Takaragawa, Stephanie and Howe, Cymene. "Failure." Theorizing the Contemporary, Cultural Anthropology website, July 27, 2017.


Contributed date

July 3, 2018 - 4:57pm

Critical Commentary

Abstract: In ethnographic collaboration there are lots of places to flail, fall, and fail. We can disappoint our interlocutors, and we can crash with them. Failed collaborations may manifest in dysfunction, dissonance, discord. Or they may result in relationships severed and withered: broken people and broken projects. Failure feels rotten all around because it is affectively tied to fear and ambivalence; it lingers as the abandoned project that never managed to thrive. Failure can strike when communication and aesthetics are at odds, occurring at any moment or through many moments.