dinsdag 21 februari 2012

Attending to appreciations

Appreciations are everywhere. Diners enjoy a tasty dish in the restaurant, readers love a book at night times, and commuters stop their hasty pace to listen to a string quartet playing in the underground corridors of the subway network. But how to think of such moments of appreciation? How to write about them? These were the challenges we faced during our last walking seminar to the sea where snow, sand and water variously lay upon each other.

Before this walking seminar Annemarie had sent around a brand new not yet published (or reviewed!) article with the title: Is het lekker? Articulating appreciation. The paper itself concentrates on the issue of articulating appreciation. Its main concern is with relations between ‘language’ and ‘bodies’. It has been written for a special issue of Theory, Culture & Society with the title Social theory after Strathern. Engaging with the work of Marilyn Strathern, the article demonstrates how tracing a term (here: lekker) may be a way to link up sites and situations without seeking a ‘structure’ beneath them. It also plays with what it is to write in one language (here English) about field work done in another (here Dutch).

During the discussion in the morning and the walk in the afternoon we talked about the article a little bit. But we mainly used it as a good occasion to think about the relevance of “appreciations” in our own varied research projects and, from this, develop a lot of new questions that arise from attending to appreciations in practice.

1 opmerking:

  1. What a wonderful picture! It reminds me of a place at the English west coast which in the past decades did not get much appreciation at all. It's called "Morecambe" and used to be a thriving seaside resort in the 20ies. I am not sure, but I think that the whole tourism industry somehow declined because of a lack of appreciation practices. Two years ago, when I was a visiting student in Lancaster, I fell in love with this place. And whenever I expressed appreciation for it I usually encountered strong resistance among my audience. Coined by social decline and poverty this place is entangled in so many depreciation practices that it seemed to be difficult to actually co-perform appreciation.

    It is interesting how the luxury Midland hotel, which is located in a grand hotel building from the 20ies, now became a place of hope for Midlands economic future. Maybe it works because it revives a performance of appreciation from the past, co-invoking a sort of nostalgia. Apart from promenading on the newly renovated seaside promenade, the lekker dinners on the hotel's terrace is probably one of the ways in how this nostalgic appreciation of place can be done. But whom does this sort of appreciation serve? Can it become an appreciation for a just, economically and socially sustainable Morecambe? Or will it be an appreciation for a place which is detached from the social and economic problems of this city? I don't know. But I would hope for an appreciation which is not limited to the beautiful sunsets and the lovely beaches but includes the city and its unique inhabitants.

    Sorry for being so long and off topic but this image just triggered theses thoughts... Let me just add one more thought with respect to the language politics of research accounts. In my phd I ended up with an ethnographic description in German and an English subtext which tried to relate my empirical research to wider academic discourses, exactly because of the difficulty to translate the one into the other. Annemarie Mol's body multiple provided an aesthetic framework for how the two parts could be set into relation.

    Here I stop. All the best from St. Gallen, C.