Accepted paper:

Introduction: living and researching (in) uncertainty after the fall of Mubarak

Authors:

Karin Ahlberg (Stockholm University)
Carl Rommel (University of Helsinki)

Paper short abstract:

In this introduction, we discuss the potential of thinking through uncertainty in the Middle Eastern context. Focusing on subject formations, lived experiences and daily practices, we show how lack of certainty and trust affect Egyptians as well as researchers in post-revolutionary Egypt.

Paper long abstract:

In this introduction, we discuss the potential of thinking through uncertainty in the Middle Eastern context. Focusing on subject formations, lived experiences and daily practices, we show how a lack of certainty and trust has come to affect Egyptians as well as researchers in Egypt since the January revolution. Building on ethnographic research as well as personal experiences, we aim to illustrate how a general state of uncertainty works itself around and inside people, in ways that make consensual 'truths' utopian, and something that at best could be considered a rare exception or a luxury. We also want to bring attention to how situations of uncertainty challenge some of anthropology's core practices: How do we anthropologically write about e.g. Egypt, when the situation in 2011 most likely cannot be written in the 'ethnographic presence', as things are so clearly dynamic and changing? How do we as researchers find ways and motivation to do anthropological long-lasting research in the midst of rapidly developing political transformations?

panel W015
Living uncertainty: navigating gray-zones of unreliable realities in the Middle East (EN)