In this panel, we aim at engaging in constructive new thinking by understanding how anthropological investigations may impact and spark debate within the European public sphere, inspiring policy makers, faith communities, and media representatives.
D. Chatty recently stated that while the 20th century has been called the 'century of the refugee', the 21st century looks set to become known as the 'century of displacement and dispossession'. Postcolonial heritage fuelling conflicts in the global South tints much of this displacement and dispossession. However, much of it has also been caused by new wars in the global South involving the global North. Recent ongoing wars in Yemen, Libya, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and increasing political, religious, and ethnic clashes and refugee catastrophes from the Middle East to Europe, signal radical geopolitical change. How should anthropologists and their professional associations relate to such changes? Should we remain "aloof from" or actively engage in the "great issues of our times" (Fried, Harris, and Murphy 1967:ix)? As regional specialists and social theorists, anthropologists have both moral and professional concerns for the effects of war. Anthropology then, with its emphasis on lived experience, is currently facing a dilemma: on the one hand we must collect and interpret critical data, while on the other hand ethnographic research is both difficult and sensitive. Bold yet comprehensive positioning is thus critical, given our ethical responsibility to contribute to the understanding and resolution of such complex problems. In this panel, we aim at engaging in constructive new thinking by understanding how such anthropological investigations may impact and spark debate within the European public sphere, inspiring policy makers, faith communities, and media representatives.