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A multidisciplinary perspective on the most relevant local and global issues regarding solidarity, including citizenship, poverty, sustainability, migration, welfare reform, social movements and private initiatives.
Solidarity is one of today’s main challenges. Highly volatile flows of people, goods and ideas, as well as the restructuring of markets and governing institutions have led to a high degree of globalization. Global links crisscross national borders and challenge established conceptions and structures. In addition, neoliberal reforms of state and society across the globe rewrite social contracts between people and states. How is solidarity imagined and practiced in this contemporary context?
The Master’s programme in Anthropology and Development Studies – with the theme of
Read more about this course
1.A completed Bachelor's degree in Anthropology, Development Studies, Non-Western Sociology or related area.
2.Basic training in Social Science research processes.
3.A proficiency in English:
a.A TOEFL score of ≥575 (paper based) or ≥90 (internet based)
b.An IELTS score of ≥6.5
c.Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or CPE with a mark of C or higher
4.Documents need to be written correctly, in good English.
5.The degree should have been obtained in the last 7 years; if longer ago the student should refer to recent expertise in a related field
€2,168 (from EEA countries); €16,000 (from non-EEA countries).
I made my first steps in the Netherlands only a week after I had finally made up my mind where to pursue my Master's degree. Wavering between several European universities with a Cultural Anthropology programme in English, what finally tipped the scales in my decision was the opportunity at Radboud University to conduct my own ethnographic research - and walk the so-called "rite of passage" in the discipline of anthropology - was just too valuable to miss.
Following this first day in Nijmegen I quickly found my way on campus and in the city. Notably, once I started to ride my bike in the streets of Nijmegen, to go to class or simply to go shopping, I began to feel in sync with Dutch culture. Moreover, even though I was the only international student in my Anthropology group, I felt very welcome, perhaps because students of anthropology learn to look at culture and yet beyond it.
My track in the Master's Program focused on tourism and its key implications on today's cultural preservation and exchange. After several months of intensive theoretical preparation, in January I began my fieldwork on volunteering at organic farms (or "wwoofing") in Portugal, as an increasingly popular and existentially authentic form of alternative tourism. I travelled from a farm to farm, followed the volunteers in their daily tasks, and took a number of interviews and field notes, while trying to build rapport with my informants and balance my identity as a researcher. In the end, my fieldwork study fully satisfied my yearning to perform "real" anthropological work, and I came back to the Netherlands with plenty of important data.
Upon returning to Nijmegen I started writing the Master's thesis. The summer atmosphere in Nijmegen was everything but conducive to productive work in front of the computer screen, with the Dutch celebrating their victories in the World Cup, and the city turning into a party scene during the Vierdaagse (The International Four-Days March). Yet, thanks to a weekly writing seminar, peer- and supervisor reviews, we were all able to finish our theses on time.
Since then, I have been working on organizing international forums, conferences and symposiums at the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin. In the future I would like to continue my work in the non-profit sector, and apply my solid training in anthropological research in grassroots activism.
'Finding connections comes easily to me now'
At Amnesty International I supervise and support local volunteers. We organise all sorts of campaigns and events to raise awareness of our organisation and achieve results. I contribute to the conception of those campaigns and events. I also make sure volunteers are trained. These are all practice-based activities and that suits me very well. I certainly benefit from having studied Anthropology and Development Studies, as I regularly draw on the knowledge I acquired at university. Finding connections is something that comes easily to me now. I have, as a result, come to understand the field in which I work very well. Amnesty International does not only help political prisoners, we also fight for people who are suppressed socially, culturally or economically. Although my role is limited to working in an office in the Netherlands, I do help to make a better world. And that was no different in my previous job. At Cordaid my duties included supporting a lobby network of Cordaid's African partner organisations. During my student years, I particularly enjoyed being part of the student society of Anthropology and Development Studies. We organised working visits, debates and a range of other activities, and we published a magazine. The experience I gained in that society really comes in handy in my current job!"
"You have to figure most things out yourself, it's really a challenge."
A year at high school in New Zealand had really triggered my interest in exploring other cultures. That was one of my reasons for choosing anthropology. During my Master's I specialised in social and political mobility. For the research part of my Master's, I went to Ghana to research how children in orphanages see Western volunteers. Here in the West, people are always very impressed with and enthusiastic about someone going to Africa to do volunteer work. But my studies had taught me to be more critical. I stayed with a Ghanaian host family for three months, and a further two weeks at an orphanage. It proved quite difficult to make contact with the children. Everyday life at those orphanages turned out to be completely different from what I thought. The expectations of the children, ‘mothers' and Western volunteers are highly divergent. Western volunteers were, for example, unable to cook Ghanaian food, so the children did the cooking, also for the volunteers. And they also did the laundry. Children go to school during the day, meaning that volunteers cannot work with them then. I stayed in touch with my supervisor back in the Netherlands by email throughout my research project. That was nice, especially when you're at a dead end and not sure what you're supposed to be doing. But still, you have to figure most things out yourself, it's really a challenge. My Master's thesis was also about this research. That was quite a lot of work, but not impossible. I finished the whole thing on time.
During my Master's in Anthropology of Mobility at Radboud University Nijmegen (2009-2010), I conducted research on hunting tourism. Hunting tourism is a rather unknown type of tourism, but because of its great range of possibilities and number of followers, it fits in perfectly in the broader theoretical framework of socio-economic mobility. However, not just in the Netherlands, but also in other Western societies, hunters are usually stigmatized as being cruel en blood-thirsty men. In my MA research, I wanted to give them a chance to freely voice their perspective and how and why they choose to search for new hunting lands and game.
I focused particularly on the relationship of hunter tourists and their prey. I compared the normal experience of hunting at home with hunting in a commercial and touristic context. I traveled to England, Germany, France and South Africa joining hunter tourists, and experienced at close hand what hunting abroad entailed. The touristic context affected the way in which a hunter relates to its prey and often created personal conflicts when put in an unusual situation. These changes manifested themselves particularly in the way they reflected on the hunting and their role as hunters, when encountering their prey.
My multi-sited ethnographic experience had a big influence on my development as a social researcher. I truly feel I have grown up as an anthropologist by doing this research on my own, traveling to multiple places with people from all kinds of backgrounds, being often confronted with unexpected circumstances, improvising and developing my interviewing skills. Furthermore, I think - like any other anthropologist would say - that my topic was the best topic I could have chosen. I will never forget the amazing people I have met, who let me enter into their fascinating world of hunting and particularly in that of hunting tourism.
"It allows you to focus on exactly what interests you."
I spent three and a half months in Southern Ethiopia, as part of my Master's in Development Studies. I stayed out in the countryside, without the comforts of home. Together with a fellow student, I did research at coffee farms. We looked at the role trust plays in the functioning of coffee cooperatives. We also looked at the participation of women in these co-ops. I really enjoyed the contact we had with the farmers; they were all hugely enthusiastic and happy to collaborate. We surveyed and interviewed both male and female co-op members, with the help of interpreters, of course. We also used economic experiments to study the behaviour of the farmers. We concluded that trust is in fact extremely important in the functioning of a cooperative, and we also found that female members are limited in their participation in all sorts of ways. They are not invited to attend meetings, for example. But strikingly enough, this does not lessen their trust in the co-op. I found this research, and the Master's programme, really interesting. It allows you to focus on exactly what interests you. Our supervisors thought at first, and so did we, that this research might perhaps be too ambitious. It was a huge buzz to see that it all went extremely well after all.
In 2005, new international deals were struck for the organisation of bilateral aid to developing countries, i.e. aid between the government of a developing country and the government of the donor country. A few years further down the line, I went to Uganda to find out whether those deals are actually functioning as intended by the various parties involved. The international community agreed, among other things, that developing countries were to have a greater say in matters relating to aid, that the donating country and the developing country should work together more closely, and that donating countries were to work together. This is because in the past donors often set up identical projects in one and the same area, without any idea of what other donor countries were doing.
I spoke to local organisations (NGOs) in Uganda, and to staff of aid programmes of leading donor countries, as well as to representatives of Ugandan government departments. One of the conclusions I could draw was that mutual collaboration between donors is both effective and cost-cutting, but also leads to the formation of a powerful donor cartel.
The great thing about this Master's programme is that you organise everything yourself. That means you have a lot of freedom, independence and flexibility. Before you go, you draw up a research proposal that clearly defines what you will research and what not. Once you're abroad, you get to work on that. I spent a total of four months in Uganda. I learned a lot there!
'I enjoy doing research in the field of migration'
After I finished the ‘Anthropology and mobility' master in 2009, I had several short-term jobs. I started as a research assistant in a study on Sharia law in the Netherlands, which was particularly interesting, as the theme was and still is at the core of current policy debates. Following this job, I flew to Kyrgyzstan to do a traineeship at a local development organisation for a six-month period. I was responsible for writing project proposals and I conducted (part of) a research under the authority of the World Bank. This was an impressive and valuable experience, because of the timing - there was a coup and much civil unrest - and because I was able to conduct research in a new environment. When I returned to the Netherlands, I participated in another short-term project about witchcraft at Wageningen University. I am glad to have had the opportunity to work in several different jobs in different fields so that I was able to get varied work experience, as well as to find out that I enjoy doing research in the field of migration.
And this is what I do now. In February 2011 I started a PhD at the law faculty of Radboud University. My PhD research is in the field of legal anthropology. It is about Turkish and Spanish migrants who return to their countries of origin after their retirement and Dutch retirees who migrate to Turkey or Spain. The focus of the research is on the transnational bonds that the retirement migrants maintain and their strategies concerning residence, social security, and citizenship. The research group in which I work concerns itself with different groups of migrants: Spanish and Turkish migrants who return to their country of origin after retirement, and Dutch retirement migrants (‘pensionados') who migrate to either Spain or Turkey after retirement. This first year I am delving into the literature about this topic, so that I have enough theoretical background to go to the field during the second year of my PhD, to which I am much looking forward.
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