Accepted paper:

The challenge of street anthropology: Hindu temple construction as street-edge phenomena under globalisation


Yasumasa Sekine (Kwansei Gakuin University)

Paper short abstract:

.I define what Street Anthropology aims at and what kind of viewpoint it should adopt. On the basis of my fieldwork in India and in UK, I conclude that the essential idea of Street Anthropology would be "becoming-street edge" which encompasses the viewpoints of "generative" and "from below".

Paper long abstract:

Idea on 'Street Anthropology' got rooted when I got inspired that city is a confluence of various street flows (of things, persons, money and information). The current rapid globalization clarifies such a fluid nature of city and local-global getting engaged and entangled. Street Anthropology therefore first requires a change in viewpoint, from the fixed to "the generative". Since street consists of two spaces, center and edge which respectively reflect the dominant and the repressed, it must be the arena in which the viewpoints of top-down and bottom-up are on conflict. Street Anthropology has to certainly adopt "the viewpoint from below" for realizing "a true holistic approach". Street Anthropology as the case of the Subaltern Studies focuses upon the activities of the subaltern living on street edge. I carried out fieldworks in two locations: one on pavement shrines as a space of faith in Chennai, India, and other on Hindu temples built up by the 'British Asians' in London. I find Peirce's semiotics more pertinent for elucidating the process of bricolage of temple construction in the marginalized situations. The process appears to be a generative one of inference and advancing from icon to symbol through index. The exploration comes closer to the philosophical concept of "Becoming-minor" developed by Deleuze and Guattari. Thus, the essential idea of Street Anthropology would be "becoming-street edge" which encompasses the viewpoints of "generative"and "from below". It may contribute to getting rid of the fiction of modernity by which neo-liberalist ideology is justified.

panel P004
A challenge of street anthropology