C2 Anthropology in Action


Panel organisers: Petra Ezzeddine and Marie Heřmanová

Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities, Charles University in Prague


Discussant: Tomáš Ryška

University of Pardubice


The panel will focus on the specific application of anthropological knowledge in practically oriented social projects. We will present five applied anthropological projects currently running in the Czech Republic in order to provide an open forum for debate for anthropologist working outside academia. We will critically reflect concrete social projects in the field of urban planning, social policy making (social exclusion), participative activism and social marketing.  We will discuss crucial aspects connected to the anthropology in action: ethics of applied research, political and ideological assumptions of the research, „cultural brokerage“, project assessments and mutual dialog with academia, NGOs and state institutions.



Saturday September 13, 2014


11:00-13:00 Anthropology in Action

Chairs:  Petra Ezzeddine and Marie Heřmanová


11:00-11:20        Hana Synková: Anthropology in the Service of the State

11:20-11:40        Barbora Bírová and Michal Lehečka: Anthropologists as community builders (GSC)

11:40-12:00        Kateřina Sidiropulu Janků: O leperiben / Memory of Roma Workmen (From the households through the classrooms into the street)

12:00-12:20       Petra Ezzeddine and Marie Heřmanová: How to sell a migrant domestic worker? The use of ethnographic data in awareness raising campaign.

12:20-13:00       Tomáš Ryška: Discussion


13:00-14:00 Lunch

Anthropology in the Service of the State

Hana Synková

(University of Pardubice/Agency for Social Inclusion)

The Agency for Social Inclusion is a body at the Office of the Czech Government which has initiated a number of researches. The Agency produces several types of researches – topical or broad analyses of local social exclusion mechanisms to support local consultants of the Agency, analyses aiming at policy change or evaluations of its own functioning. In my talk I will present the im/possibilities of doing anthropologically-minded research in the context of the government, describe the different political contexts of such research and analyze its potential of “agency” on the level of state social policy making, local change and critique.



Anthropologists as community builders

Michal Lehečka, Barbora Bírová

(Anthropictures / Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities, Charles University in Prague)

Anthropictures is an independent organization that focuses on applied anthropological research in the fields of community development, urban development and quality evaluation. Its aim is to contribute to the solutions of social challenges by exploring anthropological research methods. This paper focuses on a long-term research in one specific urban area (Prague 14) partly financed by local authorities. On the basis of fieldwork, researchers build a picture of the population structure in individual locations. This data could provide better understanding of the nature of social relations between different actors, local communities, informal community groups, local boards and private entities and could thus – if used correctly – serve as a basis for more transparent and democratic local governance. In general, we would like to emphasize the methodological and ethical problems caused by the difference between academic research projects and the research project financed by local authorities.



O leperiben / Memory of Roma Workmen
From the households through the classrooms into the street

Kateřina Sidiropulu Janků

(Department of Sociology, Masaryk University, Brno)

O leperiben/Memory of Roma Workmen that is an applied sociological project realized in the Ostrava industrial area and Brno-Bratislavská /Cejl area between 2012-2015. In a heterogenic way, with the help of involving the witnesses´ descendants, academics, community workers and teachers we first found the willing witnesses who told us their story of life. Then we created the exhibition material that we are now introducing to the public in Brno, Ostrava and Prague. Meanwhile we presented the particular outcomes in public, in various debates and cultural festivals. In my presentation I will focus not only to the memory work, but also on the process of inter-ethnic co-operation and politics of minority presence in the public spaces.



How to sell a migrant domestic worker? The use of ethnographic data in awareness raising campaign

Petra Ezzeddine, Marie Heřmanová

(Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities, Charles University in Prague /SIMI Prague and People in Needs Foundation)

„Foreign Housekeepers“, was a fake job agency offering migrant domestic workers under very controversial conditions (emphasizing personal qualities of the migrants such as submissive behavior, ability to work 24 hours daily etc.). The agency was created by a team of anthropologists, NGOs (Association for Integration and Migration/People in Needs Foundation) and digital advertising specialists. The campaign was based on detailed ethnographic knowledge of the situation of migrant domestic workers in the Czech Republic. In our presentation, we would like to present the results of the campaign on Czech media and its impact on the social and legal situation of migrant domestic workers. We will discuss both advantages and disadvantages of doing applied anthropology aimed at awareness raising and advocacy.