P007
On simultaneity: the utopia of play and paradox in the making of mundane sociality

Convenors:
Matan Shapiro (University of Bergen)
Beata Świtek (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology)
Chair:
Matan Shapiro and Beata Switek
Location:
A112
Start time:
22 June, 2015 at 10:30
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

Aiming for a comparative analysis of simultaneity as utopia this panel welcomes papers that present ethnographic theories of play, uncertainty and paradox in the unfolding of mundane sociality.

Long abstract:

Philosopher Eugen Fink (1968) suggests that intrinsic to play is a property of simultaneity: the capacity of players to be themselves from within a play-zone and at the same time appear as others to themselves from without that zone. This, he claims, collapses the ontological barrier between reality and fantasy. To date simultaneity has mainly been studied in the context of ritualized play and isolated heterotopic spaces such as religious theme parks, sacred sites of pilgrimage, and shopping malls. The globalization of technology in late-capitalism - especially the internet and its derivatives - nonetheless takes simultaneity beyond demarcated public events into the realm of everyday practice. Cross culturally people play with currency (stock-exchange market), subjectivity (social media, reality shows, online games), text (messaging, blogs), image (Photoshop, Instagram) and sound (sampling) in ways that obscure the singularity of place, figure, value, name and map. In that sense simultaneity produces utopian spaces within the flow of the mundane, wherein mutually-exclusive representations of self and other, local and global or presence and absence temporarily fuse into sublime perfection. What situations entail the experience of simultaneity in different cultural settings? Are they contingent on particular technologies, techniques or manuals? How these events differ from framed ritualized contexts? How material dimensions of simultaneity attribute aesthetic values to utopia? What affects characterize moments of simultaneity (e.g. embarrassment, rage, wonderment)? Aiming for a comparative analysis of simultaneity we welcome papers that present ethnographic theories of play, uncertainty and paradox in the unfolding of mundane sociality.