- Studio 1. A Case of Ethics
- Studio 2. Truth-Speaking
- Studio 3. Ethics: Directives
- Studio α. Affect: Inquiry & Diagnosis
- Studio β. Refracting Stasis
- Studio γ. Ausgang
- Studio I. Auto-Critique 1
- Studio II. Auto-Critique 2
- Studio III. Auto-Critique 3
- Studio 一. Recuperate
- Studio 二. Curate
- Studio 三. Anthropos: Corollaries
- Studio 四. Discordancies: Actual Configurations
- Studio א. Metalepsis
- Studio ب. Present, Actual, Contemporary
Anthropological Research on the Contemporary is devoted to collaborative inquiry into contemporary forms of life, labor and language.
ARC: CONCEPT WORK
European Anthropology Meetings: Critique and Diplomacy
The European Assoc. of Social Anthropologists 2012 Plenary featured a roundtable with Didier Fassin, Bruno Latour, Martin Holbraad, and Phillipe Descola, discussing the question “what kind of critique does anthropology produce?” Two points stood out for me: 1. Fassin began with a brief re-iteration of Foucault’s essay, with the suggestion pace the Toy Story character Buzzlightyear, that we go to Foucault and Beyond. The Foucault was a slightly reductive suggestion that for Foucault critique is simply a matter of making the necessary contingent. What was missing was a reference to the fact that Foucault specifically brings up the question of the limit-attitude; or otherwise put, the stance (or Haltung) of the person who wishes not only to reflect on limits, but to inhabit the exit toward the state of maturity. The Beyond was a reflection on the exchange he had had, although it wasn’t named, with Carlo Caduff in anthropological theory (see my earlier post on this engagement), and of the possibility of thinking at the threshold of Plato’s allegory of the cave, as a move beyond the philosophical ‘choice’ between Aristotle and Kant (see Fassin's response to Caduff). The anthropological response in Fassin’s rendering is an ethnographic one. The equation of anthropology with either ethnography or ‘description’ was close to uniform across the panel and the questions; an ethnographic (sic) observation.
2. Although not surprisingly Latour repeated his suggestion that critique has run out of steam, his intervention was surprising insofar as he suggested that the anthropological object du jour should be the geologically authorized anthropocene (journal editors, you have been warned), and the work of anthropologists on the anthropocene, a scene of war, conflict, disagreement, as that of “diplomacy”; (would his excellency care for dessert?) The suggestion was that the work of the diplomat is to renegotiate what the people who sent them value, desire, etc; thus in the epoch of human caused global alterations to earth, the battles within this disequilibrated field of existence require the revaluation of values, and the anthropologist according to at least one figuration, is the (well paid, immune) conduit who does not need to put their money where their mouth is (what is the Haltung of a diplomat?). There are no doubt other ways of figuring the diplomat, but the image (which did not go unremarked) of only institutionally powerful men, talking about the limits of critique, lends itself to a certain viewing. The convenor, Mrs Anne-Christine Taylor-Descola made a point of saying that this fact was a matter of chance Holbraad and (Phillipe) Descola had an interesting exchange on the possibility of conceptual invention as the means of adequately engaging plural, incommensural ontologies. More soon.