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July 25, 2011

AAS 2011 Call For Papers:Blurred boundaries: Bureaucratic activists, grassroots experts, and emergent politics in Southeast Asia

Experts and expert knowledge have become critical to contemporary state craft in Southeast Asia. Increasingly, engineers, architects, community leaders, urban planners, and scientists – drawing both legitimacy and power from their claims to “expertise” – are not simply seen as technical consultants. Across the region experts are now involved with the administration of overtly political state procedures including planning and administering policies that claim to implement new practices of community, participation, justice, and environmental stewardship. These roles both problematize the analytically clear fields of “state,” on the one hand, and “civil society” on the other while also signaling important changes in the strategies of governmentality. Indeed, experts now find themselves in the center of an emerging form of politics that has created complex entanglements between fields of expertise and claims of justice. This panel questions these changes regionally by considering the implications of these transitions in multiple sites: What are the emerging roles of these experts in Southeast Asia? How have transformations in state forms led to the increased importance of expertise and expert labor? How are new forms of expertise tied to transformations in fields of governance in the region? What are the social, political, and economic implications of these new forms of governance for citizens, communities, social movements, and the environment?

We are seeking papers that critically examine these new forms of expertise from sites across Southeast Asia. Potential paper topics might include (but are not limited to): bureaucracies, NGOs, environmental/conservation planning, urban planning and urban governance, lawyers, human rights, scientists and new forms of knowledge, transnational activists, community leaders, or regional elites.

Please send abstracts to both Eli Elinoff, (PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of California, San Diego) eelinoff@ucsd.edu and Vanessa Lamb (PhD Candidate, Department of Geography, York University, Toronto) vlamb@yorku.ca by July 31st.

Posted by katemw at July 25, 2011 01:43 PM


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