Power, Knowledge, Mediation
Principal Investigator:
Jean-Yves Dominique Durand


“Power” and “knowledge” are among the most used notions in contemporary anthropology. Positive ideas about “knowledge” are conspicuous in the public sphere, be it in hopeful clichés about the “society of knowledge” or in the appreciation of “folk knowledges”. For common sense and cultural critique alike, “power” mainly evokes less favorable notions such as domination and oppression. Currently, anthropology generally problematizes partial aspects of power (politics, hegemony, violence) whereas its treatment of knowledge appears homologous to (and as unresolved as) that of culture.
Mutually enmeshed, power and knowledge are similarly protean. Their forms and the means for their reproduction are unevenly distributed among individuals and groups, and diversely valued. The implications of these differences and inequalities need to be considered at all scales: micropolitics of daily life, potent devices of organizations and State power (territoriality; political systems; lawful surveillance, control, coercion or violence; education or health policies; body control), forces at play in knowledge (conceptions of cognitive, pragmatic or symbolic order about nature; learning processes; regimes of truth and of scientific authority).
But power and knowledge are prerequisite for social life and for efficacy: they should not be analyzed only as vectors of subjugation/catalysts of dissent and of grassroots “resistance”. This appears especially pertinent when new modalities of their production, management, and diffusion take shape, for instance with the growing juridicization of social relations, the generalization of mediating structures, the increasing institution of culture, the commodification of ethnoknowledges, the distrust toward scientific expertise, the predicament of established relationships to machines or to non-human living entities, and the new interplay between authority and authorship.
Through their scrutiny in a variety of contemporary contexts, it is important to show how these dynamics are informed, in addition to the role of agonistic dimensions in social relations and cultural reconfigurations, through some permeability between their constituents: interaction between opposites (hegemony/contention), levels (power/powers, knowledge/knowledges), ideas and practices, discourses and exegesis. There is a need for a closer look at the way mediation is brought into play, by organizations and by structured groups, as a key feature of the presence of power for instance in performances and rituals, transmission processes, plural memories. A basic aim is to show how mediation means institution (of culture, categories, powers) and incorporation, or also reciprocity or creativity, thus shedding light on situations of ambiguity or intersticiality.
This framework also applies to a reflexive stance on the history and epistemology of anthropological knowledge, to an assessment of its new techniques and modes of production or diffusion and of its place in society.
Planned conferences:
-- Animal baiting: “tradition” and the new human-animal relationship (Montalegre 13-16 September 07)
-- Diffusion without diffusionism (Aix-en-Provence 2009)
-- Web-based knowledge, authorship, and authority.
-- Efficacy: technical, symbolic, social.
-- Folk-knowledges and power: the case of contemporary crafts.
-- Memory of power, power of memory: the sociopolitical construction of the spanish-portuguese border.
-- Ethno-ecology and conservationism

Amélia Maria de Melo Frazão Moreira

Ana Felisbela de Albuquerque Piedade Pires Lavado

Anthony Alan Shelton

Aurízia Félix Sousa Anica


Chiara Gemma Pussetti

Cláudia Maria Azenha Margato de Ramalho Sousa

Elizabeth Pilar Challlinor

Emília Margarida Duarte Domingues Marques

Filipe Marcelo Correia Brito Reis

Francisco Manuel da Silva Oneto Nunes

Humberto Miguel dos Santos Martins

Jean-Yves Dominique Durand

Joao Pedro Galhano Alves

Jorge Filipe de Sousa Varanda Preces Ferreira

Jorge Narciso Ferreira Oliveira Crespo

José Filipe Pinheiro Chagas Verde

Luís Carlos Cirilo da Silva Pereira

Luís Fernando Gomes da Silva Quintais

Luis Manuel de Jesus Cunha

Manuela Ivone Paredes Pereira da Cunha

Margarida Maria de Menezes Ferreira Miranda Fernandes

Maria Inês Pinto Fonseca

Paula Cristina Antunes Godinho

Raúl Angel Iturra Redondo

Robert Lewis Rowland

Susana Soares Branco Durão

Ana Claudia Duarte Rocha Marques

Cristiana Lage David Bastos

Darlinda Maria Pacheco Moreira

Jorge Luiz Mattar Villela

Kimberley Jane Hockings

Alexandre António Frutuoso Abaladas

Alexandre Manuel Alves Dinis de Carvalho Costa

Alexandre Reis de Aboim Inglez

Ana Clara Rodrigues Guerra Marques

Ana Cristina Pereira Martins

Ana Maria de Jesus Levy Aires

Ana Maria Lopes Duarte Baptista Pereira

Ana Paula Proença Borges

Ana Sofia Santos Costa

Ângela Maria dos Santos Miranda Cardoso

António Manuel Perestrelo Correia de Matos

Carlos António Simões Rodrigues Robalo

Eduardo José Paulo Araújo

Filipa Real Correia Piecho

Francisca Alves Cardoso

Gonçalo Lopes Praça

Joana da Nóbrega Moita Quelhas Ribeiro

Joana Vaz de Sousa

João Conceição Tavares

José António Baião Gato

José Manuel Fraga Mapril Gonçalves

Júlio Flávio da Silva Ferreira

Luis Ricardo Manuel Mora

Manuel Teles Grilo da Graça Dias

Maria Dulce Dias Antunes Simões

Maria Elisabete das Neves Martins

Maria Helena Alcalde Gonçalves Marques

Maria Manuel Correia de Lemos Quintela

Michel Gustave Joseph Binet

Mylène Hernandez

Patricia Cruz Azevedo Silva

Pedro Manuel Silva Sena

Ricardo de Seiça Alves Salgado

Rita Sofia Cortes Caldeira Castel Branco

Rui Fernando Almeida Simões

Rui Miguel Moutinho Sá

Sandra Isabel de Oliveira Xavier Pereira

Sónia Sofia de Sousa Alves Ferreira

Tiago Manuel de Matos Silva