Thinking through atmospheres
Sara Asu Schroer (University of Aberdeen)
Paper short abstract:
Inspired through fieldwork with birds of prey and falconers this paper seeks to bring together and discuss approaches to atmospheres and explores the potential of the concept for anthropological inquiry.
Paper long abstract:
Anthropological inquiry is earthbound. We pay attention to the myriad ways in which people engage with the world through their bodies and senses, how they relate to each other, landscapes and materials. Our fieldwork practice and theory arises from the 'ground', it is 'situated' and 'embodied'. Often the sky above our heads and, the air through which we move when we walk the ground becomes the space of imagination, ideas and the ephemeral. What would happen, however, if we also think of anthropological research as aerial? If we started to pay attention to the atmospheric, which does not merely surround but infuses us? Inspired through fieldwork with birds of prey and falconers this paper seeks to bring together approaches to atmospheres and explores the potential of the concept for anthropological inquiry. How might a focus on an anthropology of atmospheres enrich our research praxis and provide alternative ways of research concerned with the vague constitution of atmospheres at once palpable and uncontained, abstract and material? Problematizing the division in the treatment of atmospheres into meteorological on the one hand and aesthetic/affective realms on the other, this paper proposes to bring these two together in order to develop an understanding for how people live in a moving atmospheric world.
Exploring 'atmospheres': an anthropological approach?