Accepted Paper:

Gaps in Knowledge? Ethnographic practice, addition and collaborative endeavour  

Author:

James Leach (CNRS - CREDO - Aix-Marseille Université)

Paper short abstract:

What would anthropological engagement look like without a distinct category of knowledge about 'the social'?

Paper long abstract:

Viewing knowledge as a kind of object which can be transferred from one mind, context, discipline, or sector into another suits a particular contemporary version of political economy and its attendant rules governing circulation, reputation and ownership. As Riles and Miyazaki have recently addressed, faced with complex enterprises, it appears that certain projects require the 'addition' of one kind of knowledge to another, thereby making 'gaps' disappear. Social scientific engagement is pre-specified in its form and utility in these instances. Starting from a Strathernian notion of knowledge as the kind of thing which does not have 'gaps', this paper will develop an argument for writing an anthropology which obviates 'the social' as a distinct category of knowledge, focussing instead on ethnographic engagement as collaboration, and utile understandings as those embedded in persons and relations.

Panel W065
Routing knowledge through persons