Steven Orchard // Sussex Sustainability Research Programme (SSRP) // May 8th 2018 // 1-2pm // Arts C133
Mangrove system dependent people in coastal areas of Vietnam employ a range of actions that have evolved over time and which help them overcome the numerous challenges that they face. However, rapid social and environmental change, particularly from the rise in aquaculture farming and climate change, threatens to breach the coping capacity of many coastal people. The ability of coastal peoples to adapt to change is embedded in their livelihoods and social networks, which are shaped by institutional structures and processes at multiple levels of mangrove system governance. Understanding how coping capacity can be built upon and/or transformed into adaptive capacity, and thereby widening the coping range, is urgently required. Integrating sustainable livelihood, social network and institutional approaches, this research draws on quantitative household surveys, and qualitative semi-structured interviews and focus groups, from three sites in northern Vietnam. Results indicate that higher degrees of aquaculture farming are associated with resource inequality, social fragmentation, and institutions that foster elite capture and reinforce local power dynamics. Considerations of adaptive capacity must be incorporated into coastal development plans to ensure that those most dependent on mangroves for their livelihoods, who have contributed least to social and environmental change, are not faced with disproportionate burdens and reduced capacity to adapt.
I am a research fellow at the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme (SSRP) working on the project ‘Collective action and the adaptive capacity of smallholder farmers in marginal mountainous areas of north India’. I completed my PhD in 2015 which studied the distribution of adaptive capacity within mangrove social-ecological systems of Vietnam. I have also studied land use, livelihoods and social-ecological change in Swaziland and Kenya.
Violeta Vajda // Anthropology // May 2nd 2018 // 1-2pm // Arts C133
The abstract is as follows:
Recently, the prominent Hungarian Romani activist Jenő Setét said that ‘Hungarian society is currently unable to face the existence and operation of [structural] racism’. Yet in the same breath he concludes that there is ‘no other option than to continue our struggle against the destructive power of racism and the phenomena it engenders, and to do this we need to find allies and partners in society.’ But who are these allies and partners? Do they exist and if so, where can they be found? And how do they get to become such? My research sets out to answer those questions, on the assumption that if Romani activists could find such allies – persons, institutions or societal actors – their struggle against antigypsyism, the specific racism levelled at Romani people, would be at least partly easier. Along the way, and as a corollary, I ask how we can transform non-Romani identity from one that is ‘preserved in aspic’, unaware and ultimately detrimental to both Romani and non-Romani people, into one that is engaged with and questioning its own historical roots and prejudices and seeks to actively overcome these through thoughtful and deliberate action. To answer these questions, I argue that it helps to change viewpoint and approach Romani Studies from a different, wider lens that transcends, without invalidating, earlier research that looks at Roma through anthropology, political science or even identity politics. To find such a viewpoint, I turn primarily to philosophical hermeneutics, then circle back to other approaches such as critical whiteness, analysis of power, feminist thinking and action research to help explain and operationalise my inquiry.
As an academic, Violeta Vajda writes about the role that critical whiteness theory can play in Romani Studies and how it may be possible to re-conceptualize non-Roma identity so that it becomes a progressive and positive driver that can ultimately underpin the emancipatory efforts of the Romani movement. Since 2014, she has worked as the Resident Program Manager for the National Democratic Institute (ndi.org) in Hungary. In this role, she has managed a series of regional programs in Central and Eastern Europe, focused on grassroots activism in Romani communities; Roma political and civic participation; interfaith and interethnic coalition building; and participatory action research in Roma communities.
Ireena Nasiha Ibnu // Migration Studies // April 25th 2018 // 1-2pm // Arts C133
The abstract is as follows:
For many years, Manchester has been a second home for thousands of Malaysian students. However, there is little information about what happens to them when coming to the UK. Building on nine months fieldwork with Malaysian students’ community in Manchester, this presentation explores the effort made by the Malaysian students abroad in sustaining the Malaysian space. Using the ethnography approach, I argue that the Malaysian students’ community in Manchester sustains the Malaysian space through the reciprocity, which they perceived as a social responsibility as being a Malay abroad. Thus, the presentation will demonstrate the practices made by the committee members and explore what are the challenges faced by them. As this research mainly focusing on the Malaysian Muslim female students, I am also interested to unpack how they negotiate the space and what are the elements that formed their experiences.
Ireena Nasiha Ibnu, is a PhD student in Migration Studies at Global Studies, University of Sussex. Before starting her PhD degree, Ireena completed a Master’s degree in Intercultural Communication at the National University of Malaysia (UKM) in Malaysia. Her doctoral thesis focuses on the transnational migration of Malaysian Muslim female students in the UK.
Yunlong Jia // Social Anthropology // April 18th 2018 // 1-2pm // Arts C133
Building on fieldwork with different groups of Iranian people, this presentation explores the transnational trading activities between Turkey and Iran. Trade and commodities have long been the interests of anthropological researches. Trading activities are not only important components of peoples’ working lives, they also actively shape the social and political structures of the physical worlds, as well as mediate between various realms which invest life with meaning. In particular, I take trade and commodities as a departing point to investigate into the worldly desire, ethnic affinity and affection associated with the circulation of goods and people. By doing so, I hope to shed light on the imaginative and migratory worlds, in which people construct their everyday life.
Yunlong Jia is studying for a PhD in Social Anthropology. Before joining Sussex, Yunlong studied Anthropology and the Middle East at SOAS, University of London, and Persian Language and Literature in Beijing. His research currently focuses on the diverse experiences of Iranian migrants, refugees and traders in Turkey.
Andrew Hook // Department of Human Geography/Institute of Development Studies // 11th April 2018 // 1-2pm // Arts C133Abstract:
In the context of growing attention on the environmental impacts of small-scale gold mining, particularly related to deforestation and mercury pollution, there has been an increase in policy attention on reforming the sector. The policy frameworks for dealing with the perceived problems have generally centred on ‘formalization’- style approaches according to which a combination of private property rights and supporting regulatory and technological frameworks will secure a more ‘responsible’ form of mining. This presentation will examine Guyana’s experiences in developing and implementing such policies. It will discuss some of the political dimensions that are often overlooked or over-simplified in policy approaches, even though they arguably have a strong bearing on both policy success and on the lives and livelihoods of poorer land users. These dimensions relate to contested local understandings of environmental change, unresolved contentiousness among poorer miners and indigenous groups over the structural basis of formal titles, and inherent ‘informality’ amidst intense resource competition, state fragility and remote geographies.
Andrew Hook is an ESRC- funded doctoral researcher in the Department of Human Geography. He spent one year conducting fieldwork in Guyana for this research project, having previously worked there as an ODI Fellow and a UNDP consultant.
Here is the full timetable for the Global Studies PhD Lecture Series Spring 2018:
Gemma Houldey // Development Studies // 21st March 2018 // 1-2pm // Arts C133
It is widely recognised that humanitarian workers are likely to suffer from severe forms of stress. A survey of aid workers conducted by the Guardian newspaper in 2015 found that approximately twenty per cent of their 754 self-selected respondents had suffered from PTSD and panic attacks, whilst forty four per cent suffered from depression. Academic studies addressing the health and wellbeing of aid workers have referred to the increasing instances of burnout in both national and international staff working in emergency settings (Cardozo et al., 2005; Eriksson et al., 2009). However these sorts of findings often give insufficient attention to the diversity of the aid sector; the fact that, for instance, approximately ninety per cent of its professionals are nationals from the global south. Using the examples of national and international aid workers I spoke to during a year of field research in Kenya, I will highlight that an aid worker’s identity, including their professional identity in the workplace and the socio-cultural context in which they operate, has implications for the way they conceptualise, articulate and respond to emotional challenges in their lives.
Gemma Houldey conducted one year of field research in Kenya for her Development Studies Phd, investigating how identity shapes the way aid workers understand and manage stress. She has worked in the aid sector for 15 years, for international NGOs including Christian Aid, War on Want and Amnesty International, and for national NGOs in Uganda and Palestine.