Escalations: A Comparative Ethnographic Study of Accelerating Change
Within the last decade, the world has witnessed a number of escalations sparked by decisive yet often unremarkable events: the self-immolation of a Tunisian street vendor that prompted the Arab Spring, the bursting of a housing bubble in the US that catalysed a global financial crisis, and the publication of cartoons in a Danish newspaper that triggered an international controversy. Escalations are rarely anticipated and their outcomes are almost always unpredictable. Their tremendous effects, however, are beyond question. This project aims to understand and theorize such escalating processes from an anthropological perspective.
The project is funded by the Danish Research Council for Independent Research Ɩ Humanities.
The project’s aim is to understand and theorize escalating processes from an anthropological perspective. Through a comparison of different ethnographic settings, it will examine the shared features of contemporary escalations, defined as accelerating and unpredictable changes that involve ripple effects, transformations of scale and intense imaginations of past and future.
In the project, such escalations will be examined from the vantage point of the Mongolian mining boom, Danish Muslims’ engagement in the Arab Spring and the monsoon in India. A comparison of these settings – enabled by a project design of coordinated field methods and shared theoretical concepts – will further our understanding of both the nature of escalations in specific settings and as a general phenomenon. An understanding of this may be crucial for grasping the dynamics of the sudden and rapid changes emerging in the 21st century.
Mining frenzy and escalating economies in Mongolia
(Senior project, Lars Højer)
Monsoonal Escalations in India and Beyond
(Postdoctoral project, Stine Simonsen Puri)
The Arab Spring and escalating effects among Muslims in Denmark
(Postdoctoral project, Anja Kublitz)
Højer, L., Kublitz, A., Puri, S. S. og A. Bandak (2018): "Escalations: Theorizing sudden accelerating change." Anthropological Theory 0(0).
Kublitz, Anja (2016) “From Revolutionaries to Muslims: Liminal Becomings across Palestinian Generations in Denmark”. International Journal of Middle East Studies 48:67-86.
Kublitz, Anja (2015) “The Ongoing Catastrophe: Erosion of Life in the Danish Camps”, Journal of Refugee Studies. doi:10.1093/jrs/fev019.
Baer, Laura, Ritu Birla and Stine Simonsen Puri (2015) Speculation. Futures and Capitalism in India. In Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East,
vol. 6, No. 3, pp. 387-391.
- Professor Ghassan Hage (University of Melbourne)
- Dr Martin Holbraad (University College London)
- Professor Joel Robbins (University of Cambridge)
- Professor Patricia Spyer (University of Leiden)
Department of Cross-Cultural
and Regional Studies
University of Copenhagen
Karen Blixens Vej 4, bygning 10
2300 Copenhagen S
Events and activities
January 2020 – Workshop on ‘Escalated events and their remnants’ arrangeret af Birgitte Stampe Holst
”Ruptures: Anthropologies of Discontinuity in Times of Turmoil” (edited by Martin Holbraad, Bruce Kapferer, and Julia F. Sauma). Escalations co-sponsored the event on which this book is based and Anja Kublitz and Stine Krøijer are among the contributors.
Ethnographies of Escalation
Special issue workshop on December 2018.
3 June 2018 – Anja Kublitz interviewed for Danish television (DR2, Deadline)
Workshop on Escalations
Workshop on Rupture at UCL
Our project is co-sponsoring a workshop on Ruptures at UCL (London) on 13-15 February. The workshop is jointly hosted by the European Research Council research projects Comparative Anthropologies of Revolutionary Politics, based at UCL, and Egalitarianism: Forms, Processes, Comparisons, based at the University of Bergen.
Anja Kublitz awarded the 2016 Khayrallah Prize in Migration Studies
for her article “From Revolutionaries to Muslims: Liminal Becomings Across Palestinian Generations in Denmark”. The Prize recognizes outstanding scholarly studies from any discipline focusing on Middle East migration and diasporas. Read more