AAA Annual Meeting Program

AAA Annual Meeting Program Details

View Session Details
Paper Information:
This paper may be of particular interest to:  Students
Type: Paper
Author: BHRIGUPATI SINGH (Harvard University)   
Date/Time: Fri., 10:30 AM
Co-Author(s): BHRIGUPATI SINGH (Harvard University) 
Abstract: How do rival philosophical stakes translate into anthropology, not only in textual expression, but in the ethnographic process itself? In this paper I consider my allegiance to Gilles Deleuze and how this affects my ethnographic work on popular Hinduism, and modes of conflict, relatedness and material and spiritual aspiration among neighboring social groups of the rural poor in central India. I analyze my philosophical allegiance through the Deleuzian categories of concepts, percepts and affects. At the level of concepts I point to Deleuze’s consistent antagonism with dialectics and philosophical dualism. I draw out ‘non-dialectical’ modes of thinking about power and inequality, as ‘agonistics’ rather than domination/resistance, and about aspiration as ‘becoming’ rather than imitation or recognition. I gesture to the importance of Deleuze’s ‘non-dualist’ conception of life for the study of popular Hinduism as distinct say from a Weberian anthropology of religion.

At the level of percepts and affects, taking ethnography to be a mode of heightened attentiveness to the world, I ask what kinds of data we are attentive to, as an expression of our philosophical allegiances. I provide illustrations of the kinds of ethnographic material Deleuze prompted me towards that I might have glossed over had I depicted the rural poor, for instance, as ‘bare life’. If philosophy expresses differing affective sensibilities and conceptual orientations to life, I ask what constitutes ethnographic rigor, and if any ‘objectivity’ stands independent of our conceptual/affective allegiances, and if there is an anthropological thought that is ‘non-aligned’ to determinate philosophical antagonisms.

Program Number: 3-0385
Session Sponsor: Society for Cultural Anthropology
Session Date/Time: Fri., 10:15 AM-12:00 PM
Organizer(s): BHRIGUPATI SINGH (Harvard University), PETER LOCKE (Princeton University), STUART MCLEAN (University of Minnesota) 
Chair(s): JOAO BIEHL (Princeton University)  
View Session Details


If you have any questions about the program, please contact the AAA Meetings Department at