This panel explores the creative work involved in making accounts of and for oneself and others in various ethnographic contexts. What and how are these accounts produced, and what are the ethical, political, and affective dynamics of imagining selves/others in order to produce such accounts?
Accounting for oneself, and making accounts of and for others, requires creative work. Anthropologists have considered accounts and processes of account-making from the perspectives of politics and identity construction, ethics, and intersubjectivity, among others. We want to ask what might be gained from explicitly considering the imaginative, affective, and effortful dimensions of our interlocutors' account-making. What happens in the gap(s) between accounts, their makers, their audiences, and their objects? Building on Levinas' (1961) work on the face-to-face encounter and Butler's (2005) discussion on the rhetorics of selfhood, responsibility, and incoherence, this panel seeks to respond to Hollan and Throop (2008), Lurhmann (2011, 2012) and Astuti's (2012) calls for further attention to the varieties of imaginative practice involved in relations between selves and others.
We invite participants to consider the following: What kinds of imaginative work take place in creating accounts of others and selves? How are these accounts produced, rendered, articulated, enacted, and felt? What kinds of politics are involved in account-making? In what ways do groups of people draw (in)coherence from divergent narratives in order to produce collective imaginings? How do they account for those divergent narratives? And what voices do imagined others have in these creative processes? Contributions are invited which consider the practice of account-making from micro-interactions to large-scale collective projects, from intimate intersubjectivities to physically and temporally remote others, and which incorporate human, non-human, material, and immaterial others.