Sixth International Political Anthropology Workshop in Ireland on
Poesis: The ambivalent creation of truth.
29th & 30th of November, 2013
Waterford Institute of Technology
Organised by the Department of Applied Arts, Waterford Institute of Technology, the Journal International Political Anthropology, and the School of Sociology & Philosophy, University College Cork
Conveners: Tom Boland (Sociology, WIT) and John O’ Brien, (Sociology, WIT)
Friday Programme, Venue- C002 College Street Campus
- Poesis: Theorising through metaphors Tom Boland, WIT
- Ambivalence: On the history of philosophies of truth. Michel Bonazzi, Bolognia
- Love and Poesis: The Ambivalent Creation of a Haunted truth Noel Kavanagh, Carlow College
Theatropoesis and novels of truth Arpad Szakolczai, UCC
19:00 Conference Dinner; venue tbc.
Saturday: C002 College Street Campus
09.30: Poesis and Creativity
- Theorizing Creativity: Poesis and the Aesthetics of Orality.
Tríona Ní Shíocháin, UL
- And it is written . . . : History and anti-History in the Gospel according to Hollywood
Paul Clogher, WIT
- Poetry, meaningful existence and the potential of the abyss
Jill O’Mahony, WIT
11.30: Poesis and Organisations
- The Poetics of Administration Ray Griffin, WIT
- Stories of Play and the Panopticon Aisling Tuite, WIT
- The Vanishing Stars Paul O’Connor, UCC
13:00 Lunch Cork Road Campus: F02
14:00 Poetry &Society
- Austere Beauty: The Aesthetics of Privilege and Underprivilege in the Built Environment in Contemporary Ireland.
John O’Brien, WIT
- Poesis of everyday life: the creation of young female identities
Irena Lovikatie, WIT
- From Persian epics to Ta’zieh: A sacred theatrical mourning ritual and the public sphere in Persia [Iran]
Amin Sharifi, UCC
- Critiquing the Truth: Joseph Ratzinger and the Critique of Christianity
Philip Cremin, WIT
16.30 Closing Plenary
Liminal Algebra: Counting Nil in Poetry Agnes Horvath, CU
Final Reflections / Conference closes.
Please notify the convenors of your intention to attend as the event is limited to 30 participants. A special conference lunch at E10 and conference dinner at E20 will be held, but are fully optional – there is no charge to attend the conference itself.
Poesis, from the Ancient Greek (ποίησις) means production or composition. This creativity is central and vital to humanity; from language, story and song through objects, homes and art to political and social institutions. To study society and culture separately is scarcely tenable: this conference concerns the centrality of meaning, narrative and even beauty to human life. Yet, in modernity poesis and culture are often relegated to being little more than entertainment or even frothy ideology which distorts ‘real’ social processes. Furthermore, for academics oriented to investigating, interpreting or even measuring social forces, how poesis creates truth is a matter of deep ambivalence.
There is nothing more poetic than the sense, or even the sensation, of moving through fiction towards the truth. As Nietzsche pointed out, all of our truths are fictions which we have ceased to recognise as creative poesis: the foundational concepts of philosophy, theology and all the modern disciplines emerge from stories. Inevitably, we live culturally within one fictional world or another, or even in many worlds that overlap in complex ways. Yet, we are ambivalent about this poesis: Whose fiction is it? Does fictional mean false, ideological and erroneous? And what might happen if the fiction starts to wear thin – will there be disenchantment, alienation or renewal?
The intersections of culture and society are no narrow specialism, but increasingly a concern common to many disciplines. Cultural anthropology, at least since Geertz, has taken the meaning-making practices of human societies as a central area of inquiry. Cultural sociology has grown from a minor field to a central paradigm. Literary and performance theory, musicology and cognate disciplines have become increasingly concerned with culture and context, from new historicism to reader response theories. This conference will bring together papers concerned with poesis and culture from all of these areas which engage with the ambivalent status of truth after the cultural turn, the historical turn and the performative turn.
The question of poesis and truth cannot be confined to the sepulchral realms of high art or the distracting froth of popular culture. Despite the dominance of technocratic discourse, the political world is animated by fictions, from universalising utopian visions to images of the nation. Ultimately politics is a contest over meaning. Similarly that thing which we sometimes call ‘economic reality’ is also a storied world, with confidence, booms and busts the material of our contemporary morality tale. The tale of technological world domination, the bildungsroman of entrepreneurial success, the Faustian pact of progress and the carnival world of the market are all fictions. And of course, culture is now an industry, so that tourism, advertising and education are sites of the production and consumption of poesis and truth.
However, this brings us to problems of distinction: Are all societies alike in creating meaning? Modernity is associated with a dearth of meaning, a decline of poesisand truth becoming singular and univocal – but is this our near-sighted parochialism? Are all elements of society meaning-making? Every human action exists in a nexus of meaning, but it is hardly an undifferentiated continuum, and surely there are particular sources of meaning which deserve academic attention, from poetry, to religion, to authority, to ritual and beyond.
We invite plenary and session papers on:
- Poetry and truth, theory and meaning.
- Society as a fictional world: in modernity and beyond.
- Politics as the contested field of meaning.
- Poesis and everyday life.The marketplace for meaning and productive poesis.