The UCI Department of Anthropology Colloquium Series presents

"Sailor Culture: An Inter-Reflexive Analysis of New Forms of Freedom and Relations to Technology"
with Christopher Gad, Assistant Professor, TIP Research Group,  IT University of Copenhagen

Thursday, January 12, 2012
3:30-5:00 p.m.
Social & Behavioral Sciences Gateway, Room 3323

This talk is about an analytic experiment which was kick-started when Gad asked informants about "sailor culture" during fieldwork onboard the Danish fisheries inspection vessel The West Coast. In response, fisheries inspectors, surprisingly, suggested watching a peculiar Danish cult movie, "Martha" from 1967. This incident constituted a small ethnographic moment which lead him to conduct the analytic experiment presented here. The experiment involves using "Martha" as an
analytic device to investigate sailor culture. Gad uses the term “inter-reflexivity” to characterize this as a form of lateral cultural analysis. "Martha" is an ethnographic artefact and aesthetic form encountered in the field, yet it does not express a meta-theory of sailor culture, nor does it express an infra-reflexive means, which fisheries inspectors use to make sense of their situation. By invoking "Martha" they rather summoned a relation to culture, while leaving it  unspecified. Inter-reflexivity emphasizes a double movement emerging from an ethnographic moment in the field and the creative translation of that moment into an analytic device. Following the discursive move made by fisheries inspectors Gad uses "Martha" to articulate a particular version of sailor culture, as both an invented and evasive phenomenon. While this version of sailor culture is in several ways profoundly different from life on the West Coast, it also resonates with it. Using "Martha" as an analytic device, Gad exploits both such similarities and differences in articulating some present matters of concern in fisheries inspection.

Christopher Gad is an STS-scholar and assistant professor in the Technologies in Practice Group at the IT-University of Copenhagen. For his Ph.D., he studied the ontological work of fisheries inspectors with an empirical philosophical and post-actor-network-theoretical approach. He is currently involved in research projects on technologies of democratization and surveillance.

For further information, please contact Keith Murphy,

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