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: The Political
Secondary Theme: Ethics
This panel is part 1 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 1 approaches this topic with a particular focus on how the circulation, suspension, and loss of trust move other political, economic, and social matters. Presenters review a wide spectrum of contexts--bureaucratic and scientific arrangements in China, postwar political realities in Laos, precarious forms of sociality and kinship in Albania, sciences of interspecies sociality in the Czech Republic and China--thus providing accounts of various forms of sociality and knowledge that sustain different valences of trusting and being entrusted. Providing rich ethnographic detail, presenters demonstrate how epistemic and political coalitions get built on the ruins of hope and trust, how well-awaited political changes bring about unintended erosion of trust and relations that sustain it, how vulnerability and partiality facilitate and break communities and networks, and how all these processes mark their participants’ corporealities and channel their epistemic and ethical efforts. Together, these papers open up conversations about the production of the social through making (un)trusted subjects.