World, chaos and disorder

Jonathan Marshall (University of Technology, Sydney)
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Short abstract:

This session explores the relationship between order and disorder, challenging ideas that disorder is a residue or can be ignored in comparison to order. Modes of ordering (appropriation, enclosure politics, computer systems etc), create modes of disorder which are socially and experientially vital.

Long abstract:

Anthropology usually theorises processes of disorder as pathology (anomie or failure), as a temporary result of conflict, as short-term outlet for repression, as side effect of change, or as residue of what we cannot explain by our theoretical schematics. However, order and disorder are not necessarily givens, and perceptions of disorder may be socially distributed and have effects on social action and the construction of culture and the politics of order. This session aims to explore how modes of ordering create, or are related to, modes of disorder and, in particular, to query the disorder produced by the orderings of appropriation and enclosure. Questions for consideration might include: Does the contemporary sense of disorder stem from the effects of neo-liberal economic and political order or the confused relations between States and corporations? Do socially enforced processes and categories of ownership and appropriation create a disorder which reinforces or challenges those categories? For example, do regimes of copyright produce actions then classified as theft *and* challenge ideas of property? Do the types of technology, such as computers and software models, which are used to structure workplace and social organisation, produce disorder? Is the disorder, which is produced, used to justify extension of the disorder-producing ordering? Or are paradox and contradiction inherent in systems of explanation and thus just a product of our attempts to theorise anything?

Accepted Papers: