The Secrets of Fariba Adelkhah’s Anthropology. Intimacy and Mobility

Août 2022
2 022

Type de pub.:

Peter Geschiere

Fariba Adelkhah’s anthropology gives an original twist to Bronislaw Malinowski’s classical prescriptions for “participant observation” and “being on the spot” – for him the condition for doing full justice “to the imponderabiliia of every life.” For Fariba such an approach has been most productive for understanding the kaleidoscopic and often unexpected effects of an authoritarian regime – of which Iran seems to be an extreme example – in everyday life. Her work offers, therefore, seminal views on the possibilities of an anthropological approach to highlight the “underside” of authoritarianism. For her this means also a deep distrust against the binary oppositions – often carried by the present-day turn to identity politics all over the world – which risk to block a deeper understanding of developments not only in Iran; similar simplistic oppositions seem to make a return in present-day anthropology in general. This article is a tribute to her courage now that she is becoming a victim of such binary thinking, but also to her creativity in overcoming these barriers to academic research.