Silences mortels – AAA Seattle 2022

Du 9 au 13 novembre 2022 s’est tenu à Seattle (USA) le congrès annuel de l’American Anthropological Association sur une thématique aussi intrigante dans son titre – Unsettling Landscapes – que riche dans ses implications intellectuelles. Dans ce cadre, Deborah Puccio-Den et Kriti Kapila, membres de l’ EIT “Arts et Intelligences du Silence” ont organisé une table ronde sur les “silences mortels” reprenant pour cette rencontre le sujet du séminaire que les deux chercheuses animeront à l’EHESS en juin 2023. Présentation de la table ronde, en attendant ce rendez-vous auquel participeront également les membres de l’EIT présents à Paris à la fin de l’année universitaire.

This panel explores the relationality summoned in and through absence in a variety of ethnographic settings. This absence is a signature of the political broadly understood, where it stands in for an exercise of power. The presentations make a departure from dominant forms of ethnographic inquiry of the political, most of which focus on subjectivity (eg. citizenship, migrants, etc), political wholes (nation-state, political parties) and forms of presence (modes of being in the world, ontologies). This panel throws open the inquiry via what Navaro (2020) has called “negative methodology” and excavates not subjectivity but modes of relationality engendered by the absence when “it emerges as a political reality”. Our ethnographic objects are a series of figurations of absence. Puccio-Den examines the silence required for making tangible the absence in the Sicilian mafiosi’s deadly practices. Susser focuses on the silence allowing the shaping of political links among the gilets-jaunes in France. White discusses the reconfigurations of reciprocity when ancestral silence in the face of Zulu sacrificial speech is read as refusal of pragmatic reciprocities. Perret goes into the refusal of the reciprocity of communication in autism exploring the possibility to structure a milieu in the absence of words. Kapila probes the excess generated by disappearance and dispossession as sovereignty-making practices of the digital state in India. Absence is both the object of our analysis and of our unsettling questioning on the conditions of our research practice and methods beyond evidence. We thus attempt to make visible the conceptual terrain in which the relationality of absence can be studied and explore the potential for a new political anthropology.

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