Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Crashing, Caring and Cashing in: An Ethnography of Motor Insurance and Road Accidents in Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Part of ‘Moralising Misfortune: A Comparative Anthropology of Commercial Insurance’, an ERC Consolidator project of Erik Bähre.

2017 - 2021
Irene Moretti

Moralising Misfortune: A Comparative Ethnography of Commercial Insurance

What moral concerns do people have when they encounter the financial sector in their everyday life? This question will be studied in six countries: Brazil, Italy, India, The Netherlands, South Africa and the USA. The project explicitly deals with highly personal and intimate encounters with financial globalisation. This project examines commercial insurance within the context of broader transactional systems. It examines private insurance as a form of solidarity that is connected with other solidarities, for example among family members, social groups, the (welfare) state, or within voluntary associations.

PhD project: Crashing, Caring and Cashing: An Ethnography of Motor Insurance and Road Accidents in Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Italy is a car-dependent country. While having a car often is a crucial factor in acquiring and keeping a job, the spread and daily use of vehicles lead to one of the highest rates of severe and fatal road accidents in Europe. This ethnographic research aims to understand how insurance pay-outs affect practices of care in the aftermath of road accidents. In doing so, it brings to light how motor insurance gives rise to moral and economic evaluations of social ties and individual suffering.

(Thumbnail photograph made by Brechtje Boeke)

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