The Thinking Allowed/BSA Ethnography Award for 2018 – Shortlist

The BBC Radio 4 programme Thinking Allowed has announced the shortlist for this year’s Ethnography Prize, an annual award run in association with the BSA. The winner will be a book or article that has made a significant contribution to ethnography: the in-depth, descriptive analysis of the life of a culture or sub-culture.

The award has been running since 2014, and is decided by a panel of academic judges. Last year’s winner was Hilary Pilkington for her work Loud and Proud: Passion and Politics in the English Defence League, based on three years of research with the English Defence League.

This year’s winner will be announced at the BSA’s annual conference in Newcastle on Thursday 12 April 2018. The prize is £1,000.

The shortlist is:

  1. Power, Knowledge and Feminist Scholarship: an Ethnography of Academia by Maria do Mar Pereira (Routledge)

This is a feminist ethnography of academic life that explores processes of academic valuation, looking at women’s and feminist studies’ scholarship to determine what constitutes ‘proper’ knowledge.

  1. Unity in Adversity: EU Citizenship, Social Justice and the Cautionary Tale of the UK by Charlotte O’Brien (Hart)

This study of EU law in action looks at the political, legal and administrative obstacles to justice faced by EU nationals, and suggests that the idea of equal treatment for EU nationals in the UK is an illusion.

  1. Living Before Dying: Imagining and Remembering Home by Janette Davies (Berghahn)

This in-depth description of life in a nursing home highlights the daily care of frail and ill residents aged between 80 and 100, including people suffering with dementia. It is based on a year of daily conversations between the author, patients and staff, who shared their stories of the pressures of the work.

  1. Resigned Activism: Living with Pollution in Rural China by Anna Lora-Wainwright (MIT Press)

This explores pollution and daily life in three villages in rural China and the varying forms of activism that develop in response. It finds that efforts to seek redress are frustrated by limited access to scientific evidence, growing socioeconomic inequalities, and complex local realities.

  1. The Myth of Self-Reliance: Economic Lives inside a Liberian Refugee Camp by Naohiko Omata (Berghahn)

This book provides a detailed account of Liberian refugees’ socio-economic lives in a refugee camp in Ghana. It sheds light on the considerable economic inequality between camp residents, and in-depth analysis reveals that this inequality has deep linkages to ethno-political privileges in the refugees’ pre-displacement lives in Liberia.

  1. Panthers in Parliament: Dalits, Caste and Political Power in South India by Hugo Gorringe (Oxford University Press)

This account of Dalit politics in Tamil Nadu analyses caste connections, leadership styles and corruption in politics. It also evaluates the impact of the Liberation Panthers Party on Tamil politics.

  1. ‘Birds, meat and babies: the multiple realities of foetuses in Qatar’ by Susie Kilshaw, a paper in Anthropology & Medicine, 24:2, 189-204

This paper explores miscarriage in Qatari based on 18 months of ethnographic research with Qatari women, studying miscarriages in a range of settings.