Plen1
Mutualities in practice: beyond worlds in collision

Convenors:
Rajko Mursic (University of Ljubljana)
Format:
Plenaries
Start time:
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

The panel will initiate discussions on the concept of mutuality. Ethnographic fieldwork involves myriads of mutual interdependencies, revealing mutuality beyond cultural diversity. The panelists will approach the notion from various perspectives (morality, state, urbanity, politics and engagement).

Long abstract:

Anthropologists' experience of human diversity should not obscure the basic fact that human beings are connected to each other through a myriad of fine ties. If diversity is the ground on which anthropology stands, then it becomes even more important to accentuate those human "webs of significance" which exist despite this diversity. Otherwise anthropology itself might contribute to discord and conflict. If there is anything "natural" in our humanly constructed world, then it is "being together." So even though humans make different worlds, the boundaries between them are constructed from various mutual encounters and interrelations. Trust, morality, aesthetic tuning and other categories shape living worlds. There is a huge vocabulary of notions which describe mutual construction of human worlds: participation, cooperation, solidarity, reciprocity, negotiation, mediation, etc. Yet mutuality is more than a dialogue; it is a dialectic process that involves human practices, acts and ideas, including things we use and ideas we dispute are based on some mutual determination. In a densely interconnected world we are used to seeing one-way trajectories from centres in processes of globalisation and virtuality. So we are inclined to overlook responses from the peripheries, the grass-roots. The panel will open discussion on mutuality - or mutualism - from historical, political, moral and social perspectives, and on mutualities as markers of ethnographic experience, and on synchronisation through manipulations and interdependencies.