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Globalizing Culture and the Quest for Belonging: Ethnographies of the Everyday

Globalizing Culture and the Quest for Belonging: Ethnographies of the Everyday


In recent decades, the circulation of people, things, images and ideas in virtually every corner of the world has increased tremendously in speed, intensity and magnitude, albeit in highly uneven ways and with divergent effects. The greater significance of global horizons for everyday life across the world has created additional, stronger desires for belonging and identity, among both individuals and collectives. The Globalising Culture programme group investigates how people experience globalised conditions, partake in their production and are affected by them, as well as how they strategise, accommodate, resist or simply make do within the structures of daily existence.

A question unifying the research programme asks how people in diverse places and from distinct vernacular and historical traditions interpret and remake themselves in the tension between cultural ideals and the practical necessities and structures imposed by global economic, political and cultural flows. Researchers explore here how people develop a sense of belonging in a larger modern world while simultaneously often feeling excluded from it due to lack of material resources, geographical isolation or other forms of marginality.

This programme group seeks to understand how people in radically different places and cultures in the world act and imagine with the tools and concepts at their disposal: beliefs, convictions, bodies, adornments, emotions, desires. In examining these dynamics, the aim is to provide a strong, nuanced and embedded analysis that complements and challenges the highly aggregated reliance on statistics or other simplistic research methods, which generally are unable to explore the day-to-day experience of subjects.

Programme leader

dr. J.A. (Julie) McBrien

Julie McBrien