The panel captures the everyday practice of differentiated actors, giving room to the ways in which these actors live and forge a future for themselves in and, hence, explores the challenges to cultural analysis posed by the unstable conditions of the local world where they are embedded.
Anthropology in Unstable Places accounts the quotidian practice of differentiated actors in local worlds marked by significant social, political, and religious changes. The local world, following Kleinman (1997), does not only refer to traditional village or neighborhood but also to institutions, transitory communities, and/or transnational networks that cast the contemporary times. The panel is designed to capture interrelated themes, like, agentic narratives, improvisations, reflexivity, identity politics, learning, belief system, and morality. The contributing papers narrate the manner by which engaged actors, differentiated by their struggles, live and forge a future for themselves within the shifting and unstable conditions of the local world where they are embedded. The panel may give room to shared defining characteristics on the basis of the actors' similar social practices, collective ordeals, and values but, at the same time, particularities these actors generate and consider salient given their context. In doing so, the panel explores the challenges to cultural analysis posed by uncertainties and instability, as panel contributors look into the varying cultural resources and social ties that are available, creating both perils and possibilities for their life-chances in their respective local world. By making instability as foundation of cultural analysis, the panel recognizes a number of important theoretical challenges, requiring evaluation of analytical frames and innovating the quality of anthropological scholarship. Few of the concepts needing unsettling are context and agency.