In traditional societies, elders defend their positions of power by invoking “tradition”. In modern consumer societies, change and innovation have become the new dogma. In fact, such seemingly “naturel” processes as administrative reform or planned obsolescence keep some groups in power and disempower others. Ellen argues that the content, shape and speed of change are the result of human decision-making; they are not inevitable. Ellen explains how people can have their say in these decisions.
Ellen is an inspirational professor whose passion is “everyday democracy”. She is an anthropologist trained in law, linguistics, Chinese studies, and currently heading the Anthropology Institute of the University of Neuchâtel. Ellen incites us to think beyond conformity, to act against inevitability and to exercise our capacity to question and to debate. She is currently heading a research project on Intangible Cultural Heritage in Switzerland in connection with UNESCO. Ellen was born in the USA and lives in Fribourg.