Shadowlands: Expanding Being-becoming beyond Liminality, Crossroads and Borderlands
182 Pages
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Shadowlands: Expanding Being-becoming beyond Liminality, Crossroads and Borderlands


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182 Pages


This book aims to expand on the notion of being, becoming, and being-becoming that manifests across the literature of liminality, crossroads and borderlands. Looking to overcome the limitations of these grounding concepts, the metaphor of the shadowlands is proposed. Moving away from dualities and binaries, challenging the spatial metaphors, which imply clear and defined boundaries and spring from an objective construction of �reality�, and coping with the idea of incompleteness, unfinishedness, are the challenges of the shadowlands. Through the prism of this newly conceptualised analytical and epistemological tool, the authors intend to grasp a fresh understanding of the processes of being, becoming and being-becoming in both their singular and multiple manifestations. As an epistemological concept, the shadowlands imply that anthropologists must not only identify these uncanny spaces of junction in their research, but also shadowlands in the ethnographic papers that they produce. In addition to a better understanding of the continuous fabrication of temporalities and being-becoming, the concept puts into perspective the discipline of anthropology itself. Throughout the chapters, the different authors permit to grasp the various applications of the shadowlands, allowing to project the concept in particular contexts and through specific angles of analysis.



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Published 19 May 2020
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EAN13 9789956551767
Language English
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on concepts that reify and fix complex phenomena. They offer us a concept
and contemporary global modernities, and to think beyond the lexicons of Euromodern concepts and the ideas they constellate.”
binaries, challenging the spatial metaphors, which imply clear and defined
with the idea of incompleteness, unfinishedness, are the challenges of the
the concept in particular contexts and through specific angles of analysis.
was able to narrow down his centres of interest which encompass the fields of identity
Expanding Being-becoming beyond Liminality, Crossroads and Borderlands
SExhpanadingdBeoing-bwecolminag bneyondds Liminality, Crossroads and Borderlands
Remi Calleja
EDITEDBYRemi Calleja
SHADOWLANDSExpanding Being-becoming beyond Liminality, Crossroads and Borderlands Edited by Remi Calleja
L a ng a a R esea rch & P u blishing CIG Mankon, Bamenda
Publisher:LangaaRPCIG Langaa Research & Publishing Common Initiative Group P.O. Box 902 Mankon Bamenda North West Region Cameroon Distributed in and outside N. America by African Books Collective
ISBN-10: 9956-551-87-2
ISBN-13: 978-9956-551-87-3 ©Remi Calleja 2020. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical or electronic, including photocopying and recording, or be stored in any information storage or retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher
Notes on Contributors Remi Calleja, an anthropology researcher at UCT, centred his Master research on the process of identity negotiation among a group of Capetonian Bush Doctors. After completing his undergraduate in anthropology at University Aix-Marseille, France, he was able to narrow down his centres of interest which encompass the fields of identity negotiation and formation, Indigenous knowledge, as well as traditional medicine and spiritualities. Charne Parrott did her undergraduate degree at Rhodes University. She continued her studies at UCT and focused on multispecies ethnography, an approach that proposes to understand the complex and interconnected relations composing the web of life. This perspective unveils new potentialities for thinking the social/biological divisions. Simone Oosthuizena central contributor in the was framing of the shadowlands. She helped imagining and coordinating the project throughout the Ethnographic Problematics course. This course emerged as the initial space in which the group of contributors united. Irinja Vähäkangas, from Finland, undertook her anthropology Master at UCT in 2018. Alongside her classmates, she greatly contributed to shaping the concept of shadowlands. Lindela Mjenxanecontributed to the framing and writing of the introductory chapter of this volume. We acknowledge his input with gratitude.Finally, this work could not have been carried out without the teachings and wit of Professor Francis Nyamnjoh. Dr.
Nyamnjoh has published extensively on globalisation, media, citizenship, and the politics of identity in Africa. Introducing the students to Amos Tutuola and emphasising on incompleteness, mobility, and fluidity in the process of identity negotiation, Dr Nyamnjoh provided the building blocks in the framing of the project that has resulted in this publication.
Table of Contents Preface.................................................................... vii Fiona Ross Chapter 1: Introduction: Expanding Being-becoming beyond Liminality, Crossroads and Borderlands.................................. 1 R. Calleja, L. Mjenxane, S. Oosthuizen, C. Parrott and I. Vähäkangas Chapter 2 Feeding the Shadowlands: Being-becoming through Incorporation ............... 57 Irinja Vähäkangas Chapter 3 Multispecies Encounters in Shadowlands ...................................................... 83 Charné Parrott Chapter 4 Shadowlands and Social Media in Revolution: The Impact of Electronic Mediums on Being-becoming ............................................... 101 Simone Oosthuizen Chapter 5 The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): A Multi-Layered Shadowlands .............................. 123 Remi Calleja
Preface Anthropology is no stranger to the need to make new concepts or to the practice of watching permutations as old ones travel into new terrains. Throughout its history it has crisscrossed the world, trafficking signs and their relations to world-making practices, seeking ways to make multiple forms of life legible across difference. Our work as translators, brokers and crafters of new knowledge involves thinking carefully about how concepts work, whether they are transferable from the contexts in which they were generated and have life, and if so, what their effects are. That its efforts have been saturated in power relations is not in question; that we may miss the mark and in so doing do injustice is clear. Some of Anthropology’s oldest and richest anthropological questions and concepts are drawn from worlds unfamiliar to European scholars who sought to describe and analyse lives far from what were then considered the metropoles. Think for example of the Māori word ‘hau’ whose genealogy in anthropology comes to us through Marcel Mauss’s (1954) writings on the gift. In Mauss’s famous formulation, the gift, while it appears disinterested in the sense of being freely given without expectation of return, contains an essence that draws from others an inevitable response. He uses ‘hau’, a Māori term to describe this ‘spirit’ of the gift. From this was born one of anthropology’s most enduring problematics, to do with how politics, economics and social life enfold one another and solidarities are created. Mauss’s argumentation gave rise to careful thought about the nature of the gift, the question
of reciprocity, the forms and limits of social solidarity. For Mauss, the spirit of the gift – the way that it produced an endless moral cycle of prestation and return – was the foundation of human sociality. Entering into one of sociology’s most influential texts on economics and politics, the Māoriterm has taken on a new life, inserted into modes of reason about political organisation and policy. The debates it produced have not ended; the problem of reciprocity and altruism – of the gift – circles in multiple fields, particularly most recently in relation to questions of the alienability of human body parts through organ and fluid donation. Underpinning all of this, is a term drawn from indigenous life worlds and rendered as a concept. Hau received a further permutation when the journal and master series of the same name was introduced in 2011. That resource offers reproductions of ‘master texts’ with contemporary commentaries and a thematic journal, with the intention of ‘… situating ethnography as the primary heuristic of anthropology and returning it to the forefront of conceptual developments in the discipline’ (HAU 2011). Ironically, the journal claims the source of its name as Mauss’sThe Giftthe with no acknowledgment of indigenous world from which the concept was wrested in the first instance, notwithstanding HAU’s intention to examine translational equivocations that arise in the encounter between ‘western cosmological assumptions and conceptual determinations’ (ibid) and indigenous knowledge systems. The elision of the primary source of the concept matters, as members of Mahi Tahi, a collective operating under the auspices of the New Zealand Anthropology Association, gently point out. In an open letter to the journal, Mahi Tahi and a long
list of supporters note that the term ‘hau’ was used without discussion or reference to its Māori roots. In an open and reflective mode of engagement, the collective poses questions about whether the journal has lived up to the values of the life worlds from which the term originates. It describes these values as care, respect, openness and inclusivity (2018b). The response itself is characterised by these values; it is not accusatory, unlike much of the social media frenzy that surrounded the debate about editorial practices at the journal, but respectfully draws attention to the values that animate indigenous concepts and relationships. Mahi Tahi draws attention to the appropriation of terms and the lack of consultation but does not make a nativist claim that concepts must remain in the life worlds from which they originate. Rather, the collective suggests that as they travel, their users have a responsibility to ensure that the set of values – let’s call them the spirit – of the term moves too and animates the relations it constellates. Mahi Tahi’s short open letter and a follow-up response to HAU’s very brief acknowledgement and apology are powerful interventions. In the follow-up response, the collective notes, ‘… it’s worth our whole discipline reflecting on the process by which concepts can get so removed from the communities which generate them’. The point is critical. As our concepts circulate, often far from their sources in life worlds or in theory, they take on lives of their own, generating momentum, accumulating histories, taking unexpected trajectories, showing up in unusual places. Often this is accusingly called ‘cultural appropriation’. Mahi Tahi’s engagement with HAU initiates a different discussion about what happens when knowledge