[URBANTH-L] Society for the Anthropology of North America CFP: Anthropological Research for Social Movements

Sarah Horton hortonsarah at msn.com
Wed Dec 13 14:11:48 EST 2006

This is a session I’d like to do for both the SANA spring meeting in New Orleans (Apr 19-21, 2007); and also to submit to next year’s American Anthropology Association meetings as a possible presidential session. Please email me (address below) asap if you’d like to give a paper in one or both because both deadlines are Jan 15.
Session Proposal: Anthropological research for social movements: 
Developing a research agenda
Organizer: Karen Brodkin (UCLA): kbrodkin at anthro.ucla.edu
Session Abstract: Many anthropologists are supportive of the global upsurge of progressive and left social justice movements. But both the movements and those of us who study them are fragmented. Activists in one place have neither the time nor the connection to kindred movements in other places. A similar fragmentation exists among social movement researchers. This session hopes to begin the process of developing a collaborative research agenda among anthropologists and kindred others conducting research with and about these movements. Many anthropologists are already working with social movements one or another way, from active participation to advocacy and research. The project of building a collaborative research agenda is one way of creating an intellectual network across the existing separations. Such a network can also foster collaboration among anthropologists and activists in analyzing, sharing lessons and funds of experience across movements.
            This session will share our funds of experience and thinking about larger research efforts by anthropologists. Its focus is on developing a specifically ethnographic and participatory research agenda. Ethnography here is a gloss for all collaborative and interactive the ways that anthropologists try to create new knowledge and insights. An agenda for such ethnographic research could attend to:
1) Big questions that all social movements confront: 
Who are its varied subjects and what does it take to engage their participation? 
What works and what doesn’t in terms of making change, engaging new constituencies? What are the big goals and visions of the movement? 
2) Concrete ways specific movements encounter, address, and analyze these mega-questions:
What funds of experience exist among progressive groups reaching and organizing non-traditional left constituencies? 
What specific communicative barriers have a group faced, and how have they addressed or overcome them?
What kinds of questions do the activist groups we work with have that are research questions on things they can't already study better themselves? 
3) Ways research can make known knowledge and funds of experience that are common sense within one movement that may be a new insight in another.
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