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Malinowski Memorial Lecture at LSE: Dr Sian Lazar

When May 19, 2016
from 06:00 PM to 07:30 PM
Where Old Theatre, Old Building, Houghton Street, LSE, WC2A 2AE
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Dr Sian Lazar (University of Cambridge)

Politics beyond 'interest'.  Ethics, kinship and the collective self in Argentine labour unions

Dr Sian LazarIn Crime and Custom in Savage Society, Malinowski argued that ‘on the whole, [the Melanesian] tries to fulfil his obligations, for he is impelled to do so partly through enlightened self-interest, partly in obedience to his social ambitions and sentiments’ (1926: 30). This strikes me as a worthy starting point for a discussion of political obligations and action, even though Malinowski himself said surprisingly little about politics in his ethnographic works. Taking inspiration from how he approached exchange, magic and law, in this lecture I explore some of the realms of politics that lie beyond self-interest (enlightened or not). I do so through an examination of intersections between ethical subjectivation, kinship and political activism for trade unionists in Argentina.

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