Accepted Paper:

"Because words are not enough". Alternative investigation practices in the study of contemporary body suspensions in Europe.  
Federica Manfredi (University of Torino (Italy))

Paper short abstract:

Based on a fieldwork experimentation during the investigation of body suspensions, this paper focus on the co-participative production of handcrafts as attempt to go beyond words and to enhance the communication between ethnographer and research-participants.

Paper long abstract:

Contemporary anthropology is characterized by several works where anthropologists, artists and curators are traveling into the blurred zone between visual (and not only) arts and anthropology, challenging disciplinary borders and exploring new epistemological paths.

This paper, based on fieldwork data about the co-production of handcrafts by ethnographer and research-partners, aims to propose a reflection about the use of creative practices as investigative tools. In the study of body suspensions, words were perceived as unsatisfactory: a creative laboratory where co-produced pantings, sculptures, drawings and other products, constituted a proposal to improve the oral communication.

Objects became materialization of concepts, spaces of expressions for unquestioned meanings and self-produced references to implement the logo-centric logic. Handcrafts forged relationships characterized by intimacy and reciprocal trust, redistributing the ethnographical power.

Conceiving the fieldwork as a intersubjective process involving aesthetic, senses, cognitive commitment and emotions, the present paper advocates for a consideration of creative practices as ethnographical knowledge, co-produced and invented as oral narrations, but based on colors, touches and smells rather than words.

Acknowledgements: This work is based on the doctoral project "Learning to Fly" (supported as doctoral grant from the Foundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia. SFRH/BD/131914/2017). The research is inserted in the project «EXCEL - The Pursuit of Excellence. Biotechnologies, enhancement and body capital in Portugal», supported by the Foundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) - grant agreement nº PTDC/SOC-ANT/30572/2017 - coordinated at the Instituto de Ciências Sociais da Universidade de Lisboa by PI Chiara Pussetti.

Panel P05b
The crisis of communication
  Session 1