Accepted Paper:

The heart and the work of the heart: The 'discovery' of an-other inside  
Tomi Bartole (ZRC SAZU)

Paper short abstract:

The recent focus on Christianity made the 'discovery' of a person's inside that has impinged upon the prospect of relational analytics in anthropology. My ethnography attends to the insideness by presenting ethnographic vignettes of the twofold conception that Awim people (Sepik) have of themselves.

Paper long abstract:

The recent focus in anthropology on Christianity has put into doubt the adequacy of relational analytics. The transcendence of God and the experiences of conversion have brought about, Robbins claims, an interruption of relations. Robbins' own response is a schism between the individual and the relational person, while Mosko, on the other hand, argues for an inward and unaffected extension of relationality. Further, Holbraad and Pedersen, who took transformation (through conversion) seriously, propose to attend to the qualitative transformation of relations. The framework of the current panel, however, allows to reformulate the terms of the debate and recast the above propositions as: Christians do not contain relations; Christians invariably contain relations; and Christians contain qualitatively different relations. Thus articulated, the debate, also dubbed post-relational, amounts to a 'discovery' of an-other inside. My ethnography of the Awim people (Sepik) offers an approach that attends to the inside by evincing a twofold conception of the person. In Awim every person has a heart (manga) that metamorphoses from fruit to seed and from seed to fruit, engendering a container. But when the heart is made verb - mangananm or 'the work of the heart', this is evinced as the continuing constitution anew of a spiral-form that elicits haptic qualities rather than visual ones (concealment/elicitation) associated with the container-form. The work of the heart is materially effective thoughts that revolve around existential concerns with life itself, thus eliciting an inside dissimilar from the container-heart that is associated with social action.

Panel P085
Containers / Containment