W093
On 'Souvenir': experiencing diversity, objectifying mutuality

Convenors:
Nuno Porto (University of British Columbia)
Anthony Shelton (University of British Columbia)
Stream:
Workshops
Location:
R3
Start time:
29 August, 2008 at 11:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

Souvenir' evokes mass produced objects reifying places, practices or persons, obtained in superficial experiences of cultural diversity. This workshop, however, intends to compare the processes these objects convey, considering the broadest possible tokens of mutual relations in social practices.

Long abstract:

Souvenir' evokes mass produced objects reifying places, practices or persons, obtained in superficial experiences of cultural diversity. This workshop, however, intends to put in comparative perspective the processes these objects prototypically convey - the experience of time, place and interaction - considering the broadest possible tokens of mutual relations in social practices. In his photographic album 'Saudades do Brasil', Claude Lévi-Strauss explains how mute and distant photographs had become to him after so long. The scent of his notebooks, however, made him travel back to Brazil, his youth, and his early queries on anthropology. A token of some shared lived experience need not be a material object. More often than not, however, the notion of 'souvenir' is entangled with marketed mass produced stereotypes of places, attitudes or characters, which situate its owner in a specific time and site context where some sort of cherished relationship has occurred. The purpose of this workshop is to invite anthropologists to recast the idea of the souvenir under new perspectives, by exploring cases on which experiences of cultural diversity have been acknowledged through mutual explorations, and elaborated through the kind of relational procedures, which also stand at the core of ethnographic approaches to social life.