Accepted paper:

Altering politics in our times How the crisscross between political theory and anthropology can help us to rethink and refigure politics for the purposes of equal freedom

Author:

Alexandros Kioupkiolis (Aristotle University)

Paper short abstract:

This presentation will explore how contemporary political theory opens itself up to anthropology and how a creative interaction between the two fields can nourish the radical democratic imaginary of our times.

Paper long abstract:

Amplifying tendencies that have been operative since the early 20th century, contemporary political theory has rethought the concept of the political along lines which dis-locate it from the state and situate it between the two extremes of war and (eternal) peace. These shifts enable us to reimagine political action and organization in more egalitarian, open, decentralized and autonomous patterns.

Anthropology has contributed to these creative displacements and can help today to carry them forward.

Contemporary ethnography has charted the autonomous reality of other politics beyond or outside the state driven by internal motivation. Anthropology constitutionally attends to alterity, cultural diversity, and everyday worlds rather than the macro-level or the 'social system' as a whole. Hence, today it brings to the fore how social movement politics break with the statist logic of the political through their non-instrumental, prefigurative nature, by figuring new relationships and subjectivities, by converging in diffuse and decentralized networks, by self-organizing in public spaces and assemblies that are accessible to ordinary people and oppose hierarchical representation, fixed ideologies and professional politicians (Scott 1990; Haiven & Khasnabish 2014; Hage 2012; Graeber 2009; Maeckelbergh 2009; Shukaitis & Graeber 2007; Papapavlou 2015).

This presentation will explore how contemporary political theory opens itself up to anthropology and how a creative interaction between the two fields can nourish the radical democratic imaginary of our times.

panel P139
Alter-politics, commons and ethnographies for another world