Accepted Paper:

A 'nested' and 'perspectivistic' way of understanding the global - local nexus  

Author:

Calin Cotoi (University of Bucharest)

Paper short abstract:

The new configuration of the anthropological fieldwork, even if it radically questions the relevance of classical spatially bounded analytical tools, at the same time reinforces the methodological importance of the ‘local’. The new ‘local’ is de-centered and multiplied, as the anthropological fieldwork tends to become multi-sited.

Paper long abstract:

This paper is mainly concerned with the methodological and theoretical problems involved in imagining and studying ethno-religious minorities in Central and Eastern Europe through an 'anthropology of globalization'. I use some of Appadurai's and Comaroff&Comaroff's insights into the study of non-isomorphic global cultural flows and local autochtony movements in order to sketch a 'perspectivist' and 'nested' way of making sense of the dialectics of 'global' and 'local'. The 'autochtonous' ethno-religious identity can be seen, thus, not only as perspectivistic but also as 'nested', in the sense that the global, national and regional are actually internal relations constituting the imagined 'autochtony' of the local. The 'perspectivist' way of understanding globalization and autochtony implies the existence of an imaginary/global character of these cultural flows, strongly modulated by the political, historical and linguistic position of various social agents: nation states, multinational corporations, diaspora communities, movements, ethnic and religious groups, villages, families etc.

The new configuration of the anthropological field of investigation, even if it radically questions the relevance of classical, spatially bounded, analytical tools, at the same time reinforces the methodological importance of the 'local'. The new 'local' is, nevertheless, de-centered and multiplied, as the anthropological fieldwork becomes multi-sited, in a network of 'local' sites that are, at the same time, externally articulated with the global and internally formed by it. This transformed 'local' fieldwork needs a reworking of conceptual frameworks for theorizing the global.

Panel IW05
Local encounters with the global: diversity of anthropological fieldwork approaches in globalization studies