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Edinburgh Centre for Medical Anthropology: News


CFP AAA 2016 - Kinship and Crisis

Discussant: Sandra Bamford (University of Toronto) Panel Organisers: Koreen Reece (UoE) and Lucy Lowe (UoE)

We live in crisis. An economic crisis, a refugee crisis, an environmental crisis, an energy crisis, all underscored by a crisis of faith. We face a crisis of care; we have crisis loans, crisis hotlines, and crisis management. In the discursive proliferation of crisis - political, public health, economic, environmental, religious, personal, or otherwise - the most urgent crises are often framed in terms of their adverse effects upon, or (worse) origination in, the ideally-harmonious family home. And yet our expectations of stability are often closely linked to shared experiences of negotiating misunderstanding, conflict, and crisis with kin.

In what ways might conflict or crisis create and sustain social relations, rather than simply disrupt them? Can the ordinary crises of kinship provide perspective on larger socio-political crises, and vice versa? How do discourses around the nature of crisis shape intervention in the family on the part of the state, the church, the corporation, or the humanitarian organisation - and the family's responses? And finally, what are the methodological and ethical implications of anthropologists' entanglements in the intimacies of crisis, whether in families, organisations, or the lives of informants?

This panel seeks to examine the enduring and yet obscured symbioses of kinship with political, economic, and religious relations - in both their ethnographic and theorised forms. We invite papers that explore these interdependencies specifically through the lens of crisis and conflict, understood as dynamics that may be intrinsic to and constitutive of social relations.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words to Lucy Lowe ( and Koreen Reece ( by no later than 10th of April.

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