Visegrád Belongings – a conference report
Over the course of two days filled with intensive discussion, the conference “Visegrád Belongings: Freedoms, Responsibilities and Everyday Dilemmas” at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology demonstrated the vigor of the newly established research Network dedicated to the V4 states – Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.
The conference provided an opportunity to renew existing ties and form many new ones at multiple levels. Participants included retired colleagues whose research experience stretches back to the socialist era (Mihály Sárkány and Peter Skalnik), leading figures in the present institutional landscape, and a range of younger researchers (postdocs and doctoral students). Although most participants were based within the Visegrád countries, other EU countries and North America were also represented. As envisaged in this Network, the states of former East Germany also figured prominently in the comparative debates.
Topics for future meetings and conferences were discussed during the network’s business meeting. A workshop will be organized on 18–19 October at the University of West Bohemia (Pilsen, Czech Republic) by Daniel Sosna: “Thrift in Anthropology”. This has been made possible by a grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation; additional support will be provided by the MPI. A conference on migration-related issues is envisioned for summer 2019 in Poznań.
The detention in Slovakia of a colleague, Professor David Scheffel, was a matter of great concern to Network members. They unanimously agreed to issue a statement urging prompt and transparent action by the Slovak authorities. The statement can be read here.