ASA2016: Footprints and futures: the time of anthropology

(P33)
Anthropology and psychoanalysis: kinship, attachments and the past in the present
Location Science Site/Engineering E102
Date and Start Time 04 July, 2016 at 14:00
Sessions 2

Convenor

  • Margherita Margiotti Fortis (Durham University) email

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Short Abstract

In bridging anthropology and psychoanalysis, the panel invites new ethnographic and/or theoretical explorations in the areas of kinship, attachment, internal worlds, representations, lived world and affect. What is the role of the past in the present of lived attachments?

Long Abstract

In bridging anthropology and psychoanalysis, the panel invites new ethnographic and/or theoretical explorations in the areas of kinship, attachment, internal worlds, representations, lived world and affect. We encourage explorations on the role of the past in the present and on how psychoanalytic theories can help in understanding lived experiences of kinship, internal worlds, and the internalisation of cultural representations of primary attachments.

What is the role of past attachments in the present of lived experiences? How do culturally specific notions of desire and relationships are internalised and influence the lived realities, the internal world and affects of people? Are patterns of kinship organisation so different from personal feelings and thoughts about attachments? Studies in kinship have been central to the historical development of anthropological concepts and theories. Can anthropology benefit from psychoanalytic contributions on the importance of early relationships in the present? We invite contributions that reconsider and bridge the history and the development of psychoanalytic notions and of kinship concepts. Contributions can be ethnographically grounded and/or psychoanalytically framed and explore the intersection between kinship as as lived experience and cultural and social notions of attachment.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Psychoanalytic and anthropological perspectives on kinship: introduction to the panel

Author: Margherita Margiotti Fortis (Durham University)  email

Short Abstract

None provided.

Long Abstract

None provided.

The return of the traumatic in dreams and the uncanny: the case of feuding society of Crete (Greece)

Author: Aris Tsantiropoulos  email

Short Abstract

An analysis of a dream “trilogy” of a 77years old woman, a victim of massive violence took place in 1955 in a Cretan village, during a feast devoted to the protector St Fanourios. The method derives from Levi-Strauss structural analysis of myth. Also concept of “the uncanny” is an analytical tool.

Long Abstract

At the night of August 26th 1955, in a Cretan mountain village, during the magnificent feast devoted to the local saint St. Fanourios, many village families became involved in an eruption of successive revenge crimes, during which six people were killed and sixteen were wounded in less than half an hour. In collective memory of the local community this massive violence is experiencing as a traumatic event and since then the worship of local saint is confined to the liturgy in the church.

The paper is an analysis of a dream "trilogy" a 77years old woman narrates. She is a victim of that 'civil war' resulting to be monocular. The dreams to be analyzed are defined by the dreamer as "telepathic" for her and for the community. Taking into account that sentiments of fear or even fright overwhelm the collective memory of these facts up to the present day, the question is about the impact of these facts, as crimes with a specific symbolic burden, for regression into unconscious primal repressions. The results are significations which revive these sentiments of terror in reference to the facts and are expressed in the symbolic language of dreams. The method of analysis of the latent content of dreams derives from the structural analysis of myth by Levi-Strauss. Also, the Freudian concept of "the uncanny" ("Das Unheimliche") is used as an analytical tool.

The participants at the session will have the text of dreams narrations and the paper will concentrate on their analysis.

Uncovering the family secret: temporality, politics, silence and narratives of the past in the present, and young people learning about their Jewishness in post-socialist Slovakia

Author: Katarina Ockova (University of Edinburgh)  email

Short Abstract

This paper explores what learning about one's Jewish descent by young people in their teenage years does to their self-perception and the way they relate to others, and examines how acquiring such knowledge and discovering Jewishness is negotiated in post-socialist Slovakia.

Long Abstract

This paper explores how young Jews, growing up after the Velvet Revolution in 1989, discovered their Jewish descent only during their teenage-years and, making sense of their 'non-Jewish' upbringing, perceive and negotiate their Jewishness in the light of their familial memories and experiences of the Holocaust, persecutions of the secularising Socialist regime, and the choices their grand/parents made to hide their Jewishness.

Many young Slovak Jews learned about their Jewishness only later in life when outer triggers - whether a classmate or history lessons about the Holocaust - raised questions that young people brought home where they were confronted with surprising information. Based on fieldwork in Bratislava, this paper examines what learning about one's Jewishness does to young people's self-perception and ways they relate to others, while demonstrating how acquiring such knowledge shapes their perceptions of not only the present, but also the past and the imagined future.

Following the process of young Jews' 'self-making', contrasting their familial upbringing, this paper shows that this knowledge is not merely informative but in its essence also 'constitutive', because of its kinship but also political character. Highlighting the relation between knowledge, belonging, personhood and visibility, this paper demonstrates how young people handle such powerful information and make sense of the rupture it creates, and how it influences their lives and relationships in light of their perceptions of their ancestor's memories and experiences affecting their later decisions and choices. Thus shedding light on how kinship and politics are intertwined.

Getting nowhere: journeying though kinship, (de)attachment and (re)enactment of sexuality offers a place of safety for the asylum seeker

Author: Salma Siddique (University of Aberdeen)  email

Short Abstract

the transgenerational cultural scripts the therapist and anthropologist access a creative space (Winnicott,1969) of making and re-making the encounter with the other. The experience of writing and reading kinship experience is an encounter of semantic metalangague, a shared act of recognition.

Long Abstract

From the psychoanalytical frame the transgenerational cultural scripts the therapist and anthropologist access a creative space (Winnicott,1969) of making and re-making the encounter with the other. The experience of writing and reading kinship experience is an encounter of semantic metalangague, a shared act of recognition.

Psychoanalytical ethnography (Obeyesekere, 1990) challenges anthropology's casting the 'Other' as the object of description rather than the relational assemblage of experience. How is there a disassociation in becoming a relational other and their environment. Is it a case of an act within act (Thompson & Taylor, 2006) which provides an interface between the real and imagined world encounters serving to bridge the cultural gap(s) and the internalisation of cultural representations of primary attachments in the host culture.

A creative space of play offers the blank writing up of tales of fieldwork ( Van Maanen,1988) through a lens of the psychoanalytical frame offer's the ethnographer the 'play space' (Winnicott,2005). In that moment does introspection, self examination and analysis (LeVine, 1980) much like the co-created dialogue of therapy sessions takes place?

We don't like "sucker" children here: weaning practices among the Pehuenche people

Author: Gabriela Pina Ahumada (London School of Economics)  email

Short Abstract

In the proposed paper I will address the Pehuenche practice of weaning an infant by placing him or her under the care of a female relative. This practice is also one in the earliest ways in which children learn about autonomy and sociability, two fundamental traits of Pehuenche personhood.

Long Abstract

In the proposed paper I will address the Pehuenche practice of weaning an infant by placing him or her under the care of a female relative for a few days until the infant doesn't ask to be breastfed anymore. This practice is grounded on the idea that even very young infants, are more obedient and conforming when their mothers are not around. It is also one in the earliest ways in which Pehuenche children learn about autonomy and sociability.

The data presented here is a product of my ongoing PhD research about childcare and family life among the Pehuenche, a subgroup of the Mapuche people of southern Chile, which aims to understand the potential role of care and attachment in fostering sociability. Specifically I explore the underlying ideas and practices of kinship and personhood that are involved. Recent literature on this indigenous group has been mostly concerned with history, shamanism, personhood and the relationship with the Chilean State. Little attention has been payed to relations of intimacy and emotionality that are shaped and expressed through care. I attempt to fill that gap following the lead of recent developments in Amazonian studies placing more attention to everyday domesticity, discourse on emotion and relations of intimacy.

Both anthropology and psychoanalysis go to lengths on explaining the importance of the bond created through breastfeeding. This paper aims to explore the relevance of the early experience of weaving on fostering two key traits of Mapuche personhood independence and the capacity for productive social interaction.

"The sickness": separation and spirit possession in Guyanese boarding schools

Author: Courtney Stafford-Walter (University of St. Andrews)  email

Short Abstract

This paper describes the phenomena of mass spirit possession of adolescent Amerindian girls who attend boarding school in Sand Creek Village, Guyana. It will explore the impact of separation from kin and kinship networks for Amerindian youth, and how that plays a role in 'The Sickness'.

Long Abstract

While most villages in the Guyanese hinterland have a government built primary school, many students must leave their home community to gain a secondary school education. As Guyanese beliefs link education directly to ideas about development and modernity, there is an increasing social pressure for Amerindian youth to attend boarding schools. However, these young people leave as early as the age of 10, and the way of life in the state run boarding school is markedly different to traditional community life. This paper aims to describe and analyze "The Sickness", the local term for mass spirit possession, and what it reflects about Amerindian young girls' understanding of and relationship with their collective history.

Life in Amerindian communities functions around intimate kinship networks, which are crucial for mutual care and social support systems. An important aspect of Amazonian theory highlights the idea that personhood and subjectivity are shaped and molded by the social relationships a person actively engages in, through physical proximity and sharing of substance with kin. The move to boarding schools marks an abrupt rift in shared affect, as young girls move from family oriented social spaces into vast dormitories with rows of bunk beds. This paper will explore how separation from kin and kinship networks may be playing a role in the phenomenon of mass spirit possession amongst adolescent girls in Guyanese boarding schools.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.