When worldings meet: ethnographically taking stock of the ontological turns, their (possible) connections, and movements
Mario Blaser (Memorial University of Newfoundland)
Florencia Tola (Universidad de Buenos Aires)
Worlds in motion: Worlds, Hopes and Futures/Mondes en mouvement: Mondes, espoirs et futurs
FSS 1006
Start time:
4 May, 2017 at 8:30
Session slots:

Short abstract:

How are emerging theorizations on issues of ontology or ontologies being taken, combined and reinvented in relation to concrete ethnographic settings, different national disciplinary traditions, wider political national/regional debates?

Long abstract:

An increasing number of commentators recognize the plurality and divergence of projects that have been compressed under the label of 'ontological turn.' For instance, while they might share a common concern with the modernist nature/culture ontological divide, the projects of Descola, Ingold, Viveiros de Castro, Strathern, Latour, Law, Mol, Haraway, Verran, and Povinelli - to mention some of the most established figures associated with the 'turn' - are not the same. In this panel we want to take stock on how are concerns with ontology or ontologies being taken, combined and reinvented in concrete ethnographic settings. For example, how do tropes of multi-species and more-than-human assemblages rub against tropes of 'ontological alterity' in ways that illuminate ethnography? But, more importantly, how does the specificity of ethnographic settings push back on these kinds of tropes requiring their reworking? By ethnographic setting we mean thinking on these issues from fieldwork examples but also from the circumstances (e.g., national disciplinary traditions, overarching national/regional political debates and so on) in which colleagues in different geographical places take and operationalize some of these ideas; are these ideas mere academic fads (as some critics imply) or do they speak to concrete on-the-ground problems? If the latter, how? adapting to what circumstances? We welcome theoretically and/or case-based reflections as long as they can help 'map' where and how the ontological turns are moving conceptually and geographically.