Slowness needs protection" (Eriksen 2001). Yet, does anthropology encourage 'slowness' in its own practice? We encourage reflections around the neoliberal politics of speed and the notion of 'slowing down' as a useful practice to re-vitalise anthropological legacies towards a more engaging future.
Slowness needs protection", says Thomas Eriksen (2001) implying that processes of slowing down emerge when being supported by the dynamics of collective action on various scales. Yet, does the academic world, and more specifically anthropology, encourage 'slowness' in its own practice? In antithesis with the way in which the discipline has emerged and historically constituted itself through its long-term engagement in the field, in the past years 'slowing down' in academia has become synonymous with inefficiency, augmenting precariousness. Thus, what does this mean for the contemporary social role of anthropology? This panel encourages reflections around the notion of 'slowing down' as a useful practice to re-vitalise anthropological legacies towards a more engaging future. We invite participants to present methodological, theoretical, and/or experimental papers addressing ways through which this notion may challenge the neoliberal politics of speed increasingly affecting the academic world.
Building on our respective yet complementary research centred on concepts such as 'living anthropology' (Battaglia) and 'gradual gaze' (Kashanipour) vis-à-vis classic methodological ways of doing anthropology through participant observation, "with a whole library in [our] heads" (Augé and Colleyn 2006) which mirrors "the discipline's agenda of the moment" (Starn 2015), we seek to initiate discussions that reconnect our discipline to its 'essence', which is, for us, its art of slowing down. Accordingly, we call for papers that reflect on alternative models of engagement in the field and beyond the field, aiming at processes of 'unlearning' scientific automatisms while constantly 'learning' to engage with local ontologies and (re)shape future anthropologies.