AAA Annual Meeting Program

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Paper Information:
This paper may be of particular interest to:  Practicing and Applied Anthropologists     Students
Type: Paper
Author: ANNELISE RILES (Cornell University)   
Date/Time: Fri., 2:45 PM
Co-Author(s): ANNELISE RILES (Cornell University) 
Abstract: How does theory become the site of fieldwork, and to what ends? The ethnography of legal thought—from day-to-day back-office work in the global financial markets to the towers of legal theory--requires extending the relationality of fieldwork to the exercise of theorization. Borrowing from the techniques of law, as a genre of expertise that works collaterally alongside the market (a move that is necessary in order to remain true to the core ethnographic ethic of relationality and response), I experiment with a kind of collateral knowledge of my own, running alongside, and deploying the moves of various strands of legal theory and practice, albeit from my own very different starting points and toward different ends. The resulting artifact—neither legal theory nor ethnography-- raises a series of challenges. First, what new kinds of discipline, or rigor, are demanded of this kind of project? For example, holding onto the position of moving alongside of, but never collapsing into legal reasoning on the one hand or social scientific contextualizing on the other, demands tremendous self-discipline, and can be a productively alienating methodological experience. Second, how should the artifacts of new ethnography be received, evaluated, critiqued or consumed? What forms of creation, destruction, critique, exchange, or replication would we hope such artifacts might set into motion? What concrete implications are there for such institutional forms as peer review, the monograph, the department, the blog, “interdisciplinarity,” or the public sphere?

Program Number: 3-0635
Session Sponsor: American Ethnological Society
Session Date/Time: Fri., 1:45 PM-3:30 PM
Organizer(s): ABDELLAH HAMMOUDI (Princeton University), JOHN BORNEMAN (Princeton University) 
Chair(s): GEORGE MARCUS (University of California-Irvine)  
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