Small Places, Big Stakes: Meetings as Moments of Ethnographic Momentum

Christina Garsten, Adrienne Sörbom

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This chapter is organized so as to provide a theoretical discussion of what meeting ethnography can entail in an environment where access to meetings is severely restricted, and where meetings often transgress and challenge what appear to be the gates of the meeting. It introduces the World Economic Forum (WEF) as an organization, highlighting its interest in keeping their meetings closed. The chapter also discusses how the WEF draws on meetings to leverage their visibility and authority as a global player. It presents ethnographic vignettes from the meeting in Davos, but also from other WEF meetings in other parts of the world, in order to illustrate the role of meetings as part of a broader organizing effort. Finally, the chapter concludes by discussing meetings in the context of the predicaments of contemporary anthropological fieldwork and ask in what sense meetings may be seen as experiential and experimental sites, in Rabinow's terms.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMeeting Ethnography : Meetings as Key Technologies of Contemporary Governance, Development, and Resistance
EditorsJen Sandler, Renita Thedvall
Number of pages17
Place of PublicationNew York
Publication date2017
ISBN (Print)9781138677692
ISBN (Electronic)9781315559407
Publication statusPublished - 2017
SeriesRoutledge Studies in Anthropology

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