alliances in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the politics of transparency of activism for food sovereignty in Italy. He has co-edited Etnografie militanti: Prospettive e dilemmi in 2020.
The workshop is open to everyone, including external (non-EUI) participants.