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Critical Reflexivity and Overcoming Dichotomies

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Critical Reflexivity and Overcoming Dichotomies
Peter Larsen, Doris Bacalzo, Patrick Naef, Eda Elif Tibet, Leïla Baracchini, Susie Riva

TSANTSA's special issue "Engaged Anthropology in and beyond Switzerland" aims to shed light on and recognize the full potential of engaged anthropology and its place in academia and beyond. It argues for an inclusive approach to be both theoretically enriching and methodologically grounded in diverse practices and forms. The introduction addresses common confusions and obstacles distracting engaged anthropology from its core premises and potentials. As the Interface Commission of the Swiss Anthropological Association (SEG), we seek to deepen the conversation about how engagement bolsters the discipline to stay relevant and robust, and embark on new paths of theoretical reflection. By "repositioning" engaged anthropology at the heart of contemporary anthropology, we seek to overcome unproductive dichotomies on engagements and practices by embracing critical reflexivity in the process of knowledge production and social action.

Guest editors: Peter Larsen, Doris Bacalzo, Mò Bleeker, Patrick Naef, Eda Elif Tibet, Leïla Baracchini, Susie Riva

Affective Multi Modalities in Third Space
Eda Elif Tibet & Abdi Deeq

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This paper delves into the life stories of three unaccompanied asylum seeking youth residing at a state care shelter in Istanbul in 2015 and 2016. Through its intervention, the re-search follows an engaged anthropological approach to reveal the hidden aspects of the youth’s emotional and intellectual worlds. The in-depth life stories shared here illuminate Homi Bhabha’s Third Space Theory (1994) and are amplified by a methodological approach we call affective multimodalities. As we seek to understand the various ways the youths navigate survival and learning to be freed from institutional categories, we explore a few concepts of Third Space Theory: extraterrestrial territories, paradoxical worlds, afterlife- rebirth, and a displaced angle of vision. Through the practice of a collaborative radio show and photography elicitations, the youth were asked to share their dreams as they were encouraged to realize their potentials. During this co-creative approach, one of the youth even became a co-author of this paper. The ethnographic insights produced through this approach allows us to explore the third space theory with a poetical reflection through words and images.

Retours sur l’exposition Kuru. L’art d’un monde en mutation
Leïla Baracchini, Elodie Gaille et Blaise Mulhauser

This article discusses the collaborative process that led to the conception of the exhibitionKuru. L’art d’un monde en mutation held in 2019 at the Botanical Garden of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. This project, which brought together San Naro artists from Botswana, anthro-pologists and museum professionals, aimed to rethink the museum’s approach to contem-porary San art and to develop more inclusive modes of exhibition. This article documents the strategies of representation of the Self and the Other mobilized in this context and proposes a reflection on the contributions, the stakes and the limits of this collaboration at the intersection of art, anthropology and botany. It highlights the unintended effects, con-stant adaptations, and persistent asymmetries at work in the exchanges, and discusses the value of making sense of these interactional dynamics within the museum space

Claire Vionnet

This paper proposes a reflection on collaboration through dance. Drawing on ten years of fieldwork within the Swiss contemporary dance scene, the author, an anthropologist, dance scholar, and dancer, discusses her ethnographic practice, method, and writing in-spired by collaborative anthropology. The first part of the paper advocates for dance as a practice-based research method, and for auto-ethnography to convey anthropological knowledge in a more accessible way. Research-creation is claimed to particularly suit sen-sorial topics, tending toward symmetrical relationships between anthropologists and fieldwork interlocutors. Drawing on an applied anthropological project using djembe dances for better social cohesion, the second part of the paper shows one possible en-gagement with society through dance practice. Generating intimacy and misconceptions, the project Kunda emphasizes how dance can become a laboratory to learn and negotiate intercultural differences.

A Conversation Grounded in Swiss Experiences
Peter Bille Larsen, Mô Bleeker, Isabel Käser, Esther Leemann, Susan Riva, Raphael Schapira, Yvan Schulz, and Ellen Hertz