Ambivalence, Ambiguity and Alienation: Making Sense of 'Tension' in North India | University of Oxford

Ambivalence, Ambiguity and Alienation: Making Sense of 'Tension' in North India

Speaker
Raphael Susewind (King's College London)
Event date
Event time
14:00 - 15:30
Venue
Ashmolean Museum
Beaumont Street
Oxford
Oxfordshire
OX1 3UQ
Venue details

Headley Lecture Theatre

Event type
Lectures and seminars
Event cost
Free
Disabled access?
Yes
Booking required
Not required

How can we understand 'tension', the experience of rigidity that often underpins systemic structures of domination, epistemic violence as well as physical aggression in South Asia? Following Zygmunt Bauman, I want to suggest that 'tension' is the outcome of an overzealous pursuit of moral and categorical clarity which alienates us from the ambiguity of lived experience. At some point, alienation becomes so gross and the aspiration for clarity thus so untenable that it breaks down into ambivalence, and then violence. Deviating from Bauman and others, I however propose a heuristic vocabulary that distinguishes more clearly between ambivalence and ambiguity, building on ethnography of religion, gender and aggression in North India.