Sensory Ethnographies in Spaces of Co-Production: The Quest for Alternative Immersive Experiences

Gulin Kayhan (Waseda University)
Beata Switek (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology)
Anthropology and Sociology
Bloco 1, Piso 1, Sala 1.11
Start time:
1 September, 2017 at 14:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This panel explores how senses are cultivated in spaces of co-production where participants emphasize their own agency in the assembling of a valued affect and inquires why certain vocabularies of experience achieve more prevalence than others in narratives of the intersubjective sharing of affect.

Long abstract:

A field in an uphill village in the Kansai region where a newbie farmer pulls her carrots out of the ground, a vibrant stage where devoted fans of a Visual Kei band feel the mental touch of visually shocking metal music and a risaikuru shoppu in Tokyo where a Russian woman is hunting for an item that will be "hers" at first sight. What do these sites have in common? Contributors to this panel take these sites as spaces of co-production and discuss how senses are cultivated, bolstered and reconfigured in these spaces where participants themselves place an emphasis on their own agency and choice in the assembling of the cognitive-material webs that produce a valued affect. Among the participants in these spaces of co-production, there is a shared notion of creating an alternative to the mainstream and an accent on DIY (do-it-yourself). In their narratives, senses play an important role in stating what constitutes an alternative sociality. Papers in this panel explore how actors achieve immersion in spaces of co-production and question the extent to which these immersive experiences are channeled into an awareness of the relationality, reliance and porosity of the self towards others. Sensory ethnographies are provided where the ethnographer herself is becoming a sensor of the dirt in the field, sweat and pride in human toil (Kurochkina), of goosebumps induced by music and achieving the sublime (Malick), of holding a decorative object and sensing in it something that reveals a migrant's nomadic existence (Golovina). Beyond studying the senses and actors' narratives in their own terms, papers in this panel also inquire how affective attunement is achieved, that is why certain vocabularies of experience achieve more prevalence than others in narratives of intersubjective sharing of affect.