P01
Adding value: anthropology and the study of global flows

Convenors:
Sabine Mannitz (Peace Research Institute Frankfurt - Member of Leibniz Association )
Birgit Bräuchler (Monash University)
Format:
Panels
Location:
Jan Anderson (E101A), R.N Robertson Building
Sessions:
Tuesday 3 December, 9:00-10:45

Short abstract:

As ethnography and participant observation have become popular in various social sciences, the ways in which these are engaged need reconsideration. To that end we ask what implications cross-disciplinary leanings render, and want to reflect on the value which - maybe only - our discipline can add.

Long abstract:

Over the past years, scholars have experimented with interdisciplinary methodological encounters and research designs and ethnography and participant observation have become popular tools outside anthropology. At the same time, social anthropologists have adapted their methodology or adopted research methods from sociology or political science to complement (or even replace?) ethnographic research. This is particularly the case in the study of global connections which has prompted novel ways of accessing social facts and fields. Concepts such as "ethnoscapes" (Appadurai), "non-local ethnography" (Feldman), "global macroanthropology" (Erikson) or "the field site as network" (Burrell) mirror this development. Anthropologists and other social sciences scholars alike study, for instance, international organisations, global-local dynamics in political mobilisation, postcolonial conflicts or peacebuilding; they all develop theories about global flows and their interlinkages with 'the local', and they increasingly work together in multi-disciplinary teams. This panel seeks to open up space for reflection on experiences with as well as potential and costs of interdisciplinary endeavours. We invite contributions that address theoretical problems, methodological considerations, or challenges related to certain thematic fields: Which anthropological theories travel easily across disciplinary boundaries, and which value may be gained from this? How do researchers from neighbouring disciplines conduct ethnographic fieldwork, and what are the implications of these adoptions for anthropology? Can anthropological theory and methodology be separated at all? What research questions and social phenomena call for, and benefit from, interdisciplinary approaches? Where are the limits to this and should anthropologists insist on the value that only anthropology can add?