EASA2014: Collaboration, Intimacy & Revolution
Radical collaborations: a relational approach to social transformation
Date and Start Time 01 August, 2014 at 09:00
By considering the radical as a relational concept, this panel explores the consequences of "radical collaborations", focusing on people's everyday practices, within alliances among actors in social movements, non-governmental organisations and insurgent political groups, and within academic thinking.
The panel aims at exploring practices of radical collaboration. The radical can be understood as related to the fundamental nature of something and as a stand for thorough transformation. Radical is thus a concept entailing determinacy and indeterminacy of the future and the world it aims to transform. In either way, we consider the radical to be a relational concept as its definition lies in the relation or opposition to other possible conceptualizations, ideologies, practices and forms of life. Considering this relational characteristic of the radical, the panel sets its focus on what we term "radical collaborations", aiming at exploring the consequences of radical collaborations by focusing on the emergence of notions and practices in people's everyday practices, within alliances among actors in social movements, non-governmental organizations and insurgent political groups and within academic thinking.
We welcome papers that can relate to the following questions: What forms does the radical adopt? How do radical practices relate to other forms of life and engagement? What kinds of collaborations - positive or negative - are in play in these processes? In which ways do these relations (between persons, objects, natures, ideologies, etc.) friction? How are these processes experienced and in which ways do these experiences define social relations? In which ways does radical collaboration impact on intimate relations?
Finally, we also aim to explore the recursivity of the notion of the radical in anthropological analysis: Do we need a radical departure from established social theories in order to understand what radical means?
Discussant: Piergiorgio Di Giminiani (Pontificial University of Chile)
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
'Chronic diseases' and 'secret cures': collaboration, innovation and deviance in the face of incommensurable therapeutic models in Brazil
I present some modes of collaboration among people with autoimmune disorders and medical doctors, in Brazil, who do not employ established pharmaceuticals based on immune-impairment, but rather conduct therapies based on the opposite principle of immune-stimulation.
In this paper, I present some modes of collaborative work among people with autoimmune rheumatologic diseases (AIRDs) and medical doctors who do not employ recommended conventional therapies based on immune-impairment, in Brazil. Instead, many of these AIRD-patients and medical doctors prefer to use 'non-approved' therapies, which they see as innovative ones, like those based on the opposite principle of immune-stimulation. However, by acting like this, they become marginalized and legally unprotected before Brazilian regulatory instances and medical community. Consequently, these AIRD-patients and medical doctors have to conduct their therapies outside the established networks of healthcare.
In this context, how do these 'not-disciplined patients' and 'not-recommended medical doctors' seek to overcome isolation, tabooisation and invisibility? While seeking to improve their health and professional statuses, how do they exchange non-authorized knowledge, personal experiences and innovative technologies in lack of institutional support?
By focusing on key aspects of collaboration and exchange which some of these patients and medical doctors practice, I highlight two implications. Firstly, when switching from an established therapy to a tabooed one, people with AIRDs and medical doctors not only seem to dodge the established medical-legal regime in Brazil, but also change and partially assume the ways they understand and conceptualize their own diseases and possibilities of treatment, as well as the whole medical institutional environment and forms of engagement. Secondly, these conceptual and practical movements seem to occur in consonance with a "paradigmatic shift" actually ongoing within different medical fields related to the emergence of "regenerative medicine".
Radical collaborations in insurgent theatre: the intertwining of actors and activists in Die Asyl-Monologe
This paper traces collaborations between actors, refugee activists and political groups and the consequences and meanings of these collaborations in the context of a two and a half year long running performance about refugee politics in Germany.
This paper traces collaborations between actors and refugee activists and the meanings of these collaborations in the context of a two and a half year performance about refugee politics in Germany. Three actors relate the testimonies of three individuals who arrived to Germany as refugees. Asyl-Monologe continues to be performed in avant-garde theatres, in demonstrations in solidarity with refugee activists, schools, churches, and universities across Germany. Following the performance, Q&A sessions led by activists as well as by individuals whose stories are told by the actors are held with the audience. I understand these practices between the theatre company and refugee activists as radical acts since collaborative and intimate relations are forged between the actors who represent reality and the activists who live the reality itself -leading to what Jaques Ranciere's terms as 'dissensus' -a conflict between a sensory presentation and a way of making sense of it-so that 'dissensus' resides at the heart of politics. In this way, such collaborations in spaces where the boundaries between political action and performative-art become elusive need to be understood as radical. The paper in particular explores the tensions, intimacies between actors and activists as well as ideological shifts for actors. The paper will additionally focus on ways I situate and position myself within this particular theatre company in Germany. Data are drawn on participant-observation, viewing of three performances of Asyl-Monologe, in-depth interviews of the director and actors in the play, an intern, and conversations with refugee activists.
Between radicalism and marginality: anarchism in post-communist Romania
Our paper questions the relations between different visions of the world, alternative projects of society and everyday practices within anarchist groups in post-communist Romania, but also between anarchists and other radical or moderate informal groups.
Small informal groups of young and mostly middle class leftist activists emerged in post-communist Romania in the last years. There groups are critical of both repressive communist regimes and of neoliberal direction taken during the transition. Confronted directly with the problem of emigration, unemployment, market pressures, they react to the conservatism, the anti-communism of Romanian society, but also to mainstream nationalist and religious discourses. Taking into account the case study of anarchist Romanian groups, we consider that revolutionary sentiments, but also alternative projects of society, alternative lifestyles are being generated by the everyday life under the conditions of material abundance and not by poverty. This happens by the rejection of consumerism, of a lifestyle based on individualism, competition and efficiency and by the effort to imagine a radical change. In spite of our emphasis on anarchist groups, we take into account social interactions between anarchists and other informal political groups (neo-Marxists, feminists, ecologists).
Radical transformation of African local societies: the successful rebellion of the northern Togolese youth against gerontocracy
During the 1990s young northern Togolese achieved to overcome the social structures of local societies. In a new institutional perspective this radical changes were driven by the distributional effects of institutions. Nevertheless these changes has been realized inside the given institutional set.
As in many other African local societies intergenerational relationships in northern Togo were characterized by a concentration of power and resources in the hands of the old men. During the 1990s the young men achieved to change these structures significantly in their favour and to eke out a more egalitaran distribution of power and resources.
The paper aims to analyze this radical social transformation by using the New Institutional Anthropology (Ensminger, Knight) and path-dependency approaches. Regarding the social institutions - in the sense of norms and rules - of the marital system, the rules of attending economic independence and local land law, we can see that the radical changes were driven by the distributional effects of the mentionned institutions. The production promoting Togolese cotton policy during the 1990s changed the incentives for market production significantly. A second parameter was ideological change resulting from temporary as long-term influences. Regarding the long-term evolution of the northern Togolese local societies we will understand that the radical transformations of the 1990s as been realized inside the given set of rules which were reinterpretated by strategically acting agents.
State involvement in early mothering as "radical collaboration": a case study of Mapuche women in the south of Chile
The paper reflects upon the consequences of Chilean policy on early mothering and its possibilities as “radical collaboration” with a group of Mapuche women. It discusses the textures of this collaboration and its radicalism in the case of unexpected uses of parenting policies.
The process of early mothering has become an increasingly public concern in a range of contexts and the target of policy intervention which aims at "enhancing" mothering experience, focusing principally in the wellbeing of children and their development. Based in the premises and aims of the nuclear family and developmental psychology they tackle a wide range of the population, who interact and make sense of these policies in the most unexpected ways.
Based in my ethnographic work with a group of Mapuche women and their experience of early mothering in a rural area the south of Chile, in this paper I reflect upon the consequences of Chilean policy on early mothering and its possibilities as "radical collaboration" with these women. During the process of becoming a mother the state presents itself as an ally and provider of a range of guidelines, materials and support. Not surprisingly, while these women welcome certain features of this policy, others remain ignored or perceived as distant or oppressive. However, in this period of radical transformation (becoming a mother) a range of changing responses to and elaborations of the policy take place. I focus on two cases in which the relation with the state turns into one of radical collaboration: the experience of an unwanted child and the uses of state childcare. The paper discusses the spontaneous uses of parenting policies and their radicalism in this context as well as the textures of collaboration that the state establishes with these mothers.
A spear-killing in the Amazon and frustrated collaboration across difference
The paper unravels the frustrated attempts at collaborating across difference following from the spear-killing of a Huaorani man in the Yasuní national park in Ecuador, analyzing an interlocutor’s headache from “thinking different worlds at the same time.”
The paper unravels the events and escalating conflicts following from the spear-killing of a Huaorani man by a group of indigenous people living in voluntary isolation in the Yasuni national park in Ecuador. Within a month the man's kin retaliated his death, killed an entire family group of approximately 30 persons, filmed the events, and abducted two young girls. The events produced an outcry in the Ecuadorian media drawing indigenous organisations, lawyers and anthropologists, the Catholic Church, the Ecuadorian president and the Inter-American Human Rights Commission into the maelstrom of rumours, explanations and demands for action. Building on Anna Tsing's concept of friction as the unequal, unstable and creative quality of interconnections across difference, the paper explores the frustrated attempts at collaborating across difference and the radically different worlds that seem to have emerged in the wake of this. Zooming in on a meeting between constitutional court lawyers and local Huaorani leaders, the paper analyses an interlocutor's headache from "thinking different worlds at the same time," and his collaboration with other beings (namely shaman-jaguars) to make their world prevail.
Radical interculturality in the state of terrorism? Non-mapuche collaboration in the Mapuche movement in Santiago, Chile
The paper analyses the collaboration of non-mapuche in the reds of solidarity with the Mapuche movement as a form of interculturality. The paper suggests considering interculturality as radical experiences of difference and transformation in the relation ethnicity, class and territory.
In the paper I explore the forms of interculturality that might emerge from the collaboration of non-mapuche (Chileans) in the reds of solidarity with the Mapuche movement in Santiago, Chile. These collaborations and expressions of solidarity take place in a context of criminalization of the mapuche movement and state terrorism carried out against mapuche communities in resistance and on those who collaborate with the communities. The ethnography elucidates how the non-mapuche collaborators experience being othered and defined as "huinca" [pejorative term for foreigner] by their fellow Mapuche collaborators as a conflict ridden transformation of their subjectivity and their relation to the Chilean nation state.
It is argued that the collaboration is enacted and tensed as the non-mapuche and mapuche collaborators seek to navigate configurations of ethnicity, class and territoriality. These configurations are alternatively perceived as fix boundaries (i.e. mapuche - non-mapuches; poors and non-poors; Santiago - reclaimed Mapuche territories in Southern Chile) and as processes of transformation. Hence the paper suggests considering interculturality as radical experiences of difference and transformation in the relation between any of these three configurations.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.