What stays and becomes permanent? Attending comparatively to the concept of permanence, we explore the ethnographic texture and theoretical traction of 'what stays' in social and intimate life.
In a historical, social, and political moment where change, flux, and uncertainty dominate public imagination and private lives, what stays and becomes permanent? And what can a close ethnographic attention to 'what stays' tell us about our anthropological understanding of the apparent im-permanence of contemporary times? Exploring the concept of permanence from different historical, theoretical, and regional perspectives, ethnographic papers in this panel ask: What stays of political surprise, social rupture, historical change? How do certain ideas, objects, and people acquire permanency across regional, temporal, and generational boundaries? How is permanence guarded and nurtured, imposed and contested? When is permanence a value, and when is it a curse? Attending comparatively to the concept of permanence, the panel brings together different scales of ethnographic thinking about 'permanence' - for example, the permanence of people in contexts of great out-migration and the permanence of bodily practices across generations, the permanence of political relations in the aftermath of colonialism and the intimate permanence of revolutionary rupture. In doing so, we traces how permanence - understood as both indigenous concept and anthropological lens - may allow us to reimagine not only classic anthropological tensions between continuity and change, memory and practice, structure and agency, but also the complex staying, moving, and settling of social life itself.