Diana Sarkis Fernández studied History and Anthropology at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona. She holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Barcelona. While a PhD student she was visiting fellow at the École d’Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales and the Centre d’Enseignement, de Documentation et de Recherches pour les Études Féministes-Paris VII (Paris), the Institut Français du Proche Orient (Damascus, Alep and Beirut) and the University of Damascus. Actually she is a member of the Grupo de Estudios sobre Reciprocidad (GER) and the International Research Network Athimar [Research Collective on agriculture, environment and labour in the Arab World].
Her dissertation, “Working with the heart: Work, Capital and Moral Economies in Syrian Agriculture”, is based on 27 months of multi-sited fieldwork and examines the reconfiguration of social relations of reproduction, agricultural experiences of work and moral economies in the context of the Syrian Economic Reform [Islah el Iqtisadi] of the 2000 decade. The ethnography pointed up the plurality and simultaneity of diverse economic logics and moral frameworks and highlighted the prevalence of very personalized labor relations (family, friendship, patronage) and historical rooted moral metaphors (cooperation, intimate solidarity, reciprocity) which structure economic practice and experience. Diana argued that these embedded forms of living and practicing economy are both 1) the expression of subaltern classes’ history of struggle over reproduction which has been reenacted by the political project of Arab Socialism, and 2) the core of contemporary processes of accumulation of capital.
Her current project addresses the restructuring of household working-class economies following the Economic Crisis in South-Eastern Spain and examines their grassroots explanations about this political process presented by mainstream economics as a reified product of mathematical laws or as a national failure. The preliminary hypothesis tackles the grassroots metaphors of the ‘theft’ and the ‘troika’ as two central notions of a folk explanation about the crisis condensing the perspectives of ‘accumulation by dispossession’ and that of ‘international division of labor’.
Her publications include: (with Alquézar, R., Homs, P. and Morelló, N.) “Prácticas cooperativas: ¿estrategias de supervivencia, movimientos alternativos o reincrustación capitalista?”, ARS & HUMANITAS, special issue about Reciprocity and Solidarity (2014); “El contrato es la ley: estado, economía y políticas de la responsabilidad en la agricultura Siria”, in I.Terradas Saborit (ed.) Antropología de la Responsabilidad (2011); “Le devenir controversé des femmes syriennes. Regards croisés sur le travail, le mariage et la domesticité”, Nouvelles Questions Féministes 27, 3 (2008).