Mat02
Repairing the periphery

Convenors:
Patrick Laviolette (New Europe College / UCL)
Francisco Martinez (University of Leicester)
Discussant:
Adam Drazin (University College London)
Stream:
Material culture and museums
Location:
VG 2.103
Start time:
29 March, 2017 at 8:30
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

What is gained from studying repair? This panel deals with how repair influences contemporary social processes in Europe's peripheries by considering it through individual experience, in the context of the societies it produces, attentive to political, infrastructural and world-making links.

Long abstract:

Repair is more than a technique; it also entails responsibility, care and expectations about the future. It brings to light coping mechanisms, temporal regimes, the correspondence between small scale materiality and the pace of social change as well as the transmissions occurring between material objects and social actors. Repair practices enact both vulnerabilities and actual needs, simultaneously reproducing and altering conditions of possibility. A distinct tacit knowledge emerges through repair. Such embodied practice is ingrained within experience change and highlights the rather invisible relationships between order/disorder. A focus on 'peripheral repairing' gives voice to the subaltern, framing periphery beyond exclusively spatial considerations. This locates repair at the margins of dominant paradigms. Key ideas: - To conserve anthropologically is more progressive than iconoclasm. - Recovering past things is a common symbolic instrument used in negotiating belonging and adapting to changes (repair domesticates broader socio-transformations). - Material objects and human security are in relationship: the reluctance to dispose of material possessions is deeply rooted. - Practices of repair and maintenance are vantage sites from which to study different cultures of possession and alternative processes of organizing contemporary societies. - Repair practices help to cope with the non-linearity of social life by attaching values of care to things, reconciling different generations and helping community synchronisation. - The experience of repair entails a capacity for reconciliation, sharing features with ethical and political decisions as well as affective attachment. - Repair involves subtle shifts in the spatial, temporal, scalar, and material processes which together help constitute social transformations.