Working in the field of gender-based violence:
Urgent questions and epistemic dilemmas in Public Anthropology
The first public dissemination event of our research project took place on December 8, 2022. Our project, titled “Affectscapes of Care: Gender-Based Violence and Resilience during the Covid-19 Pandemic,” in which DIOTIMA – Center for Gender Rights & Equality is a collaborating organisation is hosted at the Department of Social Anthropology, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, and funded by the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation’s 4th Call for Action, “Science and Society” – Emblematic Action – Interventions to Address the Economic and Social Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Our project examines how institutional, but also solidarity-based and informal, structures that provide care to survivors of gender-based violence turn into affective sites. Put differently, we look at the production of “sites” where gender-based violence gets to be implicated and re-produced by the affective and political economy that circumscribes its meaning(s) and governs it biopolitically, during the Covid-19 pandemic in Greece. Our objective is twofold, focusing on violence itself as well as on the forms of care with which it is confronted, but often also mutually constituted. Contrary to normative approaches that prescribe individual responsibility as “care for the self” and social distancing as “care for others,” our objective is to examine the complexity of care, provided by diverse subjects along spectra of power and ideology. We further hone into the additional forms that gender-based violence incurs in the name of “security” and “securitization,” while the imperative of resilience obscures the production of precarity and vulnerability in the context of the health “crisis.” Therefore, we ask how, in this particular conjuncture, violence and care intersect, as processes related to specific concepts such as security, home, and social distancing – mediated by gender, race, sexuality, religion, class, etc. – produce differential presents and give rise to new forms of inequalities.
Combining anthropological and philosophical aporias related to subjectivity, affect, biopolitics, and performativity with ethnographic dilemmas regarding structural violence and the social consequences of resilience on populations forced to adapt to overlapping “crises,” we ask: How can social anthropology, as critical methodology, bring forward the problematics that frame gender-based and sexual violence? Further, how shall we re-conceptualise the notion of critical public anthropology in relation to applied or militant anthropology (see Borofsky and De Lauri 2019; Besteman 2013)? Put differently, how can we imagine a “public” against the normative and normalising registers of urgent response, resistance, and action? How does the field of gender-based and sexual violence foster this discussion, particularly when we need to reframe, not only our understanding of the public (Fassin 2018), but also the multiple and differentiated positionalities of knowledge production (Haraway 1988)? Highlighting the urgent need to connect anthropology to public discourse, we finally wonder what it is that “burns” us in the field of gender-based and sexual violence, how we “burn” through it, and, more crucially, how we can imagine new forms of a public representation/discourse and social awareness.
Thursday 8 December 2022,
7:00 – 9:00 pm
Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences
Saki Karagiorga II Auditorium
7:00 Welcome Note:
Diana Riboli, Associate Professor and Head of Social Anthropology Department, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences
Maria Liapi, Sociologist/researcher and scientific responsible of the Centre Diotima
Gender-based violence during a pandemic:
Issues of Representation and Public Engagement
7:15 – 8:00 Presentation of the Research Project CovCare & of the Audio Docufiction
Eirini Avramopoulou, P.I. of Cov-Care and Assistant Professor, Department of Social Anthropology, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences
Eleni Papagaroufali, Member of Cov-Care and Professor Emerita, Department of Social Anthropology, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences
Commentary: Athena Athanasiou, Professor of Social Anthropology and Dean of the School of Social Sciences at Panteion University
Panel Coordination: Diana Riboli, Associate Professor and Head of Social Anthropology Department, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences
Working in/with gender violence: Experiences from the field
8:00 – 8:45 Presentations
Diana Manesi,Post-doctoral researcher, Hellenic Open University
Silences, silencings, and voice-lessness. Survivors of gender-based violence, researchers, and police authorities.
Lykourghos Papamichail, Social Anthropologist, Panteion University
‘Let’s shield from the rain’: Policies of care and concern for male refugees in conditions of confinement and exclusion.
Elia Charidi, PhD Social Anthropology, Panteion University
Disability and Gender Based Violence: an uncharted field of care.
Panel Coordination: Eleni Papagaroufali, Member of the Cov-Care and Professor Emerita, Department of Social Anthropology, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences
8:45-9:30 Open discussion
Participants’ short CVs:
Athena Athanasiou is Professor of Social Anthropology and Gender Theory at Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences (Athens, Greece). She is Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Director of the Laboratory of Anthropological Research. Among her publications are the books: Agonistic Mourning: Political Dissidence and the Women in Black (Edinburgh University Press, 2017); Dispossession: The Performative in the Political (with Judith Butler, Polity Press, 2013); Crisis as a ‘State of Exception’ (Athens, 2012); Life at the Limit: Essays on Gender, Body and Biopolitics (Athens, 2007); Rewriting Difference: Luce Irigaray and ‘the Greeks’ (co-ed. with Elena Tzelepis, SUNY Press, 2010); Deconstructing the Empire: Theory and Politics of Postcolonial Studies (Athens, 2016); Feminist Theory and Cultural Critique (Athens, 2006); Biosocialities (Athens, 2011). She is a member of the editorial advisory board of several journals (Critical Times, Feminist Formations, Journal of Greek Media and Culture, and others).
Eirini Avramopoulou is Assistant Professor of Social Anthropology and P.I. of the Cov-Care research, hosted at Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens, Greece. She has done extensive research in Turkey and Greece while her research interests include anthropology of human rights, social movements and activism; feminist and psychoanalytic approaches to subjectivity, biopolitics and affect; and more recently she focuses on asylums, displacement, memory, trauma and ‘caring economies’. She has published three edited volumes and her work has appeared in many book chapters and academic journals. She is a member of the editorial advisory board of the e-journal Feministiqά.
Elia Charidi holds a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from Panteion University. Her thesis focused on the senses and visual impairment. For the last five-and-a-half years, she has worked at the Diotima Centre for Gender Rights and Equality, where, among other positions, she was the coordinator of teams that handled cases of gender-based violence among refugees. She is currently working as coordinator of accessibility for survivors of gender-based violence with sensory impairments.
Maria Liapi is sociologist/researcher, and member of the board and scientific responsible of the Centre Diotima for Gender Rights and Equality. She has participated in projects on the issue of gender equality, intersectionality and feminist methodology. She coordinates the provision of support services (psycho-social support, empowerment and legal aid) to refugee and local survivors. She is an active member of the feminist movement in Greece and member of the editorial team of the feminist journal feministiqa.
Diana Manesi holds a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology. Her research interests are particularly focused on queer politics and the politics of memory, emotions, and subjectification. For the last three years, she has been working in the Diotima Centre for Gender Rights and Equality, in the field of research and training on gender, gender-based discrimination, and gender-based violence.
Eleni Papagaroufali is member of the research project Cov-Care and Professor Emerita of Social Anthropology at Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences (Athens, Greece). She is the author of two books in Greek: Gifts of Life after Death. Cultural Experiences. Athens, Patakis Publications, 2012 , and Soft diplomacy. Transnational twinnings and pacifist practices in contemporary Greece. Athens, Alexandreia Publications, 2013. She has also written numerous articles and chapters in Greek and foreign peer-reviewed journals and collected volumes on issues of gender, embodiment, health, and the transnational relations between Greece and the European Union.
Lykourghos Papamichail is a social anthropologist, whose scholarly interests lie in masculinity studies and the politics of emotions, memory, and violence. In his work, he examines how masculinity is performed in the social environment of football, but also in spaces of psychiatric healthcare, confinement, and exclusion. He works at the Diotima Centre for Gender Rights and Equality, in the field of prevention of gender-based and male inclusion among refugees, mostly coordinating men’s groups.
Diana Riboli is Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Social Anthropology at Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences. She has been President of the International Society for Academic Research on Shamanism (ISARS) since 2015. From 1992 to the present, she has conducted ethnographic research in South and Southeast Asia. Her published works include Tunsuriban. Shamanism in the Chepang of Southern and Central Nepal (Mandala Book Point, 2000), Shamanism and Violence. Power, Repression and Suffering in Indigenous Religious Conflicts (edited with Davide Torri, Ashgate, 2013), Consciousness and Indigenous Healing Systems: Between Indigenous Perceptions and Neuroscience (Nova Publishers, 2014) and Dealing with Disasters: Perspectives from Eco-Cosmologies (edited with Pamela J. Stewart, Andrew J. Strathern and Davide Torri, Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). She has authored and coauthored numerous articles and essays on indigenous ethnomedical systems, concepts and responses to violence in egalitarian societies, resistance of indigenous cultures, disaster anthropology, and anthropological research methods.