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Pathologies of Imitation

23. Juli – 26. Juli 2024 

CfP for in per­son Pan­el “Patholo­gies of Imi­ta­tion” at EASA’s Bien­ni­al Con­fer­ence (23–26 July, Barcelona)

Pan­el “Patholo­gies of Imitation”
EASA Bien­ni­al Conference
23–26 July, Barcelona
CfP dead­line: 23:59 CET on Jan­u­ary 22nd 2024

Pan­el Concept:
Imi­ta­tion is fun­da­men­tal to human social life, under­pin­ning every­thing from entrain­ment in cul­tur­al prac­tices to inter­ac­tion­al rap­port and the emu­la­tion of eth­i­cal exem­plars. Yet at times, the urge to imi­tate is con­sid­ered med­ical­ly and/or moral­ly patho­log­i­cal: when echoprax­ia (‘com­pul­sive imi­ta­tion’) is flagged as a med­ical symp­tom; in anx­i­eties around ‘copy­cat’ crimes and sui­cides, and in moral pan­ics around pla­gia­rism, online imper­son­ation, and ‘West­ox­i­fi­ca­tion’ – to name but a few. Tak­ing such ‘patholo­gies of imi­ta­tion’ as a start­ing point, this pan­el seeks to devel­op exist­ing anthro­po­log­i­cal lit­er­a­tures on mime­sis and relat­ed phe­nom­e­na by high­light­ing the affec­tive and moral com­plex­i­ties of being an imi­ta­tive subject.
We invite papers that exam­ine how, why, and to what effect cer­tain forms of imi­ta­tion are con­strued and expe­ri­enced as patho­log­i­cal in diverse con­tem­po­rary set­tings. Whose inter­ests are best served by imitation’s pathol­o­gi­sa­tion – and is this kind of polit­i­cal analy­sis suf­fi­cient for under­stand­ing the dis­tress­ing or con­flict­ed ways that peo­ple some­times expe­ri­ence their own imi­ta­tive urges and prac­tices? How and why do eth­i­cal tra­di­tions accord imi­ta­tions dif­fer­ent degrees of moral valence? Is that chang­ing as new tech­nolo­gies trans­form the labour involved in imi­ta­tion? What causal log­ics are used to account for, resolve, and pre­vent ‘inap­pro­pri­ate imi­ta­tion’, to what social worlds do they give rise, and how seri­ous­ly should anthro­pol­o­gists take them? Indeed, what can anthro­pol­o­gy ‘do’ to sup­port those suf­fer­ing in their rela­tion­ships to imi­ta­tion – and which aspects of the anthro­po­log­i­cal canon might a study of imitation’s patholo­gies sug­gest need to be ‘undone’?

Sub­mis­sion details:
Paper pro­pos­als should be sub­mit­ted online via the con­fer­ence por­tal (here)

Any queries/Questions?
Please feel free to get in touch with us on N.J.Long[at] (Nick) and jacob.copeman[at] (Jacob)