Social Anthropology

Ways of Not-Knowing in Neoliberal Chile


Marjorie Murray

Diana Espirito Santo, Paulina Salinas


Through two significantly distinct ethnographic case studies, both based in Santiago, Chile, we argue for the need to attend to experiences which are not conceptualised by our interlocutors, or that remain ‘dark’ in terms of their ontological and representational properties.
We point out that anthropology has been ill-equipped to deal with these ineffable margins, and point to conceptual arches which could be used transversally in what we call a ‘dark anthropology’. The two fields in question here are the ufological ‘absurd’ and early mothering experiences among low-income communities. What both have in common is that they defy anthropological figure-ground logics, where experiences are explained via their social contexts. We argue for an anthropology that can come to grips with non-linear, sometimes dark, socialities.