Accepted paper:

Desire in the ethnography of Southeast Asia

Author:

Holly High (Sydney University)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper I use my own changing analysis of the desires that I encountered in the south of Laos to consider some of the potentials and pitfalls of desire as an analytic concept for ethnographers, concluding with some recent thinking on the intersection between anthropology and psychoanalysis.

Paper long abstract:

The ethnography of Southeast Asia has recently featured debates about the growth of states and the encroachments of "markets". In this debate, thick ethnographic accounts of local desire for (among other things) states and markets have been a reliable source of complications to any simple narrative of hegemony and resistance. However, desire has typically remained an implicit commitment or taking off point rather than a subject of explicit theorization. In this paper I use my own changing analysis of the desires that I encountered in the south of Laos to consider some of the potentials and pitfalls of desire as an analytic concept for ethnographers, concluding with some recent thinking on the intersection between anthropology and psychoanalysis.

panel IW007
Desire and the ethnography of economic and political change