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LabUK | Ethnographies of Britain

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A Word of Welcome:

The Laboratory for the Ethnography of the UK (LabUK) is a research platform for the study of contemporary British society and culture through an anthropological lens. Along with other post-industrial societies, Britain is an implicit reference point in much anthropological thinking, imagined primarily as an exemplar of ‘the West’. But what does Britain look like as a subject of ethnographic enquiry? And what value does its study add to anthropology and broader public debates about contemporary British society and culture and their future?

LabUK provides a home for versatile ethnographic research, exploring cultural, political, ethnic, medical, visual and material aspects of living in Britain. A hub of diverse intellectual and research activities and events, LabUK promotes empirically driven thinking, comparison, ethnographic reflexivity, and readiness to experiment with unconventional themes and creative interdisciplinary methodologies.

Combining the knowledge and skills of academic staff and research students at UCL and beyond our research clusters around five core themes:

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A C D D B Studio of Material Life
Everyday Citizens Imagination, Body and Performance Fashioning Material Britain Organic and Built Landscape Health care, living and dying Studio of Material Life
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News and Events

SCI

Cosmologies of destiny: One-day workshop on the ethnography of predestination, temporality & freedom

What does it mean to live a life that has already been written? How does one understand the past and prepare for the future when superior forces mingle with human agency? Distinctly from notions of fortune and coincidence, ‘destiny’ evokes conceptions of human lives and futures that are pre-determined: be it by high political powers, cosmic forces, or transcendental entities.
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Published: May 26, 2015 2:47:56 PM

Subjectivity and Mental Health

The Subjectivity of the Body in Mental Health: An Anthropological Workshop

In recent years there has been a lot of debate about subjectivities and mental health. The forming of the self through techniques has subsequently given new angles on research of the formation of selves through bodily and mental practices. Some of those studies, however, tend towards a hidden essentialism – body and mind as the instruments that are used to act upon an assumed self. On the other side of the spectrum, studies of subjectivity assume that the subject is ephemeral, immaterial, a thing of the law, language or the mind alone. If we do not challenge this assumption, we might easily fall into the trap Foucault cautioned against when he called the soul a prison of the body. More...

Published: May 20, 2015 12:35:37 PM

Material Culture Research Day

Material Culture Research Day

Please join us for a series of informal talks on current research by PhD students, Postdocs, Visitors and Material Culture Staff from the UCL Department.
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Published: May 18, 2015 2:47:50 PM

Current Vacancies

Research Associate Vacancy

The successful candidate will be a promising ethnomusicologist familiar with methods in comparative ethnomusicology. The main focus of the post will be to make a comparison of the music and musicking practices of egalitarian hunter-gatherers societies from across the world, and publish the results. The primary research focus will be on hunter-gatherers in Africa and South-East Asia. More...

Published: May 12, 2015 3:23:22 PM

The War of the Worlds

The War of Worlds: Self and Society in Social Movements

This two-day international conference at UCL brings together ethnographers who have worked with activists across several continents, to explore the shape and significance of social movements today.
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Published: May 11, 2015 10:07:03 AM