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Flux: State(s) of Change

April 29, 2017

When you conceive of a concept you hope that it will be generative; a concept that will provide enough space for others to enter and think with, to occupy and reshape. Since last November we have been thinking about what “flux” could mean both within anthropology and beyond. The word is not melodic; it drags in the throat; it is somewhat elusive. It does, however, pop up in interesting places. In physics: “the rate of flow of a fluid, radiant energy, or particles across a given area.” In medicine: “an abnormal discharge of blood or other matter from or within the body.” Or, more generally: an “action or process of flowing or flowing out.” Rather than search for our own definition or solidify ourselves behind an argument, we wanted to use this concept to collectively approach discourses of extreme or rapid change that seem to have engulfed current public and academic imaginaries. We asked ourselves: what if instead of succumbing to the totalizing effects of these discourses we explored states of in-betweenness, following the cracks, tracing the tensions and describing what lives between rigid, categorizing structures on the one hand, and flexible, malleable, changing agencies on the other? Whether this approach takes us from scepticism to music, from skin color to constitutions, from hallucinations to the Mediterranean, from borders to utopias, we look forward to animating the concept and continuing the conversation.


Anthro Lounge (9th floor)

6 E 16th St

The New School