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Indifference as a virtue of social and academic practice 
Gil Hizi (Goethe University Frankfurt)
Maria Nolan (SOAS University of London)
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Ronald Stade (Malmö University)
Thursday 18 July, -
Time zone: Europe/Madrid
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Short Abstract:

Against the requirement for entrepreneurial innovation and hyper-engagement in both academic work and social life, this panel examines indifference as a cultivated virtue that can undercut market apparatuses, impede the circulation of oppressive discourses, and foster viable communal life.

Long Abstract:

Anthropologists in recent years have been encouraged to respond to “pressing global challenges,” enhance their impact beyond academic circles, and thoroughly revise the principles of our discipline—all tasks that demand enhanced cognitive and emotional proactivity. Along with the obvious benefits of this approach, this ideal of hyper-engagement tends to overlap with entrepreneurial capitalist regimes that are at the heart of many of the problems that we address. Hyper-engagement, for example, fuels the value generation of online corporations, increases travel and consumption, and, moreover, may induce a sense of precarious lack and the imperative of constant “innovation.” Against this backdrop, this panel examines moderated engagement and indifference as possible alternatives. We seek contributions that attend to indifference not as a helpless withdrawal, but rather as a cultivated virtue through which people may seek to undercut market apparatuses, impede the circulation of oppressive discourses, and/or foster viable communal life. Indifference may manifest in moments of “flat affect” that resist conventional protocols for specific actions (Berlant 2015, Ngai 2005), in expressions of mutual trust (Amit 2020), and in attempts to prioritize longstanding and meaningful realities over impulsive inputs (Zizek 2002). The contributors may either describe emic approaches that promote indifference or discuss aspects of indifference in the anthropological research vis-à-vis our topics of research. We also welcome attention to the questions about the limits to indifference and the ethical risks at play in various circumstances.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 18 July, 2024, -