LIVING THE CRISIS: EVERYDAY LIFE AND TRANSLATION
Compass Conference Room, Plovdiv University, 8-10 September 2016
Thursday, 8 September
9:30 – 13:00
SESSION 1: EVERYDAY EXPERIENCE OF CRISIS
Chair: Dobrinka Parusheva
Dimitar Zlatinov, Sofia University: Macroeconomic implications of the global crisis on Bulgarian economy since 2008
The paper examines changes in the Bulgarian economy following the global financial and economic crisis of 2008 and the efforts of the government and central bank to curb the negative impact on economic development. I will focus my discussion primarily on the behaviour of economic agents in the crisis – households and companies. The paper will also seek to address the changes in the external and fiscal position of Bulgaria that have changed the prospects for national economy.
Dimitra Kofti, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle-Saale: Will Greece become Bulgaria’ and vice versa: changing geographies of the ‘crisis’ in the European South
This paper focusses on ways in which the recent financial crisis has been responded in both Bulgaria and Greece and triggered local discussions about how ‘crisis’ hit the other side of each border, in relation to recession, labour and migration. It will look at how these comparisons are positioned in a broader discussion about geographies of power relations in Europe.
Miladina Monova, Associate researcher, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle-Saale: Talking about ‘the crises’: workers, employers and the concept of mystification in the labor process
This presentation discusses perceptions of the economic hardship in the postsocialist town of Prilep (Macedonia), drawing on everyday speeches about ‘the crisis’. We will see how factory workers and employers confront rhetorically in an unequal relationship, following opposite interests, and instrumentalizing in different ways kinship, friendship and community relationships.
11:00- 11:30 Coffee break
Theodoros Spiros, Panteion University: Debating on the Crisis during Daily Leisure Time: An ethnographic Approach (Athens/Greece)
In this paper I present the ways the habitués of a neighbourhood café in Athens lives the current economic crisis and speak on it. Specifically, I investigate the daily debates around the ‘causes’ and the ‘responsible’ of the crisis, the topics that are involved, the perceptive and interpretative schemes that emerge during these debates, and finally the role of the crisis for the organization of people’s daily life.
Eirini Avramopoulou, British School at Athens: The emotional cost of economic crisis: The banality of crisis amidst an atmosphere of negative affects
This presentation will be based on research conducted from September 2014 till December 2015 in Athens and Pelion, Greece, regarding the way that people respond to economic crisis in their everyday life. This research aimed to address along with the institutional effects of crisis, the invisible or mundane everyday aspects of ‘living in crisis’ as manifested in a society broadly affected by dispossession, new states of inequality and exclusions. Hence, instead of reiterating popular media discourses on ‘crisis and its aftermath’, or instead of presenting ‘crisis’ as a tangible problem which can be managed and hence resolved, this paper seeks to understand the complex temporal, spatial, personal and emotional processes pertaining to such important societal changes and everyday life transformations. For this reason, I ask: How do people respond emotionally to the new states of trauma and experiences of suffering created? What kind of subjects emerge as a result of this? Also, how can hope emerge amidst an atmosphere of hopelessness and when one feels stuck in an era of ‘learned helplessness,’ as was the term used by one of my informants? Without reproducing stereotypical representations that mark people as passive victims of economic crisis and without romanticizing (neither forgetting to account for) the moments of resilience and resistance, this paper understands crisis as a state of permanent temporariness that mediates people’s self-perception, their relations to friends and family, as well as their future aspirations. In this sense, this presentation will focus on individual stories that become paradigmatic of how crisis politics affect processes of subject formation and subjectivation amidst an atmosphere of negative affects, or when feelings of anger, depression, sadness, despair, shame and guilt interwoven with the banality of feeling, and being perceived as, a subject of crisis.
Alexey Pamporov, Institute for the Study of Societies and Knowledge at BAS: Impact of the crises on social distances
The current paper is going to focus on the recent developments in the social distances towards given ethnic minorities in Bulgaria between the Financial crisis of 2007-2008 and the Refugees crisis in 2015-2016. The method of Bogardus' social distance scale is a standard approach towards measuring racial and ethnic prejudices in social sciences. The Open Society institute - Sofia has conducted a series of representative surveys in the period 2008-2016, using the Bogardus' tool and the outcomes will be presented and discussed.
14:00 – 17:30
SESSION 2: EXPERIENCING CRISIS – MOBILITY AND MIGRATION
Chair: Giorgos Tsimouris
Iliya Atanasov, Sofia University: The Impact of the Global Financial Crisis on Emigration Flows from Bulgaria
The paper aims at studying the impact of the global financial crisis on the immigration flows from Bulgaria. We will see how immigration from Bulgaria to the EU countries has changed after the financial crisis, and what the main reasons for such a change are. Also, the paper will look for a connection between immigration flows and the economic development of Bulgaria since the global financial crisis in 2008.
Rossitza Guentcheva, New Bulgarian University: Perceptions of Crisis: Experiences of Bulgarian Migrants
The paper will juxtapose two accounts of Bulgarian migrants. The first is of a Bulgarian family that has lived for more than a decade in Cyprus and which has profoundly felt the crisis on various levels and dimensions, compelling them finally to return home. The other is a story of Bulgarian workers who have a sense of crisis on their current workplace in Bulgaria, which is prompting them to look for prospects abroad. The paper will show financial crisis as a transnational phenomenon making people cross boundaries in multiple directions and forcing them to mobilize networks and resources beyond the national scale.
15:30-16:00 Coffee break
Karim Murji, Open University / Mike Hajimichael, University of Nicosia: Living in crisis times
In this presentation we aim to reflect, auto-biographically, on some aspects of the lived experience of being in crisis times and the role of music, culture and politics in representing that. In the 1970s the UK experienced a serious economic crisis following the oil price shocks and it entered a period of hyperinflation and a bail out from the IMF. The economic crisis at that time was combined with and manifested through the rise of neo-Nazi groups like the National Front. Rock against racism was a response to that and the relationship between punk and reggae an important way in which music brought young people together. The current crisis has seen similar trends in the UK and Cyprus, with the rise of a nationalistic right but the popular response culturally and politically has been, as we will show, very different.
Stoyan Antonov, Plovdiv University: The Crisis – Experience and Framing
The Bulgarian economy has gone through several crises during the past 25-30 years, out of which the 1996-97 crisis led to the most serious turbulences in the economic and political life of society. By using autobiographical reflections on the crisis in question, and extracts from a couple of biographical interviews, conducted in 2001-02, the issue of a real experience as a starting point of subjective evaluation of a financial crisis is discussed. On the one hand, the basic methods of everyday practices for overcoming the crisis are identified: drastically cutting down expenses; recycling; increasing the amount of time used for preparing food; looking for sources of additional income. On the other hand, the crisis as an experience in 1996-97 and ‘crisis’ as a part of the discourse in 2013-14 are presented.
Friday, 9 September
9:30 – 13:00
SESSION 3: TRANSLATING CRISIS – DISCURSIVE PRACTICES
Chair: Milena Katsarska
Tao Papaioannou, University of Nicosia /Gregoris Ioannou, Frederick University, Cyprus: Performativity, media and the politics of protest: Strategizing performative framing in the ‘Save Akamas’ campaign
The mediation opportunity theory posits that protestors try to appropriate media practices in an effort to secure media attention, thus obtaining public recognition, support and legitimacy for their claims. Yet evidence suggests that news media tend to report protests through a paradigm, emphasizing dramaturgy and violence, obscuring assertions of injustice and reducing protest scope and demand. The dynamic interplay between media predilections for drama and spectacle and their typical biases for labelling protestors as deviant on the one hand, and the growingly media-reflexive tactics and communication strategies crafted by protestors in their attempt for public displays of symbolic power on the other, requires examination. Using the case of the ‘Save Akamas’ campaign against the government proposal of restricting the natural reserve area in Akamas peninsula within measures of stimulating the crisis-stricken Cypriot economy, this study explores whether and how activists strategize performative framing of protest events and whether they benefit from these strategies in their news media coverage. Ten interviews with key campaign organizers and participants illustrate that protestors deploy and innovate performative tactics to enhance the visibility, contextualization, identification and amplification of grievances. Performative framing is aligned to the aims and legitimacy of a protest while considering cultural resonance to the embodied and symbolic action, blame attribution, issue salience and political context. Finally, following a framing analysis of news coverage of the campaign, this study examines the possibility of citizen protests mitigating media spectacle frames through strategizing performativity, contributing to a more constructive discourse on social conflict.
Julien Mercille, University College Dublin: The Chaos in the Healthcare System: Real or Constructed?
This paper discusses the discourses of crisis, emergency and alarm circulated in the Irish media about the healthcare system since 2008. It is argued that ultimately, such alarming discourses serve the function of casting a negative light on the public healthcare system, opening the door to privatisation, which has already started.
Henry Silke, University of Limerick: The Mediatisation of Economic Inequality
One of the most significant economic developments over the last decades has been the rise in inequality. A widening of the income gap, the highly uneven distribution of wealth and a falling wage ratio are data indicators of this transformation. Indeed, after decades of benign neglect, the issues of economic and social inequalities have re-entered the stage of mainstream political attention and debate in the western heartland over the past couple of years. This is due, in part, to the public reception of publications by Thomas Piketty and Tony Atkinson who have worked in this field for years.
The research proposed here focuses on the media coverage of Thomas Piketty’s (2014) best-selling book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, exploring how the content of the book is represented in the media across four countries (Austria, Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom). We believe that media responses to Piketty’s book are likely to be marked by considerable variations with respect to how the book has been framed and discussed, not least because news media are heavily marked by - and immersed in - highly-specific (national) framing and interpretations of news stories (Preston 2009).
Piketty’s book serves as a leading model or exemplar of the current debates on the scope, measures, meaning and implications of equality and inequality. The key research question considers how economic issues and issues of inequality are mediated in the press across the four states.
11:00-11:30 Coffee break
Marnie Holborow, Dublin City University: ‘The social life of a verbal sign’: Brexit and its conflicting themes in Britain and Ireland
The struggle for hegemony in a period of crisis is played out in language. How do words capture ideology? How do they reflect the dynamic of competing ideologies? Drawing on the insights of the Marxist linguist, Voloshinov, my focus here is on the ideological themes of Brexit, a highly-charged keyword, in the political conjuncture of the current crisis in Britain and Ireland.
Snezha Tsoneva-Matthewson, Plovdiv University: Metaphors of the Global Economic Crisis in English and Bulgarian
The present paper focuses on the conceptual metaphors anchored in the language of leading Bulgarian and English-language newspapers and magazines during the period of the global financial crisis 2008-2013. It is no surprise that in both languages dominant metaphors such as THE CRISIS IS A DESTRUCTIVE NATURAL PHENOMENON such as tsunami, hurricane, earthquake, storm, etc. or THE CRISIS IS A DISEASE which can affect living organisms and remedies should be sought. But it is quite intriguing to identify religious imagery such as the Saviour or purgatory when referring to elements of the crisis in Bulgarian which has avoided a same-domain variant to the English austerity. This study will draw detailed parallels and identify specific differences in the conceptualization of the events during the global financial crisis 2008-2013. It will also attempt to compare the metaphorical language along the political orientation of the newspapers and magazines under investigation.
Zlatka Chervenkova, Plovdiv University / Ivaylo Dagnev, Medical University - Plovdiv: More is down, better is bad. Conceptualization of the Crisis in Bulgarian and English Everyday Discourse
The financial crisis that hit the world since 2007/2008 has had severe, albeit different in terms of language manifestations and repercussions. For people in developed countries, such as the UK, the times of financial turmoil spell fear of losing valuable assets, homes, or pension income, while people in developing countries fear for their mere subsistence. Hence, the linguistic means for expressing these respective states differ significantly. Having in mind the ubiquitous role that conceptual metaphor plays in shaping language and thought, we have ascertained considerable differences in the metaphoric representation of the crisis, pointing to fundamental differences in worldviews. In both countries of study, values across the social spectrum have changed in a similar way conceptually, while their linguistic manifestations vary considerably, reflecting the social and language environment. The corpus under investigation includes both tabloids in English and Bulgarian, and specialized economic and financial publications, highlighting differences in conceptualizations across and within cultures.
14:00 – 17:00
SESSION 4: VISUALLY DOCUMENTING CRISIS
Chair: Meglena Zlatkova
Presentation of the movie Eftim D.
Dobrinka Parusheva, Plovdiv University/Institute of Balkan Studies – BAS, Sofia: “What the crisis gnawed at us”. Crisis in caricatures
Saturday, 10 September
9:30 – 12:30
City tour in the panelka-district Trakiya (Meglena Zlatkova)
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch
14:00 – 16:30
SESSION 5 (closed session, for project participants only)
Experiencing and translating crisis in an academic project – auto-reflections
(A brief outline of what is expected as semi-structured responses will be distributed to the participants at the end of August.)