Interest and affect: anthropological perspectives on economy and intimacy (EN) 
Maria Padron Hernandez (University of Gothenburg)
Nadine Fernandez (SUNY/Empire State College)
Hope Bastian Martinez (Colegio San Geronimo de la Habana)
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C205 (access code C1864)
Thursday 12 July, 11:30-13:15, 14:30-16:15, Friday 13 July, 9:00-10:45 (UTC+0)

Short Abstract:

Within social sciences intimacy and economy are often seen as "separate spheres and hostile worlds" and anxiety is expressed when they are seen as intersecting. We welcome papers challenging the simplicity of this view by dealing with how people negotiate intimacy and economy in the everyday.

Long Abstract

The twin ideals of love as free of material interest and business as free from personal feelings are strong in many parts of the world and especially in what we refer to as "the West". Both Zelizer and Bourdieu talk about the work being performed by agents in order to hide the fact that economy and intimacy are, in fact, impossible to separate in every-day life. This labour, performed through constant negotiations on the appropriate nature of different relationships, speaks about an anxiety sprung from the contradiction between ideals and practices.

Within social sciences this anxiety is translated theoretically in the view of intimacy and economy as "separate spheres and hostile worlds" (Zelizer 2005). If the spheres intersect, it is assumed, each casts doubt and uncertainty on the veracity of the other: marriage for economic interest cancels out true love just as preferential hirings cancel out true merit. Commoditization is seen as corrupting the sphere of affect in the same way that intimacy corrupts economic and political life.

In this panel we welcome papers challenging the alluring simplicity of this view by dealing with how people negotiate intimacy and economy in the everyday. Is the view of "separate spheres and hostile worlds" even present in the ethnographic context? And even if it is, how is it reasserted, transcended, reconfigured, stretched, blurred, silenced?

Possible contributions could explore: remittances; friendship, sharing and hospitality; transnational relations; household economies; courting and couplehood; family business; caring labour; material culture; social networks; the informal economy, etc.

Accepted papers: