EASA, 2010: EASA2010: Crisis and imagination

Maynooth, 24/08/2010 – 27/08/2010


Anthropological reflections on crisis and imagination: a field view

Location JHT1
Date and Start Time 27 Aug, 2010 at 11:30


Eswarappa Kasi (National Institute of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj) email
Robin Oakley (Dalhousie University) email
Reddisekhara Yalamala (Dalhousie University) email
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Long Abstract

Our panel aims to draw an analogy of the issues and perspectives which are related to crisis and imagination. These can be depicted by understanding anthropologist's reflections and ideas, which emerge from their field view. This will facilitate us to get an empirical perceptive of the situation. Further this information would percolate up to facilitate our insights into a broader theoretical framework. Crises may be of many kinds and the way we (anthropologists) perceive them is different from the other human/biological sciences. Hence, field view is very important to address crisis and which will make us an imaginatory aspect of the situations. Here, further, diffusionary tendencies of the ideas would help us to depict imaginations of the people experienced and who deliver their solutions as well. Thus, anthropological reflections on the crisis situation and imagination would bring forth the idea of a field view to the wider audience of the discipline.

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.


Crises in tribal women's empowerment in Orissa, India

Author: Carol Wrenn (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)  email
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Long Abstract

This paper is based on field work conducted in Orissa, India from February - August 2010, focusing on the Santhal tribe. It analyses the experiences of Santhal women in terms of official policies of political empowerment within the context of the Maoist insurgency and environmental issues.

There are multiple crises on tribal political structures, including the 73rd Amendment to the Indian Constitution, (which includes a 33% reservation for women in local politics), the intensity of Maoist activities and subsequent state suppression, as well as environmental issues such as deforestation. There are also a number of top down development policies, which have questionable impact on improving the standard of living for these tribes, who still live at basic subsistence levels. My paper will analyse how Santhal communities, women in particular, are dealing with and addressing these multiple crises and will assess the impact of official "empowerment" policies.

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Incorporating a New Generation of Indian Anthropologists

Author: Reddisekhara Yalamala (Dalhousie University)  email
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Long Abstract

In this paper I briefly examine the potential of the anthropological imagination as it incorporates the newer generation of academics who were previously not well represented in the academy. India has also contributed more funding toward university education in the past several years and this has contributed to the expansion of Anthropology in India. While this is an exciting and positive innovation, there are still some problems such as the training received within Indian Anthropology being mainly based on materials produced outside of India. There is also a well established academic voice within the Indian academy that is not locally valued. I argue that the new generation of Anthropologists in India should seek to publish local textbooks that reflect the Indian reality more accurately and more funding should go toward assisting young scholars to publish their theses and other works to promote the Indian anthropological imagination more widely.

The accelerated flâneur

Author: Patrick Laviolette (Tallinn University)  email
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Long Abstract

The contemporary manifestation of the flâneur can perhaps best be understood in our times through the rubric of the crisis of immediacy and therefore as an 'accelerated flâneur'. Facilitated by postmodern architecture and globalisation anxieties as well as the modern ambition for heightened leisure and freedom from restraint, the physical imaginary now knows fewer bounds than ever. For attention to the actual social experience of modernity's fascination with acceleration, one must move away from traditional theorists to consider the sociological impressionism of someone like Georg Simmel. In the background of most of his writings, Simmel was drawn to thinking about the effects and affects which result from the increasing pace of modern life, with an overall focus on the global shift from rural to metropolitan existence. This paper considers acceleration as it relates to the increased speed of the experiential in the realm of voluntary risk taking and adventurous recreation.

The peculiar anthropological imagination and the Heroic Poets

Author: Robin Oakley (Dalhousie University)  email
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Long Abstract

A key aspect of human societies through time and space is their interest and ability to comment, critique and reflect on their own and others cultures using what Radlov referred to as 'rules of production'. Anthropology text books often note the origins of the social sciences to the Greeks, but what is seldom noted is that two thousand years during the so-called Heroic Age South India, Ireland and Wales, and the Middle East, in addition to Greece, there existed full time specialists, known then as poets and bards, who learned oral verse making technique to critically assess and sometimes challenge feudal rule. Some travelled with regular people, and some a little of both. Many also offered a scathing critique of unjust rulers and reminded them that they were there to serve the society and not the other way around. The important contribution of this form of science of society is seldom acknowledged in North American and European anthropological writing and this omission reflects the imaginations, accepted histories, and intellectual standards in circulation within the academy. In this paper I argue that this contribution should be highlighted and promoted to enrich the discipline.

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.