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Accepted Paper:

Racialisation as encounter: emotional labour and ‘white’ pedagogies in the Chilean service economy  
Sofia Ugarte (London School of Economics and Political Science)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyses practices of racialisation as intimate encounters. Based on Haitian women's efforts looking for work in Santiago, I show how racialised differences become materialised in bodies, sediment the history and pedagogy of Chilean whiteness, and push the limits of otherness.

Paper long abstract:

This paper analyses practices of racialisation as intimate encounters that problematise anthropology’s use of ethnographic otherness. Departing from Sara Ahmed’s work on migrant encounters in which strangers are framed in prior histories of difference and relationships of power (Ahmed 2000), I conceptualise encounters as an ethnographic device through which we can study everyday interactions in connection to broader processes of social transformation. Based on fieldwork with migrant Haitian women looking for work and their interactions with Chilean employers in job interviews and skills-training programmes in Santiago, I examine how racialised differences become materialised in Haitian women’s bodies, constitute a landscape of servitude in the Chilean labour market, and sediment ‘Chilean whiteness’ with its particular history and pedagogy. These encounters, I argue, are abundant of emotional epistemologies (Ramos-Zayas 2011) that redefine Haitian women as dispossessed afro-descendant labour migrants and affectively attach them to Chile’s ambivalent promise of being a welcoming country. Moreover, racialisation as encounter and its consequential character also points to the peripheral proximity of researchers in these situations, in which differences between self and other can become exacerbated or even subsided. I thus further reflect on the ways anthropological attention to encounters opens possibilities for redefining the limits of otherness theoretically and ethnographically.

Panel Speak07a
Responsibility as critique. Reimagining the political in the ethnographic encounter I
  Session 1 Tuesday 30 March, 2021, -