Elena Reichl M.A.

PhD Student | Mobility and Sorting Processes

I am a social and cultural anthropologist at the Department of Anthropology and African Studies (ifeas) at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. Together with Elena Hernández, I work as a research assistant and doctoral candidate on Project B04: "Sorting with Care: Human Differentiation in Contact Zones of Support,” led by Heike Drotbohm. Within that project, I am responsible for the Brazilian case study.

During my field research in 2022/23, which spanned 10 months in São Paulo and Curitiba, questions of distributive justice were the subject of intense debate due to the presidential election campaign. I engaged in participant observation, immersing myself in the everyday practices of community kitchens, urban land occupations, and Christian communities to examine the distinctions embedded in the support practices of these collectives.

I was particularly interested in the linguistic forms and bodily performances assumed in these mostly asymmetric constellations, the negotiation of roles in concrete interactions, the imaginations of humanity associated with them, and how these manifest in political notions of distributive justice. The focus of my research is on both the self-classification and classification by others of those organizing and providing support, and on those in need of, receiving, questioning, or rejecting support.

Foto: Stephanie Füssenich