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Call for papers for NAF 2021

Members of the EmergentCommunity team are organising a panel in the Norwegian Anthropology Annual Conference, held on 25-26 November 2021. The title of the panel is ’Coexistence, conflict, and complexity: ethnographies of social and political change in urban communities’. The call for abstracts is now open and ends on August 6th.

The description of the panel is as follows:

Largely shaped by neoliberal policies that intensify inequalities, cities are becoming the sites of increasingly polarized battles on growing income disparities, segregation and cultural differences related to immigration, the place of religion in the society, or national identities. These tensions disrupt the social and political fabric calling into question what living together means. This panel seeks to understand how people move through, exist in, and make sense of difference and complexity in the urban everyday.

Anthropological examinations discuss communities and their dynamics mostly through cultural identity. Growing complexity in urban settings is generally addressed against the backdrop of ethnic, linguistic religious, cultural or other group-based attributes. Even the notion of hybridity, despite its contribution to the study of complexifying identities, remains ontologically connected to a group-based understanding of the social as it essentially supposes “an anterior pure”. Anthropological insights into diversity, in turn, have largely revolved around the concept of citizenship, illuminating how regimes of citizenship translate into dynamics of inclusion and exclusion. This has normalized the nation-state as an entity of reference in discussions around community.

This panel wishes to engage with the affective and emotional experience of living with, in, and through diversity in its complexity. How can we think of community beyond the state, society or group-based accounts? We propose adopting not a cultural, but an existential perspective to belonging to grasp its personal and interpersonal, as well as affective and embodied modes. Furthermore, to understand the heterogeneous and changing nature of human lives, we suggest moving from a communal, consensus-based understanding of living towards a relational and dissensual understanding of coexistence. This double inflection makes it possible to rethink community through emergence, understood as ever-coming-into-being temporary negotiations that make coexistence possible amidst differences, tensions, and conflicts.

We invite ethnographic, participatory and experimental explorations that engage with these or related questions and think of communities as fundamentally fluid, emergent constructions in urban contexts. The presentations can explore, for instance:

  • How social divisions emerge and develop, and how people and places stick together
  • How local arrangements that enable coexistence amidst complex, polarized fault lines emerge in the urban everyday
  • How often-temporary negotiated settlements reshape our understanding of a community in contemporary cities
  • What methodologies are suited to study emergent forms of coexistence and division
  • What sort of conceptual challenges the complexity of everyday life presents to research that seeks to understand processes of affective, political and social polarization

For further details and instructions, see https://www.uib.no/…/norwegian-anthropological-association…