AAA Annual Meeting Program

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Paper Information:
Type: Paper
Paper Title: THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF BECOMING
Author: JOAO BIEHL (Princeton University)   
Date/Time: Fri., 10:15 AM
Co-Author(s): JOAO BIEHL (Princeton University) 
Abstract: This paper explores Deleuze’s cartographic (rather than archaeological) approach to subjectivity. In emphasizing the powers and potentials of desire (both creative and destructive), the ways in which social fields ceaselessly leak and transform (power and knowledge notwithstanding), and the in-between, plastic and ever-unfinished nature of a life, Deleuze lends himself to inspiring ethnographic efforts to illuminate the dynamism of the everyday and the literality and singularity of human becomings. Through close attention to people moving through ‘worlds in pieces’ and infrastructures in-the-making, and with careful observation always complicating a priori assumptions, anthropological fieldwork can identify the constellations through which life chances are foreclosed and instantiated. Our attention to becoming can hold philosophers accountable to reality and allow philosophical ideas to have more—or less—currency in conversations about concrete human conditions. The paper asks how anthropologists can dislodge hierarchies of epistemological authority. It argues for an equality of intelligences and calls for novel public and scholarly ways to harness the agonistic conceptual work activated in the field. Both the evidentiary force and theoretical contribution of our discipline might be intimately linked to giving creative form to people’s sense of anticipation and arts of living. Yet this is no straightforward task. Moving away from the over-determined and toward the incomplete is fraught and might require greater professional freedom and bolder experiments in research and writing. These tensions should not paralyze our storytelling, but find expression, so that the reader can grow closer to people.

Program Number: 3-0385
Session Title: DELEUZE AND ANTHROPOLOGY
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)  
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