Department of Social Anthropology
bsas seminar

Department seminar: Elisabeth Schober

The Department of Social Anthropology is happy to announce the upcoming seminar with Dr. Elisabeth Schober, Associate Professor, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo. The title of the lecture is "Tears of Malmö, Hope of Pusan. Infrastructures of Resistance in South Korean Shipbuilding".

Shipyard in Pusan, South Korea
Shipyard in Pusan, South Korea.
Elisabeth Schober

Main content

Seminar paper

What kind of labour goes into the making of a container ship, and what large-scale political and economic shifts have affected its mass production over the last few decades? Recently, container ships have significantly grown in size, as stacking ever more containers on a single vessel has been one response to the challenges emerging during and after the crisis of 2007/08. The result has been a rise in the demand for ultra-large container ships, which East and Southeast Asian shipbuilders produce for the major players in the (European-dominated) shipping industry.

In this paper, I will engage ethnographic material collected in Northern Europe, South Korea, and the Philippines, in order to shed light on how ongoing global economic uncertainties affect labour in the maritime world of shipbuilding. By tracing the stories of two cranes – a Goliath gantry crane originally located in Sweden that was dubbed “the tears of Malmö” upon its arrival in South Korea; and the now dismantled Crane No. 85 that until recently stood at a shipyard in Pusan – I shall investigate how and why these machines at times have also been remodeled into infrastructures of resistance against all-too-mobile capital.

About the lecturer

Dr. Elisabeth Schober is Associate Professor at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo.

Light refreshments will be served in the Corner Room after the seminar. All interested are welcome!