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  3. Living with the Crisis: Everyday Life and Translation

Living with the Crisis: Everyday Life and Translation


Dates: 8-10 September 2016

Venue: University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria

The financial and economic crisis in Europe since 2007 needs no introduction. Neither are there doubts that the crisis has been attended by important cultural modifications and adaptations. Some claim that a cultural crisis has resulted from the economic one; others insist that the economic crisis is the result of certain cultural practices. At any rate, economy and culture interact and the diverse modes of this interaction will be addressed in this workshop.

The aim of this workshop is twofold: i) to address the ways in which people experience crisis in their everyday, in other words, to see how the world in crisis looks from the bottom up, and ii) to discuss various connections at the interface of how people talk about crisis while living in it.

The discussions will be organized in five sessions, as follows:

Session 1: Everyday experience of crisis

People have responded to recent and ongoing neo-liberal restructuring in various ways, particularly on an everyday basis. Such responses have been aimed at mitigating the deteriorating status of peoples’ households. Practices of coping with crisis differ from a village to a town or to a city, from one ethnic milieu to another. These distinctions need to be registered in scholarly analysis. Everyday practices for coping with crisis may also be approached from a gendered and generational perspective.

In this panel discussions of the following issues are welcome:

  • Strategies of coping with crisis: institutional, collective (family, community) and individual;
  • Networking in crisis: forms of community and sociability empowered by time of crisis;
  • Geography of crisis: crisis and local (un)development.

Session 2: Visually documenting crisis

Presentation of a movie and following discussion

Session 3: Experiencing crisis – mobility and migration

Emigration from Bulgaria (and other former socialist countries) had intensified amidst the first major economic crisis in the mid-1990s, and constituted a part of the post-1989 transition period. The panic to leave the country in order to look for employment or/and a better life in foreign countries (e.g. Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Spain, along with major destinations like the US and UK) was “channelled” at the turn of the century. It was at about this junction that migration gradually turned into mobility. For many families it has been a family strategy for survival but for some it provided for social mobility within the home society.   

Participants in this panel are invited to address one or more of the following questions:

  • What migration patterns are discernible in the aftermath of 2007/2008 and, how do they compare to the previous periods?
  • What practices are observed fleshing out the everyday dimensions of migration and mobility patterns?
  • How do migrants from Bulgaria accommodate to the receiving societies, and vice versa, what policies and practices of immigration and labour mobility do these societies offer?  

Session 4: Translating crisis – discursive practices

This session will explore how the crisis is articulated and understood in everyday language and amidst everyday life in different linguistic contexts. The two broad questions to consider are:

  • What levels of translations occur and are involved in “talking about” the crisis on a daily basis?
  • Do the differences between languages and linguistic contexts have a tractable role in variegating public engagement with the financial crisis?

More specifically, project participants are invited to address any of the following issues: differentiations in connotations and resonance that appear across languages (e.g. local language “equivalents” to crisis “buzzwords” such as “austerity”, “haircut”, etc. or extended concepts and their respective connotations and/or cognitive maps and/or cultural nuances, etc.); code-switching or register-switching practices from professional discourses to everyday speak, colloquial expressions, slang, etc.