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WORKSHOP – Skill and Scale in Transnational Mediumship

13. Dezem­ber – 14. Dezem­ber 2018 

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Organ­isiert by the CRC Media of Coop­er­a­tion at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Siegen in Col­lab­o­ra­tion with a.r.t.e.s. Grad­u­ate School for the Human­i­ties Cologne, Glob­al South Stud­ies Cen­ter Cologne, and the Asso­ci­a­tion for Anthro­pol­o­gy and Med­i­cine (AGEM)

Over the last decades, schol­ars have dis­cussed the “Return of the Reli­gious” as to deeply ques­tion the nar­ra­tives of moder­ni­ty and its dis­en­chant­ment world­wide (de Vries and Weber 2001). Schol­ars engaged in an intense debate about the qual­i­ty and sub­stance of reli­gion, and its medi­a­tion in new tech­ni­cal media, and dis­cussed its var­i­ous forms of transna­tion­al­iza­tion and diver­si­fi­ca­tion in the con­text of glob­al­iza­tion process­es (cf. Csor­das, 2009; Behrend and Zillinger 2015).

“Skill and Scale in Transna­tion­al Medi­umship II” sets out to dis­cuss new com­mu­ni­ties of prac­tice and enskil­ment that evolve around tech­niques of medi­umship in an inter­con­nect­ed world. The increased mobil­i­ty of peo­ple and orga­ni­za­tions, things, signs and sym­bols that take part in or refor­mu­late trance prac­tices and spir­i­tu­al expe­ri­ences has sig­nif­i­cant­ly widened the scope and out­reach of adepts of trance, spir­it pos­ses­sion and spir­i­tu­al body arts. The var­i­ous body tech­niques, sym­bols and arti­facts play a major role in the re-orga­ni­za­tion of spir­i­tu­al­i­ty on site and con­tribute to the emer­gence of transna­tion­al spir­it­ed publics across time and space. This work­shop, and the vol­ume we intend to pro­duce, there­fore explores how the “local” and the “glob­al” of reli­gious and spir­i­tu­al prac­tice is co-pro­duced. We invite all par­tic­i­pants to zoom in on how these prac­tices are taught and learned, trans­formed and re-invent­ed in dif­fer­ent set­tings and to reflect upon „appren­tice­ship“ as a process of enskil­ment (Ingold). While enskil­ment con­tin­u­ous to takes place in con­text of co-par­tic­i­pa­tion, it is increas­ing­ly trans­formed through tech­nol­o­giza­tion, stan­dard­iza­tion and inter­ac­tion at a dis­tance: co-par­tic­i­pa­tion does not nec­es­sar­i­ly entail co-pres­ence. “Skill” denotes the “know how” of medi­umship, the abil­i­ty to dis­cern, invoke and elab­o­rate medi­u­mistic expe­ri­ences, while “scale” reminds us of both, (1) the scale, in which medi­u­mistic prac­tices take place and invoke tran­scen­den­tal pow­ers, the Maßstab in Ger­man – in which signs, things, and per­son are drawn togeth­er in a rit­u­al set­ting and, (2) the scale, by which the prac­ti­tion­ers reach out to new audi­ences, clients and coop­er­a­tion part­ners – or refuse to do so by delim­it­ing their prac­tices to a cer­tain group of prac­ti­tion­ers and their inti­mate publics. Both aspects are a mat­ter of con­tro­ver­sies among aca­d­e­mics and prac­ti­tion­ers alike and we are look­ing for­ward to dis­cuss this along the ethno­graph­ic case-studies.

Uni­ver­sität Siegen, Ehler Voss:
Uni­ver­sität zu Köln, Mar­tin Zillinger: