This panel explores linkages between sociality and value with the aim of opening up the sociality concept. Principal foci are the varying values attributed to sociality in different ethnographic contexts, and how values inform, shape and are generated through the practice.
This panel explores the imaginaries of sociality, using values as a searchlight. It explores linkages between sociality and value, treating sociality both as a value and source of value, with the aim of opening up the concept to enhance its ethnographic purchase. A buzzword with a Strathernian radiance, invested with aspirations for close-up access to social life through the very activities whereby it is enacted, 'sociality' features profusely, but generally unreflectively, in anthropology. The panel is interested in the varying values that are attributed to sociality in different ethnographic contexts, and in how these and other cultural values are expressed or engendered through the practice. Contributors may explore how values authorize, circumscribe or otherwise shape particular ethnographic socialities through ethical, ideological and aesthetic imaginaries, but also how the practice of sociality renders values authoritative or desirable, or undermines them. Values are treated as a means for instating 'meaning' - cultural and political content - into sociality in its variegated realization in the everyday, but also for attending to how sociality extends beyond the here and now of ongoing interaction and immediate experience. A starting point is that sociality is always qualified and inflected, never reducible to plain, disinterested sociability conducted for its own sake, as for Simmel, or an immanent, self-constitutive process, as in some strands of posthumanist thought. It is recognized that sociality is always fraught with a certain différance, being saturated with history and human virtuality, transcending the horizons of its realization.