Introducing the Idle Ethnographer

Welcome to the portable e-soapbox of a sociologist with too much time on her hands. Milena Kremakova is fascinated by too many things and refuses to devote her time single-mindedly to any one pursuit. In this column she gives voice to one of her thinking selves: that of a perpetual traveller comfortably stuck between the positions of outsider and insider, geared to discover the unusual even in the most mundane setting, and always having something to say (or show). She pledges to irregulary scribble thin, unabashedly empirical quasi-ethnographic observations, loosely driven by pre-developed concepts, while promiscuously recycling insights from sociological theories.

Profile of writer: Milena Kremakova

Milena’s academic background involves 1.5 bachelor degrees (an eclectic but incredibly stimulating degree in European studies with specialism in law, and a loved but unfinished degree in Sociology –  both from Sofia University), two MAs (in European Studies from Sofia University, and in Social and Political Thought from Warwick), and an ongoing doctorate in sociology and social policy. In her academic daytime as a doctoral student, she is currenty preoccupied with the effects of post-socialist labour marketisation on individual lives.

Milena thinks in English, Bulgarian, and Russian (in no particular order) and understands varying degrees of German, French, and Italian. She is an omnivorous reader with undivided and eclectic academic and personal interests, including but not limited to:

–        the social uncertainty of post-socialist transformations;

–        EU-developments;

–        actor-network theory (Latour and Callon);

–        social construction of labour markets, welfare, and statistics;

–        the theory of justification (Boltanski, Chiapello and Thevenot);

–        and the admittedly overly specific but fascinating world of maritime work.

The Idle Ethnographer at Work (Photo: Milena Kremakova / Idle Ethnographer TM)

In social research, Milena advocates qualitative methodologies that follow the Weberian tradition, and multi-method research approaches in which various qualitative/quantitative methods are not separated but used creatively as complementary tools adapted to do different research jobs. On the side, she does photography and hopes some day to know enough mathematics to be able to understand chaos theory (non-linear dynamics).

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