Contributors will present ethnographic case studies of situations in which people start loosing faith in the principles that organise their world. The goal of this workshop is to analyse these moments when beliefs that used to be consistent with their context seem irrelevant and generate conflictual emotions.
Contributors are invited to present concrete situations in which people start loosing faith in the principles that used to organise their world, question their support for institutions, or stop subscribing to normative references and values. The goal of this workshop is to record these moments when beliefs that used to be consistent with their context do not match the new reality any more and generate conflictual emotions. How can we capture the manifestations of this inarticulate uncertainty just before it develops into a crisis or ends in mere indifference?
We would like to investigate situations in which the legitimacy of a political leader, a relative's authority or a shaman's power, starts falter. How does the loss of confidence in the traditional points of reference manifest itself? What can we learn from the ethnography of the emergence of a new kind of sensitivity (growing distrust of medical technology, disaffection with blood sacrifices in the Hindu world, etc.)? How do people start questioning dominant or standard narratives (national or community history, mythologies, ideologies) that seem to have lost their relevance?
The anthropology of belief has mostly tried to make sense of various forms of belief in their respective contexts. However the loss of consistency of beliefs that is the prelude to social change, has remained largely understudied. The presentation of ethnographic situations as diverse as possible will help to find regularities in these moments of uncertainty that generate as much anxiety as they are rich of new possibilities.
Sidonia Grama (Romanian Academy, Cluj)
Toomas Gross (University of Helsinki)
Elisa Rieger (University Graz)
Jennifer Speirs (University of Edinburgh)