An Anthropology of the State?
Venue: Main meeting room, CMI, Fantoftvegen 38
This half-day seminar and lunch aims to use presentations and conversations between two acclaimed scholars in the field of political anthropology to start an open discussion focused on the broad theme An Anthropology of the State?.
Knut Nustad, together with Krohn-Hansen, has recently contributed and edited State Formation: Anthropological Perspectives, a book that asks what the State is and how can we best study the State?
Contributors study the State from the inside and argue that the State is never a completely formed and clearly defined institution, but should rather be understood as in constant change and from the perspective of different social positions. In States of Imagination: Ethnographic Explorations of the Postcolonial State Finn Stepputat, with Blom Hansen, focuses on the micro-politics of everyday state-making and examine the mythologies, paradoxes, and inconsistencies of the state through ethnographies of diverse postcolonial practices. States of Imagination demonstrates through ethnography that the authority of the state is constantly challenged from the local as well as the global and how growing demands to confer rights and recognition to ever more citizens, organizations, and institutions reveal a persistent myth of the state as a source of social order and an embodiment of popular sovereignty.
In this seminar Nustad and Stepputat, employed in institutions that cross the divide between academia and practice-oriented research revisit these ideas and discuss with us their understanding of the basis and wider public significance of this now well-established field of enquiry within anthropology.