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On public policies, lives, and social spaces: anthropological perspectives from the Mediterranean [Mediterraneanist Network (MedNet)] 
Gabriele Orlandi (IDEAS, Aix-Marseille University)
Panas Karampampas (Durham University)
Paula Escribano (University of Barcelona)
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Cris Shore (Goldsmiths)
Agata Hummel (University of Warsaw)
Peter Froggatt Centre (PFC), 02/017
Wednesday 27 July, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

This panel encourages an anthropological perspective on public policies, considering them as spaces of negotiation, inclusion, and hope, as well as social actants resulting in violence and exclusion. Moreover, by looking at the Mediterranean it allows a narrow and novel comparative perspective.

Long Abstract:

Social and cultural reactions to the current Covid19-related crisis have generally resulted in new legitimacy for public intervention, thus disavowing once again the narrative of a State roll-back due to neoliberal globalization. This panel calls for a renewed anthropological attention to the manifold ways in which public policies shape the lives of ordinary people, (re)producing subjectivities, dispositions, and regimes of meaning.

Considering the social normativity performed by policies, it is possible to stress, at the same time, that strategies and tactics enacted by people and actors carrying on their own agenda make such dispositifs unstable. This makes ethnography particularly well-suited for understanding how public policies work - while avoiding the unconscious reproduction of State's logic - and for exploring the social spaces that those policies produce and reshape.

We will look in particular at the countries of the Mediterranean: featuring an amalgam of political instability, quasi-welfare, as well as imposed austerity, these countries constitute an excellent case for reframing our comprehension of the State, as well as of supranational, regional and municipal institutions. Recent literature points out that people there show comparable attitudes towards institutional violence of which public policies are a significant component. Thus, whilst contributing to revisit the Mediterranean as a field of study through comparison of current "policy worlds" this panel welcomes proposals on 1) the perceptions of policies, both of bureaucrats and targeted subjects, as well as on 2) how policies shape livelihoods and are, in turn, reshaped by the latter.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Wednesday 27 July, 2022, -