Susanne Ewert

Ethnographer & Photographer
The Division of Ethnology with the Folk Life Archives
Department of Arts and Culture Sciences
Lund University

To explore, express and analyse cultural practices in research and documentary projects, I have at times looked through the camera lens to focus on the task, to condense and capture it. But the photograph must not merely be seen as an unproblematic illustration to a text. The picture also creates a sense of authenticity with the ability to open our eyes to time. It highlights and invites us to talk about for example identity and social and cultural contexts.

In the market for rituals. An ethnological study on lifecycle rites and the experience economy.

Financed by The Swedish Research Council 2003 – 2005.

Research leader: Lynn Åkesson.

This project focused on ritual practices, material goods and performances. Based on three lifecycle rituals – birth, marriage and death – the project explored and analysed lifecycle rites as important drivers of the experience industry – and related professions – and its increasingly central place in consumer society. The overall research question was how modern rituals are staged on the experience market and what consequences the experience requirements have for the dramatization and interpretation of the studied rituals.



The universe of waste. An ethnological study of culture and decomposition

Financial support by The Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation 2004.

Research leader: Lynn Åkesson.


Sorting things out. Considering cultural categories of waste

Sub-projekt no. 6 in the research programme Toward Sustainable Waste Management (TOSUWAMA). Financial support by The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency) 2006 – 2012. Research leader: Lynn Åkesson.

The two projects overlapped each other engaging the main question of which underlying cultural concepts and categories are at stake when people “sort things out.” Our understanding of the distinction between useless waste and valuable, usable things was based on general and culturally determined assessments and everyday habits. Cultural processes of “wearing out” and “breaking down” were studied in terms of for example recycling and second-hand use, and the study also investigated the rift between lay people and experts in regard to waste-sorting systems.

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