Lisa Pope Fischer

Fulbright Scholar: Lisa Pope Fischer, PhD

Lisa Pope Fischer is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology (BA – UC Berkeley, MA – University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, PhD – UCLA). Her research in post socialist Hungary addresses issues of time and space, societal change, constructions of identity, and gender. Her work explores the interrelationship between the socio-political context, globalization, and social practice. She delves into symbolic expressions of identity through everyday practices and the social, political, economic context in which they are taking place.

She has conducted multi-site research in Hungary and the US to look at the impact of migration and societal change on personal experience. Her recent research focuses on issues related to the impact of societal change on elderly Hungarian women. This is important for understanding culture and power. This is important for understanding how average citizens make sense of their world in a rapidly changing context.

Her research methods include ongoing field work since 1993, participant observation, visual anthropology, and person-centered life histories.

Fulbright Scholar Research – Return Migrations

She received a Fulbright Grant in 1996 to conduct her dissertation research in Budapest Hungary. This research explored return migrations a three part process: emigration from Hungary during the socialist period (pre 1989), immigration in the US, and then return migration back to Hungary after the collapse of communism (post 1989).

She was interested in the impact of societal differences: living in Socialist Hungary, living in Capitalist US, and living in Post-socialist Hungary. How does societal context affect individuals and the experience of migration? The resulting person-centered life histories of return migrants lead to her dissertation A Ghost in the City: Migratory Experiences and Constructions of Identity in Post Socialist Hungary (Pope 2001).

The chapter on emigration stressed the importance of personal experience and choice in decisions to emigrate from Socialist Hungary. This was published in an edited volume related to emigration (Pope 2005). The chapter on immigration in the US looked at the difficulties adjusting to a new cultural environment. Ironically, return migrants thought coming home would alleviate these feelings of being out of place yet not only had they changed, but also Hungary itself had changed in their absence. This return migrant chapter was published in a special journal edition related to personal narratives (Pope 2003).

The work conducted in Hungary in 1996 has had lasting affects. It laid the foundation for future research. The Fulbright is an invaluable experience to interact and form bonds with colleagues’ in different cultures.

I owe a great deal to the Fulbright for my past research as well as my ongoing research today. – Professor Fischer

Pope, Lisa “Leaving Socialist Hungary. Migratory Experiences And Constructions of Identity.” Beginnings and Ends of Emigration. Life without Borders in the Contemporary World. A Collection of Scholarly Essays. Dalia Kuiziniene, Editor. Vilnius :Versus Aureus 2005. ISBN 9955-601-50-7

_____.”Return Migration to Post Socialist Hungary: Identity Re-construction, Anxiety, and Resolution.” Proteus: A Journal of Ideas. Special Issue on “Interpreting Lives: Personal Narratives and Biographies.” Shippensburg University 20.2 (2003): 69-74.

_____.”A Ghost in the City: Migratory Experiences and Constructions of Identity in Post Socialist Hungary.” Doctoral Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Publishers, 2001.