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P080
(Re)connecting with Earth Beings: ritual innovation and affective entanglements in contemporary ecopolitics
Convenors:
Maria Debinska (Polish Academy of Sciences)
Yael Dansac (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales)
Jean Chamel (University College London)
Format:
Panels
Time zone:
UTC+1
Sessions:
Wednesday 22 July, 8:30-10:15, 11:00-12:45

Short abstract:

Human relations with non-human entities are becoming an object not only of intense anthropological theorizing but also of a growing number of new social practices. The panel seeks to address the affective aspects of those practices, especially their spiritual, religious and ritual dimensions.

Long abstract:

As anthropologists discuss the "ontological turn" and the possible ways of including non-human entities in our research, a diverse movement towards reconnecting with "Earth Beings" (De la Cadena 2015) is observable worldwide in the form of a variety of practices: from alternative agriculture to neopagan ceremonies, from obtaining legal personality for non-human beings to inventing religious rituals that allow for establishing spiritual relationships with them. At the same time indigenous communities are increasingly successful in protecting by law their relationships with their ecosystems while their rituals are being discovered by wider publics and become sources of inspiration and possible objects of cultural appropriation for global and local ecopolitical movements. This panel seeks to address these phenomena and explore the diverse entanglements of their political, ritual and affective dimensions. We invite papers that deal with these issues using various theoretical and methodological approaches: from phenomenology, sensory ethnography and affect studies to ritual theory, ontological approaches and decolonial perspectives. We want to place particular emphasis on the relations of those movements with existing religious denominations, reinvented ancient traditions as well as indigenous knowledge systems and ritual practices. Particular research problems include but are not limited to: ritual innovation, non-human agency, ontological indeterminacy of 'Earth Beings", epistemic marginalization, cultural appropriation, redefinitions of the notion of spirituality and fostering new relationships through ritual practice.