Individuals, who are at the base of the anthropological research, seem to deserve more attention in anthropology than they have received so far. This panel wants to explore the theoretical, methodological, empirical and epistemological implications of the study of individuals in anthropology.
Anthropological research rests on the anthropologist's interactions with individual persons. Similarly, research findings presuppose the existence of individuals. Yet, as the anthropologist's major focus usually lies on society and/or culture, the individuals somehow disappear from the foreground of anthropological studies. They rather serve to exemplify general patterns, serve to provide anectodes or figure prominently in field-tales. In these accounts, they are rather reduced to some selected aspects of their lives and personalities. Despite some attention payed to individuals in anthropology (Des Chène 1998, Piette 2011, Rapport 1997, Lahire 2004, Miller 2009, Massard-Vicent et al 2011, Heiss 2011), the theme of the individual thus seems to be far from being exhausted and to deserve to be explored better. This panel wants to provide a forum for these efforts. Contributions from any geographical area, any sub-field of anthropology or any theoretical approachs are welcome. The papers may address theoretical or epistemological questions, deal with methodological issues or present empirical research results. They might, for instance, deal with everyday life, life-histories, the relationship between individual and society, forms of existence, ontography or phenomenography, etc. However, contributors are also invited to explore if their research results might contribute to the question of what a proper conception of individuals for anthropology might be. Taking up the conference theme, we would also like to invite the contributors to explore what an anthropology of individuals might have to offer for other themes or fields in anthropology.