EASA, 2010: EASA2010: Crisis and imagination

Maynooth, 24/08/2010 – 27/08/2010

(W048)

Violence, personhood and emotions

Location Callan CS2
Date and Start Time 26 Aug, 2010 at 11:30

Convenors

Susana Durão (UNICAMP (São Paulo, Brazil)) email
Maria Claudia Coelho (Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro) email
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Long Abstract

Human life is not the sum of individual and collective life. "Person" and "emotions" are among its aspects which are subject to historical and contextual oscillations, contingent concepts open to plasticity in heterogeneous societies. This panel challenges the participants to think about learning processes of constituting one's self in violent lived regimes of practice and the grammars of emotion thereby elicited. What are the problems faced by the self definition in situational crisis and traumatic events? What definitions and performances of self are tracked by experiences of coping with violence? How do emotions dramatize and perform perceptions of violence? Anthropology of emotions has showed us there are political definitions of emotions. It's time to study the politics of the self not only in terms of identity and identifications. The idea is to focus on the person as a site of impressed and expressed lived violence, being this 'violence' another social entity in presence. This channels us to reflect upon linked concepts such as 'mediation', 'victim', 'perpetrator', 'men/women', 'aggression', 'power', 'vulnerability', 'fear', 'pain' and 'freedom' -- and to try to reconsider them in different settings and related to personhood creativity. We are thinking about the blur between old dichotomies like private/public that make possible to debate realms of domestic violence, urban violence and violence sociality altogether. Theoretical and empirical studies are welcomed.

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Moral projects in social movements: ethnographic explorations in Brazil

Author: Susana Durão (UNICAMP (São Paulo, Brazil))  email
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Long Abstract

This paper proposes to discuss a new moral and emotional approach to the study of social movements in Brazil. Based on empirical data of a long-term fieldwork experience (between 2007 and 2009), accompanying the activities and the discourses of several actors of the Grupo Cultural of AfroReggae, I hope to sustain theories that take into account the ways moralities, bodily experiences and performed tales are enacted by people who vividly participate in this collective and cultural movement. It will be specifically discussed the moral project of a movement that proposes to restore urban regimes of violence and, at the same time, is performing it as the culture of the periphery. Some final notes will consider the possibility of a turn from other moral narratives and projects of cultural and youth movements such as hip-hop and funk in urban Brazil.

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The physical embodiment of political protest in Venezuela

Author: Paula Vasquez (CNRS/ EHESS)  email
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Long Abstract

This paper aims to grasp the various processes through which protester have been progressively their physical body in extreme protests. In Venezuela the physical body occupies a key place in demonstrations, protests and strikes, and is mobilized in actions that have a high degree of symbolic content: acted-out crucifixions, either with the hands tied to the cross or actually driving nails through them; collective mutilations; people chaining themselves to the railings of institutions, amputations of fingers, etc. This paper proposes to develop a focus for the political anthropology: the suffering of the body as a form of political subjectivity that requires taking a position in the public space. Drawing on a theoretical review of the literature of the protesting human body, this paper focuses on the anthropological issues of these repertories of political action in order to explore the meaning given to the public scenes of suffering.

Anthropology of sexual violence in war: political emotions, identity formations and making the private public for a purpose

Author: Anna Hedlund (Lund University)  email
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Long Abstract

This paper reflects upon ongoing fieldwork in the landscape of sexual violence in the DR Congo, it draws attention to agency, violence, personhood, emotions and internal as well as external understanding of sexual violence in conflict. DR Congo have been worldwide recognized by international actors and media as a region where sexual violence is used "as a weapon of war" and women's situation is constantly described internationally in the vocabulary of 'victim', 'vulnerability', 'fear', 'pain' while the grammar of manhood is described as 'perpetrator', 'aggression' and 'power'. As seen in the DR Congo, international organisations disregard cultural and traditional implications, such as, local attention to imaginary and parallel worlds, the role of good and the evil and witchcraft in conflict which will be discussed is linked to rape and ongoing violence. This paper combines internal and external conceptions of rape in conflict and (1.) it investigates the local performances of self and understandings of identity formations in"rape effected communities" within the context of sexual violence and conflict. (2.) Critically examines the purpose and use of political "emotions" by international actors and their motives behind making the private (rape) public.

We like to fight: performing and ordering conflict and violence within school

Author: Maria Alexandra Leandro (ISCTE - Instituto Universitário de Lisboa)  email
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Long Abstract

Conflicts between students concern different, and often contrasting, concepts, emotions and self definitions. As collective and individual experiences, these conflicts, and its violent expression, are subject to multiple appropriations, involving a clear tension between students and school administration. Having in mind emotions, as conductive elements of these processes, implies the analysis of these conflict dynamics also as emotional strategies, noticing in particular the necessity of social incorporation in individual trajectories. By performing these conflicts, students reinforce and/or redefine group loyalties and power configurations, as well as experience and experiment an all set of corporal sensations and social emotions. Some of these interplay become real events, with ample audiences; other remain in a more concealed dimension, far from the school's regulatory mechanisms. Considering school's micro politics, a significant part of these conflict situations are seen as external entities, disruptive, putting at risk school authority and the orderly functioning of daily activities.

From 'absence of the state' to the 'state of exception': the conversion of the emotion regarded to 'militias' from welfare into fear

Author: Alexandre Werneck (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro)  email
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Long Abstract

This paper aims to analyze the process of transformation of the image of groups known as 'militias' in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. These illegal paramilitary groups formed by policemen and favelas residents emerged in the 1990s aiming to safeguard poor communities from drug dealers. They performed a role as providers of public safety and other essential services such as gas and water supply, being seen as representatives of the 'welfare' among inhabitants. Over the last years, this welfare was converted into fear. Through analysis of the material produced by the Parliamentary Investigation Committee of the Legislative Assembly of Rio dedicated to investigate the activities of the militias, we study how these two emotions, of protection and intimidation, are intertwined onto the same object.

'All against paedophilia': representation, denunciation and sensitizing strategies

Author: Laura Lowenkron (Museu Nacional - UFRJ)  email
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Long Abstract

Based on an ethnographic research carried out both within the committee set up in the Brazilian Federal Senate to investigate "paedophilia on the internet", known as "CPI da Pedofilia" and the Federal Police Division to combat the "cyber crimes", the article analyses how "paedophilia" is constructed as a political and criminal "issue". An attempt is made to compare the strategies used by the political sphere and in the police investigations, focusing on the construction and development of the denunciation in the production of the "cause", as well as on the public involvement (Boltanski - "La Dénonciation" and "La suffrance a distance").

Attention is drawn to the fact that in contrast with the importance of the expression of emotions and suffering for the construction of paedophilia as a political "cause", police investigations need to renounce emotion in order to analyze the facts and identify the culprit.

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Sense of class: carnality and location in working class experience

Author: Bruno Monteiro (Instituto de Sociologia - Universidade do Porto)  email
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Long Abstract

Unified under the designation of «crisis» is a vast array of social, economic and cultural processes that reconstitutes the morphology and experience of working class in Rebordosa (Portugal). I enact an ethnographic approach to the lived world of this workers combining observant participation, long-term permanence in the field and in-depth interviews. That shows the ways how the reiterated submission to a redundancy of similar situations and, also, the exposition to the tacit demands that every physical and social space over its occupants, explains the acquisition, throughout individual history, of attitudes and preferences able to work in a practical state and through practice. This mutual understanding between the (re)socialised lived body and the objectified space naturalises the social distances and limits, infra-consciously recording them as postures of deference, a sense of one's proper place, and a sensibility adjusted to the practices and goods plausible and suitable for "people of our kind".

Telling our stories: representations of political violence in Palestine as constructs for community cohesion

Author: Joshua Rickard (National University of Singapore)  email
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Long Abstract

This paper focuses on issues surrounding identity constructs based on the experience of political violence in West Bank Palestine. Acts of political violence are exceptionally personal to the individual actors involved, but also serve as a shared symbol of the common antagonism endured by the larger community. This paper looks at how the experience of violence as an everyday reality and occurrence shapes the perception of individuals in terms of how they relate to their community, and how recreations of violent events are circulated in the community and used to define a common identity. Through performances, poetry, and the retelling of stories of violence, Palestinian communities maintain a common identity through a perceived common heritage. By looking at the ways in which political violence is used to create narratives of oppression and resistance in isolated communities in the West Bank, this aims to address how depictions of violence as symbols work as mechanism for maintaining community cohesion.

Narrating experiences of victimization: emotions and micro-politics

Author: Maria Claudia Coelho (Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro)  email
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Long Abstract

This paper analyzes emotions described in narratives of victimization among middle-class people in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It aims to explore the so-called "contextualist" (Lutz and Abu-Lughod, 1990) trend in anthropology of emotions for the understanding of violence, focusing on the micro-political dimension of emotion discourses on victimization. Data analyzed consists of a set of six in-depth interviews conducted with three couples who have, man and wife together, been through an experience of having their residences assaulted while in there. The analysis focuses on the recurrence of two emotions in interviewees' depictions of their feelings towards assailants: compassion and contempt. The emergence of these two emotions, whose relations to social hierarchies have already been pointed out by social scientists, is then interpreted as an attempt of re-establishing hierarchies to which assaults are perceived as disruptive.

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This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.