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[Xmca-l] CFP: SfAA 2015: Why do Social and Environmental Problems Persist? Critical Perspectives on Ritual, Practice, and Cognition

Hello all, 

We are looking for one more paper for our panel on Ritual at the SfAA 2015 (Pittsburg). 

Any takers?



Samuel Veissière, PhD
Visiting Professor | Transcultural Psychiatry, Cognitive Science, & Anthropology
Department of Psychiatry | Department of Anthropology | McGill University
1033 Pine Avenue West - Room 103 |Montreal, Quebec | H3A 1Y1
Tel: (514) 506-7094 | Fax: (514) 375-2498
Email: samuel.veissiere@mcgill.ca

SfAA 2015: Why do Social and Environmental Problems Persist? Critical Perspectives on Ritual, Practice, and Cognition
In this panel, we engage with Bourdieu’s notion of practice and habitus to theorize persisting social and environmental problems as “neither the exclusive product of free will nor of underlying principles, but [as] actively constructed from social actors from cultural dispositions and structured by previous events” (Bourdieu, 2012).  Problems like racism, xenophobia, environmental degradation, or unwillingness to address individual and collective responsibilities in the crisis of the Anthropocene, as such, can be theorized as “institutional facts”. They are, in John Searle’s (2001) terms, beliefs and practices, which, like money, marriages or nation states, only exist because we implicitly agree to believe in them and reenact them through practice.
 Could it be, as Boyer & Liénard (2006) suggested in their re-reading of Rappaport’s (1979) ‘obvious aspects of ritual’, that collective behaviour is driven by a phylogenetically evolved propensity for compulsion, rigidity, redundancy, and reiteration, regardless of the ‘content’ of belief and action? Are social and environmental problems forms of ritual? Doxa? Do they stem from reflective beliefs that become intuitive?
We seek ethnographically or experimentally grounded case studies that critically discuss how such abstractions as “power”, “discourse”, "ideology" or “collective representations” that are usually theorized as causal variables in socio-environmental problems are enacted by ordinary people through ordinary action. We are particularly interested in papers that discuss how problematic forms of action are learned implicitly and imitatively through infra-linguistic, minimally representational cues. Only by addressing this learning process, we argue, can we work toward resignification and social change from the ground up.
Works cited:
Bourdieu, Pierre- “An Anthropology of Practice,” in ed. Jerry D. Moore, Visions of Culture: an Introduction to Anthropological Theories and Theorists. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press, 2012. pp. 325-342
Liénard, Pierre & Pascal Boyer, “Whence Collective Rituals? A Cultural Selection Model of Ritualized Behavior.” American Anthropologist, 108(4): 2006. pp. 814-827
Rappaport, Roy A. Ecology, Meaning and Religion. 1979. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books
Searle, John,  “Chapter Two: Creating Institutional Facts,” in The Construction of Social Reality. New York: Free Press, 1995. pp. 31-57
Panel organizers:  Samuel Veissière (McGill) and Frank Muttenzer (McGill/Luzern)
·Frank Muttenzer (McGill/Luzern) - How ritual contributes to the creation and persistence of ideology:  the case of Vezo foragers and coastal reef degradation in southwest Madagascar
Samuel Veissière (McGill).  Kids and Kinds in Mind and Culture: Racism and Sexism as Enskillment
Monika Barbe (Mcgill) . Learning Race, Class, and Gender in a Peruvian Household

Melissa Maldonado-Salcedo (CUNY), The (Narcissistic) Mother of the Nation wears Black: Cristina Kirchner and Argentina’s “problem” with ambivalent Sexism