Society for Urban, National and Transnational/Global Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
TREWA means ‘dog’ in Mapudungun and it is title of indigenous play writer Paula Gonzalez’, latest play. She uses this term as a colloquial term for ‘traitor’. In TREWA the traitor is an indigenous police officer who participates in acts of state violence against his own community. The play is based on real events of state violence that are currently being tried in court, and it is also inspired in my ethnographic research with indigenous police officers.
In the making of the play participate indigenous activists, artists and social scientists. Our motivations for engaging this collaborative task vary, yet no one comes out untouched. In my case, it becomes impossible to simultaneously engage in fieldwork with the police and to collaborate with the artists/activists. New distances and intimacies are therefore continually created, and the field is expanding across territories and disciplines. It can be discussed whether TREWA is a cultural by-product of an ongoing research, an expansion of the original field or a new fieldwork. Yet, what brings together the original field and the art collaboration is the omnipresence of state violence and a fear of treason that permeates every interaction and (power) relation along the collaborative way. This continuous introduction of new fields compels us to ask how many differences and distances can be contained in one single investigation? And when or under which circumstances does the anthropologist become a traitor?