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Department of Social Anthropology


Ethnographic Betrayals: Secrecy, Loyalty, and Sovereignty in the Field

Dr Salih Can Açıksöz (University of California, Los Angeles)

Defined by the global surge of the far right and populist authoritarian leaders, our world-historical moment is flooded with discourses of betrayal. What does a global political climate pervaded by the many senses of betrayal and treason say about the practice and horizon of anthropology? In this article, I use my fieldwork with the ultranationalist veterans of Turkey’s Kurdish War and post-fieldwork experiences as a window into thinking through how betrayal can help us spell out the practical, ethico-methodological, and political challenges faced by ethnographers, particularly those working on the far right. Extending the discipline’s methodological debates beyond a focus on the dyadic relation between the ethnographer and the research subjects, I show how ethnographic betrayals are circumscribed by the work of sovereignty and the law.

Friday, 27 May, 2022 - 16:15 to 18:00
Event location: 
Online - by email invitation