ASA2016: Footprints and futures: the time of anthropology

(P62)
Textures of time: time, affect and anthropology
Location Hogan Lovells Lecture Theatre
Date and Start Time 07 July, 2016 at 16:00
Sessions 1

Convenors

  • Lucy Pickering (The University of Glasgow) email
  • Phillippa Wiseman (University of Glasgow ) email
  • Sarah Armstrong (University of Glasgow) email

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Short Abstract

This panel explores the 'feel' of time in anthropological research. It seeks to bring together the feel of time as individuals and communities navigate multiple temporal flows, and the feel of time in its affective dimensions.

Long Abstract

This panel sets out to explore the 'feel' of time in anthropological research. As anthropologists navigate diverse timeframes in the movement into and out of the field, in increasingly diverse forms of fieldwork, and in writing up and beyond, they move between different temporal textures - time that feels different, time that is affectively different. The countercultural invective to 'be here now' (Das 1971) might trigger distinct emotional responses to the passage of time from, for example, the 'frenetic stillness' (Sayeau 2010) of waiting to the recurrent time of PTSD (Zimbardo 2012). In a global society seemingly increasingly characterised by time-space compression (Harvey 1989), accelerating rates of innovation (Lübbe 2009) and 24/7 cultures (Hassan and Purser 2007), time becomes a space of marginalisation: refugees, prisoners and others who have 'too much' time reside at the margins of many societies that in turn reside at the margins of a global order of speed.

This panel explores the place of time time in anthropological research, in particular the spaces where different textures of time meet, which anthropologists and others must navigate a way through. It also dwells on the affective dimensions of these temporal textures, to explore how textures of time shape emotional engagement with the world. As affect becomes an increasingly powerful lens through which to view the world, it is time to heed the affective dimensions of time.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

A windswept archipelago: perception, time and landscape in the Orkney islands

Author: Sara Friend (University of St Andrews)  email

Short Abstract

Experiences of time vary between groups of people across the world, the various tasks we undertake in our daily routines and the stages of life we go through. This paper will address how the plurality of time factors into perceptions of wind turbines in the Orkney Islands, UK.

Long Abstract

In this paper I will examine three different people's perceptions of wind turbines in the Orkney Islands, an archipelago of approximately 20,000 residents off the north coast of the Scottish mainland. The turbines are a recent introduction, and provide a crucial opening into how the various residents perceive both the Orcadian landscape and its position in time. Combining the phenomenological approach to landscape with a symbolic analysis, I explore how the turbines can be seen as symbols that are constituted and reconstituted throughout time. In so doing I demonstrate the myriad temporal perceptions and experiences people in Orkney have; although singular the variety in experiences allows for a plurality of this place, which itself is intimately tied to a plurality of both time and meaning. These pluralities, which I frequently refer to as different 'Orkney imaginations,' allude to a range of values associated with the turbines, themselves intimately tied into differing notions of the relationship between nature and sociality.

Textures of time and language ideologies

Author: Manuela Pellegrino (Brunel University London)  email

Short Abstract

My paper presents the multiple temporal and emotional ‘textures’ of Griko, a ‘dying’ language used in the Southern Italian province of Lecce, as well as the divergent visions of temporality and affect evoked by Griko-speakers and activists embedded in the current revival of Griko.

Long Abstract

In a special issue dedicated to 'Temporality and Historicity in and through Linguistic Ideology' (2004) linguistic anthropologists Woolard, Blommaert, Cavanaugh, Inoue and Eisenlohr explored how socially inscribed views, perceptions and feelings about a language (i.e. language ideologies) "both produce and are produced by multiple and heterogeneous histories and temporalities" (Irvine 2004: 1). Drawing on these insights and based on my ethnographic data, my proposed paper highlights the multiple temporal and emotional 'textures' of Griko, a 'dying' language used in the Southern Italian province of Lecce, as well as the divergent visions of temporality and affect evoked by Griko-speakers and activists. Through the analysis of the current revival of Griko I show how locals do not share the same phenomenological references about this language hence their language ideologies of Griko are inscribed in non-homogenous "historicities" (Hirsch's and Stewart's 2005:262). In particular I draw attention to how the time embedded in and evoked by Griko feels different, depending on the underlying language ideology, which alternatively associates it to the glorious Hellenic past (Griko activists) or to the more recent past of poverty and subalternity of the Italian South (elderly Griko-speakers); this in turn awakes different emotional textures. The current revival, I argue, provides the space where these different temporal and emotional textures meet projecting Griko as an invaluable resource for social and cultural redemption into the future. The language ideology approach provides, therefore, a lens through which the affective dimension of time and the temporal dimension of affect converge and become mutually constitutive of reality.

In company of ghosts: the chronological porosity of affective landscapes

Author: Garikoitz Gómez Alfaro (University of Brighton)  email

Short Abstract

The paper explores how temporality is "felt" and negotiated in a bounded field-site, a landscape that triggers nostalgic memories and a certain sense of "being stuck in time". It discusses temporality both as an affective field of experience and as a site of political contestation.

Long Abstract

Our being in time and space is entangled in a make-believe world that is always already open to other worlds, other beings and other time-spaces. The non-synchronicity of that experience and the regimes of temporality that different commemorative practices impose upon landscapes allows for a reconsideration of commemorative geographies informed by new materialist approaches (Navaro-Yashin, 2012; Waterton, 2014) and recent debates on the politics of time (Bevernage, 2011). The paper draws upon ethnographic and historical research on Portbou (Spain), a small town marked by the haunting figure of Walter Benjamin, the Spanish republicans defeated in the Spanish Civil Wars (1936-1939) and the violent nature of national boundaries.

In this paper I'll attempt to reconceptualise temporal experience in political terms by looking at how different regimes of temporality emerge in encounters with landscapes that are haunted by histories of violence. My argument will thus aim at bringing together research on temporality, historiography, cultural geography and new materialist studies. The questions that runs through this paper are: how do people experience that chronological porosity in places that are associated with violence and suffering? Through which spatial, narrative and performative tactics are the continuities or discontinuities distributed and negotiated in post-conflict landscapes?

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.