Accepted paper:

World-making with smartphones, unsettling ethics, and utopian directions

Authors:

Karen Waltorp (Aarhus University)

Paper short abstract:

With an on-set in fieldwork and filmmaking among young Muslim women in Copenhagen, I argue that the smartphone as a fieldwork device affords a window onto the multiple futures at play in negotiations across the digital and physical dimensions.

Paper long abstract:

With an on-set in fieldwork and filmmaking among young Muslim women in Copenhagen, I argue that the smartphone as a fieldwork device affords a window onto the multiple futures at play in negotiations across the digital and physical dimensions. I discuss how these fieldwork devices have become means of interrogating the (im)possible, the mundane, and the speculative in its emergent forms, and often manifested in glimpses: Interaction with interlocutors through the Snapchat platform - a photo and video messaging application for mobile devices where the content ceases to exist after 10 seconds - is one example of such ephemeral glimpses of futures being built, anticipated and altered. My research areas are entwined with political debates about integration, gender roles, and democracy in the Danish context, which I share with my interlocutors. In terms of future-orientation, ethics seem unsettling, and the stakes are high: How to research and write in a climate where it seems everything you write about your interlocutors can and will be used against them? I use the figure of "utopian world-making" in discussing a future-oriented anthropological practice where conceptualization, study, and intervention in futures are inextricably entwined: an ideal non-existing practice worth striving for, even if it can never be (found).

panel P070
Possible/plausible/probable/preferable: concepts and techniques for realising futures [FAN]