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ABv Ledendag 24 mei 2013: over macht, bestuur en samenleving

Poster_ABv_ledendag_conferentie_24_mei_2013 Op vrijdag 24 mei van 9-17.30 uur organiseert de Antropologen Beroepsvereniging (ABv) een ledendag over macht, openbaar bestuur en samenleving onder de titel Anthropological Approaches to Governmentality: the State and its Shadows. Deze ééndaagse conferentie is een vervolg op de traditie van twee-jaarlijkse congressen van twee dagen die de ABv tot 2011 organiseerde. Plaats: Allard Pierson Museum, Oude Turfmarkt 127, Amsterdam.

Zeven onderzoekers van verschillende antropologie instituten in Nederland delen recente inzichten uit hun onderzoek en ook drie pas afgestudeerden komen aan het woord over hun Master’s thesis. Om 15.30 uur wordt de dag afgesloten met een lezing door prof. dr Nils Bubandt (Aarhus Universiteit) over Corruption, Spirits and the Democracy-to-Come in Indonesia.

Voertaal is Engels vanwege de buitenlandse sprekers. Voor meer informatie over het programma zie de website van de ABv. Hieronder volgt de Engelse toelichting op het thema:

Govermentality has become a key concept for anthropologists who study the workings of the modern state. Governmentality can be regarded as a thickened conceptualization of governance, extending the analysis of state-institutions to include representations of self and society. Drawing on Foucault’s insights on discipline and knowledge, various authors have investigated how power operates through “techniques” of domination (maps, censuses, surveillance) but also through self?discipline and self?styling (Foucault 1991; Gordon 1991; Lemke 2001).

In past decades, neoliberal ideologies, shifting transnational relations and cross border movements, have put pressure on the ‘traditional’ niches of states. The twin identity of the state – owner of the monopoly on violence and principle caretaker of citizens – has changed drastically over the last thirty years.  A variety of new actors have come to play prominent societal roles, organizing public forms of security, surveillance and redistribution, amongst others. Moreover, both formal institutions and ‘informal’ authorities within civil society have started to engage in state-like performances.

How useful is the concept of governmentality for understanding the current forms of authority? Governmentality suggests oversight and control, but the current economic crisis in the US and Europe has enlarged lingering doubts about what actually can be known and controlled? The shifting relationships between political authority and the financial sector, between public knowledge and control, between credibility and trust require radical rethinking, especially since these shifts regularly tie in with ideas that ‘real power’ is unknowable and uncontrollable by means of the regular institutions. In order to come to terms with these shifts, anthropology requires approaches that reveal the interlacing of governmentality and popular notions of the shadow worlds.

Engaging with the concept of governmentality during this ABv workshop (ledendag) will allow a variety of anthropologists to contribute to a better understanding of the shifts described. The relocation of state-like tasks has stimulated new anthropological approaches to the articulations between legal and illegal institutions, between state and market forces, between political and economic powers, and between public and private actors. Furthermore, prevalent ideas that  ‘real power’ is evasive and unaccountable pose interesting methodological questions. The ABv is very proud to present some of these approaches and methodological challlenges on May 24 and cordially invites ABv members and friends to participate in debate.

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