We invite colleagues to a panel that will focus on the concepts of the common, ordinary and everyday life; how can they be used as analytical tools as we define or track what is "out there"?; what happens, if something is deemed not common at all, or as in the novel above, too common?
In her recently published novel - The Son of Svea - the Swedish author Lena Andersson starts with a scene where one of the main characters, Ragnar, is interviewed by an ethnologist who is about to investigate the history of the Swedish welfare state, known as "Folkhemmet". Ragnar is asked about his everyday routines, not the least his very regular coffee drinking habits, but the ethnologist finds him to common and decides to exclude him from the project. We were somewhat disturbed by the fact that ethnology, which is supposed to be tracking the common, ordinary everyday life, was used to illustrate how cultural sciences distance themselves from the ordinary everyday life. Reading the novel we got a feeling of uneasiness; had ethnologists poured the common, ordinary everyday life into an indefinite pond of consensus?; had these concepts become almost so common or familiar that we forget to reflect upon them?; are we not trying to track the ordinary? We invite colleagues to a panel that will focus on concepts such as common, ordinary and everyday life; how, when and where are they used?; to what extent are they (merely) important performative acts that identify and legitimize ethnology as a discipline?; what happens as these concepts are applied in our research?; how can they be used as analytical tools as we define or track what is "out there"?; what happens, if something is deemed not common at all, or as in the novel above, too common?