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Accepted Paper:

Embodied Antifascism: Ethnographical Prudence and Fear as a Part of Method  
Nicolas Petel-Rochette (Université du Québec à Montréal)

Paper short abstract:

What if the category antifascist possibly implied a fascist engagement with otherness? Problematizing the “spectre” metaphor, used by fascism scholars to refer to the radical right sphere, this paper seeks to question the role of the body in anthropological knowledge on fascist practices.

Paper long abstract:

Like many other scholars, I, too, was confronted with fear when engaged for the first time in an ethnographic encounter with Spanish far right supporters. What kind of shift does anthropology ignite when it comes to facing in flesh and blood what is believed to be radical otherness? If we assume that, beyond politics, spectres of fascism are ubiquitous in (post)modern societies, we need to consider the embodied dimension of that (omni)presence. The problem is that we might find out that “their” affective experience of neoliberal, mass societies is not far from “ours”. What if part of that fear was a moral stance (Fassin, 2014), something like a reluctance to acknowledge a certain common condition? Questioning the “spectre” metaphor, broadly borrowed from Marx and Engels by fascism scholars to describe radical right’s phenomenality, this paper’s aim is to discuss the tension between the ethically situatedness of an engaged anthropology and the epistemological need to overthrow simplistic dichotomies. To do so, I explore a methodological approach grounded in my own fear of flesh and blood, gendered fascist practices and bodies. Following Viveiros de Castro’s image of “thought as cannibalism” (2009) and using Bruno Perreau’s concept of “intrasectionality” (2022), this paper will discuss the critical potentialities of some “haunting spectres” when considered as material-cultural agencies. In doing so, I will try to give an example of what happens when fascist metaphors are ethnographically “digested” by the body as a heuristic notion, before being extro-spected into an anthropological counternarrative.

Panel P162b
Can There Be an Antifascist Anthropology? [ANTHROFA Network Panel]
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -