Grant TypeConference Grant
Institutional AffiliationKent, U. of
Grant numberGr. CONF-751
Approve DateMarch 2, 2017
Project TitlePardo, Dr. Italo, U. of Kent, Canterbury, UK - To aid workshop on 'Erosions of Legitimacy and Urban Futures: Ethnographic Research Matters,' 2017, Sicily, Italy, in collaboration with Dr. Giuliana Prato
Preliminary abstract: Since the mid-1990s anthropological reflection on legitimacy and legitimation (of ordinary people’s morality and actions; of the law; of politics; of governance) has grown into a robust and sophisticated debate through international meetings and publications.This proposed workshop will be an intense invitation-only intellectual exercise aimed at developing new ideas through productively critical discussion among 19 early-, mid-career and senior scholars (14 anthropologists and 5 qualitative sociologists), who are committed to contributing to an ethnographically-based theory of legitimacy and legitimation. Benefiting from a wide-ranging ethnographic and analytical field, the discussions will address conflicting moralities across the social, cultural, economic and political spectra and the corresponding progressive erosion of the legitimacy of ‘the system’–especially of governance. Scholars have long pointed to the problematic raised by this key topic in theoretical anthropology. The Brexit affair graphically exemplifies the acute crisis of rulers’ responsibility and accountability that mars many democracies. World-wide discontent with how the dominant elite manage power is generating grassroots opposition. The questionable legitimacy of local and supra-local bureaucracy, governance and the law is compounding this problem, contributing to the growing gap between the rulers and the ruled, which is particularly evident in the urban field. Ethnographic knowledge gained through long-term field research has an important role to play in understanding and addressing this gap. A major aim of this workshop is to stimulate critical scholarship and the exchange of ideas among a strong field of professional researchers engaged in demonstrating the epistemological significance of charting new theoretical directions on ‘legitimacy’ and ‘legitimation’ as loci of ethnographic research that matters to urban futures.