What Kind of Being Is Anthrōpos? The Anthropology of the Contemporary. Paul Rabinow in Conversation With Reiner Keller

Keywords: anthropology, present, contemporary, Dewey, Foucault, Weber, experimentation, biotech, science studies, collaboration, enlightenment


American Anthropologist Paul RABINOW, known worldwide for his work on French philosopher Michel FOUCAULT as well as for his theoretical, conceptual and empirical work on emerging biosociality, has recently developed an anthropology of the contemporary that conceives of anthropology as a practice of studying how current relations of knowledge, thought, and care are given form within shifting relations of power. He argues that currently the dominant knowledge production practices, institutions, and venues for understanding things human in the 21st century are inadequate institutionally and epistemologically. In response, he has designed modes of experimentation and collaboration consisting in focused conceptual work and the exploration of new forms of case-based inquiry. The challenge is to produce knowledge in such a way that the work enhances us ethically, scientifically, politically, and ontologically. What concepts, venues, and forms are most pertinent for building a reflective relation to the present? The following interview invites to reflect on the "demands of the day" in current anthropological and social sciences research.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1601199


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Author Biographies

Paul Rabinow, University of California

Paul RABINOW is currently professor of anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley where he has taught since 1978. His research interests include cultural anthropology, philosophy of human and life sciences, modernity, the contemporary; France. The equipment for such inquiry is presented at http://www.bios-technika.net/. Ongoing work may be found online at: ARC | Athropology of the Contemporary Research Collaboratory and Lacuna Stories The Contemporary. Amongst his publications are "Modes of Uncertainty: Anthropological Cases," edited with Limor SAMIMIAN-DARASH, University of Chicago Press, 2015; "Designs on the Contemporary, Anthopological Tests" (with Anthony STAVRIANAKIS), University of Chicago Press, 2014; "Designing Human Practices: An Experiment with Synthetic Biology" (with Gaymon BENNETT), University of Chicago Press, 2012; "Reflections on Fieldwork in Morocco," 30th anniversary ed. with a new preface, University of California Press, 2007; "A Machine to Make a Future: Biotech Chronicles," with Talia DAN-COHEN, 2nd rev. ed., Princeton University Press, 2006 [2004]; "The Essential Foucault" (with Nikolas ROSE), The New Press, 2003; "French Modern: Norms and Forms of the Social Environment," MIT Press, 1989 (University of Chicago Press, 1995, French, 2004); "Michel Foucault, Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics" (with Hubert DREYFUS), University of Chicago Press, 1983 (2nd ed.); "Symbolic Domination: Cultural Form and Historical Change in Morocco," University of Chicago Press, 1975.

Reiner Keller, Universität Augsburg

Reiner KELLER, born in 1962 near Saarbrücken (Germany), studied sociology at the universities of Saarbrücken, Rennes (France) and Bamberg (Germany) and was awarded his Diploma in 1988. He received a Ph.D. in sociology in 1997 on "Müll. Die gesellschaftliche Konstruktion des Wertvollen. Die öffentliche Diskussion über Abfall in Deutschland und Frankreich" [Garbage. The Social Construction of Value. Public Discourses on Household Waste in Germany and France] (Munich, Technical University), and accomplished his habilitation in 2004 on "Wissenssoziologische Diskursanalyse. Grundlegung eines Forschungsprogramms" [The Sociology of Knowledge Approach to Discourse. A Research Program"] (Augsburg University, Germany). From October 2006 to September 2011 he was full professor of sociology at Koblenz-Landau University (Germany). Since October 2011, he is professor of sociology at Augsburg University. Currently, he is chair of the Sociology of Knowledge Section and member of the executive board of the German Sociological Association. His research centers on sociology of knowledge and culture, discourse studies, sociological theory, qualitative methods, risk and environment, and French sociology, see SKAD. Publications include: "Michel Foucault" (2008, Konstanz: Universitätsverlag Konstanz); "Wissenssoziologische Diskursanalyse. Grundlegung eines Forschungsprogramms" [The Sociology of Knowledge Approach to Discourse] (3rd ed. 2011, Wiesbaden: SpringerVS); "The Sociology of Knowledge Approach to Discourse (SKAD)" (2011, Human Studies, 34(1), 43-65); "Das Interpretative Paradigma" [The Interpretive Paradigm] (2012, Wiesbaden: SpringerVS); "Entering Discourses: A New Agenda for Qualitative Research and Sociology of Knowledge" (2012, VIII(2), 46-55); "Doing Discourse Research" (2013, London: Sage); Clarke, Adele E. & Keller, Reiner: "Engaging Complexities: Working Against Simplification as an Agenda for Qualitative Research Today. Adele Clarke in Conversation With Reiner Keller" (2014, FQS, 15[2], Art. 1, http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs140212).

FQS Interviews