The common sense of expert activists : practitioners, scholars, and the problem of statelessness in Europe

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Dialectical Anthropology. Springer. 2022, 46, pp. 457-473. ISSN 0304-4092. eISSN 1573-0786. Available under: doi: 10.1007/s10624-022-09666-5
Zusammenfassung

In this article, I follow a group of professionals in their efforts to address the problem of statelessness in Europe. My interlocutors divide the members of their group into “practitioners,” on the one hand, and “scholars” on the other. Relating this emic dichotomization to Antonio Gramsci’s dialectical take on common sense, I argue against a theoretical reductionism that regards expertise and activism as two essentially different and mostly separate endeavors, and put forward the concept of the “expert activist.” Unpacking what I call the “practitioner–scholar dilemma,” I show that in their effort to end statelessness, “practitioners” take a reformist route that aims at realizing citizenship for the stateless, while “scholars” are open to a more revolutionary path that contemplates the denaturalization and even the eradication of the state. By drawing on Gramsci, I suggest that the impasse the group encounters in their work might relate more to the structural constraints imposed by the state within or against which they operate than to the problem of statelessness they are trying to solve. This article contributes to a body of emergent work in anthropology that explores the intersection of scholarly expertise and activism.

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300 Sozialwissenschaften, Soziologie
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ISO 690BEYER, Judith, 2022. The common sense of expert activists : practitioners, scholars, and the problem of statelessness in Europe. In: Dialectical Anthropology. Springer. 2022, 46, pp. 457-473. ISSN 0304-4092. eISSN 1573-0786. Available under: doi: 10.1007/s10624-022-09666-5
BibTex
@article{Beyer2022-10commo-58746,
  year={2022},
  doi={10.1007/s10624-022-09666-5},
  title={The common sense of expert activists : practitioners, scholars, and the problem of statelessness in Europe},
  volume={46},
  issn={0304-4092},
  journal={Dialectical Anthropology},
  pages={457--473},
  author={Beyer, Judith}
}
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