Accepted paper:

Hybridity and contact-zones as a hope for a cosmopolitan anthropology


Michal Buchowski (Adam Mickiewicz University)

Paper short abstract:

Notions such as center and peripherycan be used in description of the inequalities in knowledge production and reproduction of hierarchies of knowledge in anthropology. Can existing disparities be diverted? Can anthropology be transformed from a panoptical structure to a multi-centred discipline?

Paper long abstract:

Creating a decentralised and fair system of locally generated anthropological and ethnological knowledge is a big challenge for anthropology in a globalised world. The disparities in various forms of capital engender ossified hierarchies of nationally and regionally identifiable scholarships. The configurations of influential vs. insignificant, i.e. hegemonic vs. dominated scholarly traditions, which have been entrenched for decades, tend to recreate themselves. Anthropologists are proud of being critical of/about the existing social, economic and cultural inequalities, and of being morally sensitive to any form of discrimination; they perceive themselves as critics of injustice and advocates of solidarity. Simultaneously, they rarely reflect on the established order as well as the economic and societal structures that contribute to the perpetuation of these intra-disciplinary inequities. The latter hinder or even stop the desired flow of anthropological experiences and insights that could lead to the emergence of a truly cosmopolitan and, at the same time, locally informed knowledge. These phenomena need to be mapped, diagnosed and critically analysed. By using specific examples of intricate relations between regional and national anthropological scholarships, the paper traces? some developments, such as growing hybridity and the rise of contact zones, which can be treated as symptoms of the growing cross-fertilisation of anthropological wisdom.

panel G55
World Anthropologies Today