WORLD ANTHROPOLOGICAL UNION

CONGRESS 2024​

SELECTED PANEL

( pn34 )

Ethics in the decolonial moment

Organizers

    Fiona C. Ross

    South Africa

    University of Cape Town

    Face to Face/ On Site - Presence

    Nayanika Mookherjee

    United Kingdom

    ASA

    Face to Face/ On Site - Presence

    Clara Saraiva

    Portugal

    Institute for the Social Sciences (ICS) University of Lisbon

    Face to Face/ On Site - Presence

WCAA Affiliation: WCAA Ethics Task Force

IUAES Affiliation: Theoretical Anthropology

Keywords:

ethics, anthropology, decolonial, care, norms

Abstract:

Both the Ethics of Anthropology and the Anthropology of Ethics open themselves to scrutiny in the face of the ongoing erosions of possibility that characterise climate change, extractive capitalism, violence and unequal systems of knowledge production. Decolonial scholarship invites us to interrogate the basic conceptual apparatus that underpins ideas about anthropology’s characteristic research method and the ethical self-positioning that it purports. Drawing impetus from old critiques of practice and decolonial scholarship, we are interested in understanding how (whether?) scholars engage with their disciplinary codes and what new problems arise in the contemporary moment. At this moment it is also important to pose what are the convergences and disjunctions between the ethics of anthropology and anthropology of ethics. How do we think of everyday ethics, ordinary ethics within the ethics of anthropology and what truly is a decolonial framework within it rather than a ‘tick-boxed’ decoloniality? When will we include varied texts of non-European contexts to talk about philosophy and social theory within anthropology without first turning to Kant and Hegel and the binary of the unsaid universal and the evoked local? What does decoloniality look like within the remits of anthropology of ethics? We invite papers that reflect on the possibilities of ethnographically-grounded ethical concepts that speak to the relations of anthropology’s ethics and the ethics of anthropology. We are interested in papers that grapple with existing codes of ethics and propose new ways to think about how to conduct research ethically in a super-charged environment. Papers will reflect critically on taken-for-granted ideas such as non-payment of participants, disciplinary positions and postures (e.g. reflexivity?), the question of how histories of extraction enter research relations, the problem of attention. In what ways do recent debates about decoloniality shape, shadow, enable or reframe how we might think the relation 'anthropology-ethics'? How can everyday acts of care within ethnographic settings be theorised through the understandings of ethics of anthropology and anthropology of ethics? What is the role of values, of what is good and right, what are normative structures and resistance to such norms within this framework of ethics?