Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Society for Cultural Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists
Primary Theme: Human rights
Secondary Theme: Identity and Equity
A great deal has been written about the privations and dispossession of people exiled by various causes from their homes and prior lives. Generally the bereavement suffered has been treated as if singular in constitution, but in actuality, a number of distinct facets make up its disposition. Incorporated are at least three vectors of pain: past, home, and place. This panel aims to problematize the concepts of “loss” and “displacement” as experienced through disaster, conflict, and other disrupting and dislodging crises. We understand “loss” both in its psychological reading as a form of mourning, melancholia, nostalgia, sadness, trauma, and depression, and, as a contested set of relations and structures of feeling set within a social-scientific frame and consequent to historical, economic, and socio-political processes. In order to examine the impact of losses suffered, the panel crosses over a number of what are usually treated as diverse concerns: disaster survivors, conflict refugees, the increasing number of climate exiles, and groups forcibly extracted from their milieus. Explored will be the nuanced intricacy of heartbreak in order to illuminate and potentially allow for mediation of it. Covered will be loss of cultural and physical surroundings, quotidian habit and sphere, legacy and expectation, and perceptual ambience. The past is implicated within the despair, but so are the present and the future, all at times articulated as both utopia and distopia.