Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Society for Cultural Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists
Primary Theme: Ethics
Secondary Theme: The Political
This panel will explore how accusations of envy and other closely related ‘ugly feelings’ like greed and anxiety are politicized reflections of the everyday hierarchies, inequalities, and differential power relations within communities. In place of more psychologizing accounts, this panel will seek a deeper understanding of the economic, social and political realities that lie beneath emotions, and argue that people’s moral judgments, and the moral policing of others, reveals something profound about their position in society. Through ethnographic engagements in Europe, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and South America, we will examine and compare what happens as emotions are detached from face-to-face interpersonal relations, institutionalized, and scaled up to the identity categories deployed in broader collective struggles. Above all, we consider the relationship between such accusations and the maintenance of the status quo, questioning who or what in society really envies and what is at stake when they do so.