Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Society for Cultural Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students, Those Involved in Mentoring Activities
Primary Theme: Ethics
Secondary Theme: Health
This panel is part 2 of a two-part panel on the topic of embodied trust that seeks to untangle how social trust matters through, and emerges in, techniques of the body and various social arrangements. Its uniting question is: What makes a subject, thing, feeling, sensation or thought trustworthy in and across various social contexts? Anthropological scholarship has thoroughly engaged with the social side of trust in various valances: politically-inflected trust in domestic and international arenas (Herdt 2003, Hearn 2016, Kaplan 2014, Masco 2014, Price 2004, Verdery 2014); crime and the legal-political categorization of criminality (Anjaria 2011, Fassin 2011, 2013, 2017, Paoli 2003, Schneider and Schneider 2003); the challenges of trust within the entanglements of healthcare practices (Grimen 2009, Doucet-Battle 2016, Ostherr et al 2017); and the struggles of precarious or marginalized subjects, and others, to advocate for their own trustworthiness (Browne 2015, Daniel and Knudsen 1995, Ticktin 2011). Additionally, questions of trust betrayed have anchored diverse ethnographies of various forms of sociality (Ali 2016, Liisberg 2015). In such cases, anthropologists have come to rich understandings of the contingencies of trust for and within the social order. This panel, however, seeks a more embodied and intimate assessment of the ways that trust is made a salient register through which individual persons and social collectivities take shape. It examines the ways that conceptions of trust mediate connections between embodied knowledge, capacities, and subjectivities. In doing so it aims to expand the literature by asking how trust is individually constructed through particular forms of relationality, while not losing sight of the ways that such forms of embodied trustworthiness still meaningfully alter, and are altered by, social worlds and networks.
Part 2 approaches this topic with a particular engagement with issues around the mind-body complex, as well as the various bodily practices that ground, subvert, or fuel social trust. Presentations cover a wide spectrum of contexts: disability and inclusion Russia, communities of experimental medicine on the Pacific coast of the United States, long-term care in Canada, and two seperate papers on childbirth in Brazil, one considering the status of patient-advocates and applied social sciences in biomedical contexts, and the other on homebirths. In doing so, these papers provide accounts of the ways that trust mediates identities, with all of their complicated consequences. With rich ethnographic detail, presenters demonstrate how doubt figures into practices of care in ways that pathologize and debilitate, how inter-subjective processes of trusting underlie the production and redefinition of knowledges and ‘truths’, and how notions of innocence and purity shape embodied senses of wellness. Together, these papers open up conversations about the ways conceptions, and practices, of the body are construed or interpreted as trustworthy, and in turn the ways in which such conceptions and practices shape the ethical, political, and social.