Program_Ambiguity of Action

Ambiguity of Action: Ethnographic and Theoretical Perspectives

Symposium organized by Vulnerable Lives – Research Group led by Prof. Marja Liisa Honkasalo

June 10-11, 2014, Department of Social Research, University of Helsinki

This two-day symposium invites social scientists to ponder on the ambiguity of action from ethnographic and theoretical perspectives. The starting point to the symposium arises from ethnographic research in which we have apprehended precarious modes of action that deserve more social scientific attention. But how to ask theoretical questions without simplifying the messiness and ambivalence of the fabrics of life we study? With the burden of social scientific theorizing of action, how to approach modes of agency which are passive, small scale or ambiguous? Presentations and lectures engage with ambiguities of action and the ways in which action is intertwined with various social bonds and relations, as well as, material aspects, including the body and technology. We invite you to come to think and have a conversation with us about this pressing theme of empirical scholars interested in large, theoretical questions.

Tuesday June 10, 2014 Siltavuorenpenger 3a, Auditorium 107

9.00 Registration and coffee

9.30-9.40 Marja-Liisa Honkasalo: Opening words

Chair: Kaisa Ketokivi

9.40-10.55  Marja-Liisa Honkasalo: Ambiguous agency. A radical relational view

10.55-12.25 Workshop 1

Sanna Rikala: ‘Quiet agency’ in women’s burnout processes

Leena Åkerblad: Beyond insecurity. Unstable labor market position and precarious agency

Annalisa Sannino: On the agency of seemingly passive modes of action: The example of Vygotsky’s waiting experiment

12.25-13.35 Lunch (Viola, at one’s own expense)

Chair: Marja-Liisa Honkasalo

13.35-14.50 Robert Fairbanks: How it Works. Recovering Citizens in Post-Welfare Philadelphia

14.50-16.00 Workshop 2

Anna Leppo & Riikka Perälä: Agency in the context of pharmaceutical treatment of drug problems in post-welfare Finland

Elina Paju: Methods for Mess: How to relate to the wildness in social scientific data

16.00-16.30 Coffee break

Chair: Kari Vesala

16.30-17.40 Workshop 3

Olli Pyyhtinen: Making Art. From Possession of Agency to Being Possessed by and Immersed in Action

Katve-Kaisa Kontturi: Folds of Sustainability: Fabrics and Agency in Grey Gardens

Symposium Dinner 19- (for speakers, at Klippan)

Wednesday June 11, 2014 Siltavuorenpenger 3a, Auditorium 107

Chair: Anna Leppo

9.30-10.45 Mustafa Emirbayer: Relationality and Ambiguity

10.45-12.15 Workshop 4 

Frank Martela: From individual to duovidual: Care as a co-created form of action

Riitta Högbacka: The agency of the disempowered

Kaisa Ketokivi & Atte Vieno: Belonging-work: On the ambiguity of making bonds in everyday life

12.15-13.30  Lunch (Viola, at one’s own expense)

Chair Riikka Perälä

13.30-14.30 Workshop 5

Kari Mikko Vesala: Serving somebody as a question of agency

Susanne Ådahl: Fragile dialogues: Negotiating agency with voices

14.30-15 Coffee break

15-17 Final discussion (panel)

17-19 Get-together (Olivia, wine reception for everyone)