EASA, 2010: EASA2010: Crisis and imagination

Maynooth, 24/08/2010 – 27/08/2010

(W004)

Diverse anthropologies with multiple publics: Crisis or imaginative responses? [WCAA workshop]

Location Education Theatre
Date and Start Time 25 Aug, 2010 at 11:30

Convenors

Andrew 'Mugsy' Spiegel (University of Cape Town) email
Laurent Bazin (CNRS) email
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Long Abstract

Anthropological practices, concerns and engagements with our publics are often significantly affected by the national and/or regional contexts wherein anthropologists are based as researchers or as citizens, particularly but not exclusively by the distinct political processes and structures of nation-states. Such contextual differences may yield various, even incommensurate anthropologies and diverse anthropological modes of anthropological practice and engagement with our respective publics and with processes of globalisation.

The workshop will consider how, and to what extent, historical and contemporary contexts have influenced the anthropological approaches that predominate in selected countries or regions. Its primary focus will be on differences in how anthropologists engage with their respective and diverse publics and how that in turn influences engagement with globalisation within and beyond our discipline. For example, do diverse notions of citizenship and personhood affect anthropologists' engagements with those outside the discipline or with other anthropologists, both locally and globally?

The workshop will be structured around sets of paired papers written to create a dialogue between their respective authors, ideally where one is based in and working on issues in the particular country or region; the other by an anthropologist researching in that country or region but based elsewhere.

Chair: Laurent Bazin, Andrew Spiegel

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Changing anthropology: new trends among Japanese anthropologists

Author: Sachiko Kubota (Kobe University)  email
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Long Abstract

Because of its history, Japanese anthropology had been avoided its applied nature for a long time, especially after the world war II. Although, after 1980s, Japanese anthropology find more and more interests emerging especially among young scholars upon matters concerning environment, development, medical and so on , in other words, on practical issues. This trend tells us the situation of Japanese society, and about the situation of anthropology in Japanese academia at the same time. In this presentation, I will talk about the brief history of Japanese anthropology as introduction and then about the changes happening among Japanese anthropology from the critical point of view.

Contemporary approaches to old and new questions of anthropology in Brazil

Author: Carlos Caroso (Universidade Federal da Bahia)  email
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Long Abstract

The quasi-continental dimension and the complex social context of Brazil and its cultural diversity requires and results in identically diverse Anthropological practices, theories and approaches. The questions that have to be faced by Brazilian Anthropology range from problems represented by increasing ethnicization, not only of newly emerging Indian ethnicities, quilombos (maroon societies) and other traditional societies, and gender questions, but also by economic modernization, heavy industrialization and import-export flows, which result in demands for energy, arable land, increased food production, national and international circulations.

This contemporary complex milieu requires imaginative and immediate considerations and appropriate responses from the part of anthropologists, both academics and professionals, who need to revise the existing and developing new theoretical and methodological tools of identical complexity which permit dealing with those situations. This task requires taking into consideration both the local and the global issues, and an attenuated relativistic approach in dealing to the old and new question, and their interactions in plural and multicultural contexts.

Anthropology in pre-university education: a UK case-history of 'multiple publics'

Author: Hilary Callan  email
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Long Abstract

In October 2009 the Royal Anthropological Institute succeeded in its 5-year campaign to gain national accreditation for anthropology to be taught at General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (the standard university entrance qualification in the UK). Teaching is scheduled to begin in September 2010, and teaching and learning resources for the new publics are under active development. The paper will chart the process of gaining recognition for this project. It will explore the contexts of engagement with the multiple publics and decision-making bodies involved in the exercise, the strategies and rationales which needed to be deployed, and the compromises made. Particular reference will be made to themes of globalisation, diversity and interpretations of citizenship in a British context. The exercise is ongoing and the paper will consider what can be learned about 'speaking anthropology' to new audiences such as these.

Anthropology's audiences in Aotearoa and abroad

Author: Michael Goldsmith (University of Waikato)  email
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Long Abstract

Aotearoa/New Zealand is a particularly interesting national arena in which to examine the question of how different local audiences react to representations by anthropologists who are resident in the country and those who are not. Some of the latter have generated controversy in the media and caused tensions among members of the local anthropological profession. On the other hand, some non-resident anthropologists have gained privileged access to New Zealand communities. Questons therefore arise as to which audiences differently situated anthropologists have in mind when they research and publish, and which publics they feel accountable to in that process.

Diverse anthropologies dealing with fickle funders: cleaving 'health' from the funding priorities of the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council in Canada

Author: Janice Graham (Dalhousie University)  email
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Long Abstract

Under the title of "Acceptance, Challenge & Dollars", in 2009 the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) invited anthropologists studying health to apply to their funding agency. This invitation came as the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the traditional source of anthropological funding, cut back grants for health-related research. Many anthropologists are concerned; while some researchers have had success with CIHR, there remains apprehension that government targeted funding priorities, prevailing positivist paradigms, and little evidence of a social science interdisciplinary lens within the peer review process of CIHR have resulted in a cool reception for anthropologists' applications. This paper reports on the roundtable forum, held in June 2010 at the annual meetings of the Canadian Anthropology Society/Société canadienne anthropologie, which engaged directly with senior representatives of the CIHR and the SSHRC to address these concerns regarding the new funding of health related anthropological research in Canada.

When actors become (the) public: two cases of doing anthropology across the new state borders in Southeastern Europe

Author: Vesna Vucinic-Neskovic (University of Belgrade)  email
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Long Abstract

The paper will discuss how different, primarily political research circumstances, determine the anonymity or the visibility of ethnographic actors. Conceived as a personal account, the paper is based on research experiences from Southeastern Europe. The first example is taken from doing fieldwork in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and the second from the Bay of Kotor, Montenegro. Both examples have to do with an anthropologist facing the change from doing "anthropology at home" to doing "anthropology in the neighborhood". The difference was that the borders of the newly formed states of former Yugoslavia, and thus the ones the researcher had to start crossing in the midst of her fieldwork, were established in the earlier case through a civil war (1991-1995), and in the later, via one-sided referendum (2006). After the two ethnographies were published, the anonymous actors across the Croatian border remained silent, while the named actors in Montenegro became (the) public, in position to comment, promote and criticize.

Public challenges to anthropology in 21st century South Africa: collaborative approaches, class distinctions and 'progressive' forces

Author: Andrew 'Mugsy' Spiegel (University of Cape Town)  email
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Long Abstract

From its start SA anthropology has focused on socio-politically salient issues, albeit in opposing ways, either for or against apartheid. Apartheid's demise seemed to offer promise for anthropologists to involve themselves in collaborative projects. Yet it also created new fission lines. A new elite arose, influenced by neo-liberal principles and values. It attracts many anthropology students who then develop aversions to association with those excluded, aversions that are often reciprocated. Moreover, with 'participatory process' having been a watchword of anti-apartheid movements, collaborative grassroots projects are hardly novel and have little need for aspiring members of an elite. Suggesting that working 'collaborations' between anthropologists and the country's marginalised will not necessarily become our discipline's new de rigueur, the paper considers the pedagogical work required to guide new anthropologists to understand their positionality vis a vis their disciplinary publics and to recognise the ethical virtues of an activist anthropology with liberationist goals.

Doing anthropology in Indonesia under Suharto and beyond: a critical reflection on the impact of state repression and development agendas on the production of anthropological knowledge

Author: Thomas Reuter (University of Melbourne)  email
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Long Abstract

From 1966 to 1998, Indonesia was under the authoritarian rule of General Suharto, whose New Order regime repressed political dissent and criticism as well as implementing a sometimes ruthless development and modernisation policy, often against the wishes and contrary to the interests of local communities. Both domestic and foreign anthropologists working in Indonesia were restricted in their practice due to their dependence on the support of the state, either as Indonesian public servants working in local universities or as foreign visitors who needed to obtain visas and research permits, and hence had to avoid offending the authorities. Criticism of the regime and its policies had to be communicated in a diplomatic fashion, or were muted altogether. Subsequent to the fall of Suharto and the democratisation of Indonesia, anthropologists have had more scope to engage. This paper examines some of the effects of political repression and recent liberalisation.

Engaged anthropology: its diversity and dilemmas

Author: Setha Low (Graduate Center, CUNY)  email
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Long Abstract

This presentation focuses on the considerable progress that has been made in bringing anthropology to public awareness as a discipline within US cultural and practicing anthropology. It is clear that the call for engagement has been addressed in all sub-fields and within a global context, but these areas are beyond the scope of this article. Within this more circumscribed sphere, the authors argue that there are a number of forms of engagement: 1) sharing and support, 2) teaching and public education, 3) social critique, 4) collaboration, 5) advocacy and 6) activism. This engagement takes place during fieldwork, through applied practice, in institutions such as Cultural Survival, the Institute for Community Research and the Hispanic Health Council, and as individual activists who work in the context of war, terrorism, environmental injustice, violence, and human rights.

A close examination of the history of engaged anthropology in the US, however, also reveals an enduring set of dilemmas, many of which persist in contemporary work. After exploring the history of engaged anthropology and the current state of practice, this presentation focuses on some of the enduring challenges it poses and highlights both the expansion and growth of engaged anthropology and the problems facing its practitioners. By way of conclusion, a number of remaining barriers to engaged practice are identified and briefly discussed.

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.