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Title: Crafting lives in Brussels : making and mobility on the margins
Author: Moderbacher, Christine
ISNI:       0000 0004 7961 2957
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis is an anthropological inquiry into what it means to continuously shape a life on the margins of a European city. It draws from over 14 months of field work in Belgium's capital, Brussels, taking as a starting point a carpentry training centre designed to improve the chances of its marginalized population - mostly people with a migratory background - within the labour market. By critically highlighting an event that occurred during the initial stage of the training, it suggests that artisans themselves have long been neglected within the anthropology of craft. The thesis responds to this gap by gazing into the life trajectories of two participants, Hamuda and Cise. Through this shift of attention from a study of craftwork to a dialogical engagement into the lives of specific individuals, this work not only gives voice to often neglected artisans but also breaks with standardizing discursive tendencies of anonymously portrayed migrants. The stories of Hamuda and Cise both underpin that shaping one's life needs to be seen against the backdrop of political, economic and social inequalities that are at times hard to overcome. Their stories relate a harsh reality whose borders are at times insurmountable, but also the constant efforts to counter the lives we are 'thrown into' (Jackson 2005: x), and thereby shed light on what training programmes and apprenticeships in craft really entail for somebody who has been on the move. The proposed shift from an anthropology of craft towards exploring the concrete experience of individuals in their struggle for a decent life also points to the need to continuously adopt the use of methods during research. Accordingly, a variety of different tools were used throughout this work. As a consequence of this 'guided rediscovery' (Ingold 2013: 110), the thesis also experiments with the 'rendition' of an anthropological inquiry.
Supervisor: Vergunst, Jo Lee ; Ingold, Tim Sponsor: European Research Council (FP7-IDEAS-ERC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Immigrants ; Handicraft ; Carpentry ; Storytelling