9 November, 2015: João de Pina-Cabral (University of Kent)
Title: Ethnographic cruelty.
15:30-17:00h, Room 1.A12, Pieter de la Court building
'JPC' is Professor of Social Anthropology at the School of Anthropology and Conservation at the University of Kent at Canterbury, UK, and Research Professor at the Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, Portugal. He was president and co-founder of the Portuguese Association of Anthropology and of the European Association of Social Anthropologists.
He has published extensively on matters related to ethnographic theory, kinship and the family, personhood, and ethnicity in post-colonial contexts. He has carried out extensive fieldwork on the Alto Minho in Northwestern Portugal, the Macau in southern China, and the Bahia in northeastern Brazil.
For more information see his website: www.pina-cabral.org
To what extent do ethnographers engage with cruelty, in the sense sociologist Pierre Bourdieu noted when he stated that “the harshest and most cruel analyses are written with the knowledge and an acute awareness of the fact that they apply to he who is writing them”?
There is cruelty in both directions of the ethnographic encounter. The inevitability of this ethnographic cruelty is the main theme of what I will be talking about in this paper. We are all too often led to forget that the cruelty of life is inherently ambivalent, for pain is to be avoided, but without pain there is no life. In this paper, I suggest that cruelty is the main source of creativity in ethnography.