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This panel approaches the entanglement between emotions and the political projects of the (un)commoning. At the center are care relations at the intersection between authority and power on the one hand and particular emotions, such as hope, gratitude, sympathy, contempt, fear or shame on the other
In times of political transformations and eventually even dystopian times, the provision of care, be it offered by institutions of state welfare, charity, humanitarianism or even individuals, turns into a crucial and powerful domain of social in- or exclusion. Furthermore, under conditions of uncertainty, asymmetric encounters in the context of legal counselling, bureaucracies, or in moments of border control can likewise serve as generators of hope, producing social imaginaries and aspirations. For understanding how the asymmetric quality of care relations is interpreted, the anthropology of emotions since the 1990s has paid attention to the micropolitical dimension of emotions, that is, to the ability of emotions to perform, subvert, alter or reinforce macro hierarchical structures in which interactions between individuals take place. Depending on the respective field of encounter, gratitude, sympathy, hope, contempt, humiliation, shame, guilt and disgust can play that role. This panel proposes to intertwine these two themes through papers reflecting on how emotions elicited by the provision or the reception of care, enable a deeper understanding of how the power asymmetries established by those processes are sensed, judged, made use of and/or rejected among the different actors involved.
Susanna Trnka (University of Auckland)
Theodora Lefkaditou (University of the Aegean)