Anthropology and/as mediation(s)
CREOLE Intensive Program / SENSOTRA Seminar, Lyon, 23rd-30th June 2019
1/ Main topic: Anthropology and/as mediation(s)
Although it is not a very common concept in anthropology, the term “mediation” allows us to explore different practical and theoretical dimensions in contemporary anthropology. In its common utterances, mediation may be defined as “translation”, “negotiation”, “intervention”, “interpretation”, “diffusion”, etc. We propose to question the notion of mediation and mediations in anthropology around four main and complementary strands:
Mediations, ethnography, fieldwork
The notion of mediation first questions the different kinds of interactions and relationships that anthropologists develop during their fieldwork and more broadly the research process. As ethnography itself is frequently conceived as dialogue and interlocution, it implies a reflection on fieldwork as a situation of communication (verbal as well as non-verbal), also including misunderstandings and asymmetries, narrations and translations, cross and pluricultural dimensions, etc. The “augmented” dimensions of social life (internet, digital practices, social networks, etc.) question the multiple mediations through which anthropologists construct and interact with plural and multi-layered fieldworks.
Mediations, media, creation
The mobilization of diverse media (film, sound, drawing, etc.) in the making and displaying of anthropological research provides a first way to apprehend mediation in terms of producing and sharing knowledge. It covers a wide scope of practices and intentions, from the use of different “documents” (images, sounds, etc.) as a part of the ethnographical work, to the more or less wide public exposure of anthropological works and productions. Beyond the frequent use of visual and sound items, this call for a wider range of media suggests that aesthetic and artistic expressions (choreographic, drama, fieldwork as scene, etc.) have to be taken into account, hence tackling the usual distinctions between science and art, or research and creation.
Mediations, senses, perceptions and actions.
Sensory anthropology and preoccupations on the notions of environment, ambiance or experience as perceptual and relational situations, help at renewing our conceptions of inhabiting and acting in the world and with others, humans as well as non humans. It leads us to apprehend life in general as a continuous making through experiences, symbolic and social as well as cognitive and embodied. As already pointed out, the multisensory dimension of the research experience is not only visual and phonic, but can also concern tactile, gustative or olfactory ways of making (and disseminating) research. “Sensing the world” questions the classical and artificial boundaries between subjects and objects, making and thinking.
Mediating, cooperating, translating.
Anthropology is not a homogeneous and isolated discipline, but takes the shape of plural perspectives, ways of doing and communicating research. In that sense, Mediation concerns cooperation and intervention with and among different social and professional worlds, partners and makers (artistic, cultural, and potentially in all fields of research: urban studies, health, development, environment, etc.). Another dimension of mediation addresses a trans-and pluridisciplinary vision of anthropology in its relationships with other sciences and modes of investigation. We may thus address coproduced and collaborative research processes and “writings” in a broad sense, restitution of,and feedback on,anthropological results, politically engaged forms of making science, etc. as different issues of amediation of anthropology.
This year’s theme “Anthropology and/as mediation(s)” will therefore allow us to reflect and discuss collectively on different anthropological issues, through seminar sessions and practical experiences. It will also offer us the opportunity to underline the importance of CREOLE for the anthropology department and the University Lumière-Lyon2.
2/ General organization
We are expecting 28 students from all 8 universities and around 10 staff members from the partner universities
- University Lumière-Lyon 2, Campus Berges du Rhône (24th-26thJune)
- Musée Gadagne - Lyon History Museum (27th-29thJune) (1 Place du Petit Collège, 69005 Lyon)