Walking utopias. The politics of walking in art and anthropology

in Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale
Roger Sansi Goldsmiths, University of London rogersansi@gmail.com

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Walking has become a common form of practice in contemporary art. Recent anthropology has been influenced by art walking practices. In this paper, however, I show significant differences between art walking and what we could call ‘Walking anthropology’. The former is more explicitly engaged, in many cases, in the ‘politics of walking’. These politics, on the one hand, could be based on ideas of walking as an everyday prefiguration of a future utopian society. Yet on the other hand, walking art could also be a critique of existing forms of everyday power and mobility as they are inscribed in the landscape and the city. In walking anthropology these concerns with the politics of walking seem less evident. Comparing artistic and anthropological practices and discussions of walking, my final objective is to critically evaluate the concepts of ‘politics’ and ‘utopia’ in art and anthropology.

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