"Fake it 'till you make it": anthropological explorations of 'falsity' in times of rapid social transformation
Deana Jovanovic (Utrecht University )
Phaedra Douzina-Bakalaki (University of Helsinki)
Economy and Work
Aula 3
Wednesday 17 April, 9:00-10:45, 11:15-13:00 (UTC+0)

Short abstract:

The panel ethnographically explores the practices that blur boundaries between 'falsity' and 'truth' and practices of pretence, deception, camouflage, and counterfeit in relation to economic crisis and austerity, welfare withdrawal, deregulation of labour, moral economy, ethics, and hope.

Long abstract:

Processes of rapid social transformation, ranging from austerity and privatisation to turmoil and displacement, are often represented in terms of a radical break that distinguishes between past and present. For many people the certainties, assurances, and affirmations of the past have become unsettled and given rise to experiences of insecurity, precarity, and grievance. This panel hopes to complicate dualist narratives, and to explore the nuances that operate in people's attempts to align continuity and rupture, presence and absence, that which was and no longer is. To this end, we propose to focus on the multifarious practices that blur boundaries between 'falsity' and 'truth', and which serve to critique, modify, or subvert the constellations within which they unfold.

We understand 'falsity' to be an open-ended concept and we approach pretence, deception, camouflage, and counterfeit as necessary conditions that make life, 'things', social relations, belonging, and hope possible. Moreover, we call attention to practices of faking, pretending, mimicking, simulating, and parodising, and we problematise their (im)moral, (dis)enchanting, affective, paradoxical, and ambivalent implications. Finally, we inquire the fabrication, reproduction, but also subversion of 'falsity' and 'truth' or 'reality', and we attend to the creative labour that goes into their (un)making.

We invite papers that engage these questions ethnographically, in relation (but not restricted) to economic crisis and austerity, state restructuring and welfare withdrawal, labour and processes of deregulation, materiality and decay, moral economy and ethics, and temporality and hope.