W016
'Oppression' and 'security': the moral ambiguities of protection in an increasingly interconnected world

Convenors:
Gudrun Dahl (Stockholm University)
Aud Talle (University of Oslo)
Stream:
Workshops
Location:
Biol B74
Start time:
21 September, 2006 at 11:30
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

The focus of this workshop is the fact that hierarchy and dependence have different cultural readings: protection and oppression are often parallel and coexisting frames of interpretation.

Long abstract:

Relations of paternalistic hierarchy or dependence often invite quite contrastive frames of interpretation. What one party presents as acts undertaken on the basis of accountable responsibility to offer protection, another party may see as intrusive constraints on agency. In an increasingly interconnected world, new constructions of risk create new justification for protection. New patterns of domination require new forms of legitimation. The moral ambiguities of protection are activated at many different levels of society and social actors: they impact upon relations at the interpersonal level as well as on relations between subjects or citizens and the leaders of communities, corporations and organisations, or even on relations between states. Ambiguity may be part of the ethnographic reality we study. In other cases, what the anthropologist reads as subjection the informant may read as care or vice versa, raising problems both for cultural relativism and the nature of ethically committed writing. <br/>This workshop intends to summon ethnographic examples from a range of spheres, either where the ethnographic reality actualises these issues, or where they are raised by practice-oriented anthropology. Examples of such fields may be international relations, gender relations, food security, minority policies, etc.