This panel gathers some of the best papers from the 2013 RAI Postgraduate Conference, held at the University of Aberdeen, entitled ‘Ideas in Movement’. These papers address the paradox that in our disciplinary questioning, even as new ideas supplant the old, perennial tensions continue to resurface.
In order to showcase the cutting edge of new anthropological research, a selection of the best papers from the 2013 RAI Postgraduate Conference, held at the University of Aberdeen, have been assembled in this panel. Entitled ‘Ideas in Movement: Addressing Tensions in Anthropology’, the conference discussed the historical emergence of ideas in Anthropology through an analysis of past and present tensions within the discipline. Today, confronted with a world that appears more dynamic than ever, anthropologists are questioning some of the discipline’s most fundamental conceptions, arguing from different and often contradictory perspectives. Yet as new ideas break off from old ones, they still bear an uncanny resemblance to their antecedents. Even as anthropologists bury the in past trying to move beyond old tensions, these tensions continually resurface in different forms. But what does it mean to overcome old tensions? Do we ever really move beyond them? Are there alternatives to simply pushing against them? Among many, we might highlight tensions between the real and the imaginary, the fluid and the static, discourse and perception, nature and culture, purity and hybridity, the visible and invisible, ethnography and anthropology, discovery and construction, and so on. Moving away from naïve dualisms and their dissolution, the papers included in this panel were invited to contribute theoretical and ethnographic discussions that could engage with both emerging and historical tensions.