The main thematic focus of the Congress is on a diversity of mobilities that has shaped human life and evolution, from the earliest prehistoric migrations to contemporary virtual mobility by means of communication flows at high speed and frequency. Diverse anthropological theories, perspectives and methodological approaches to understanding the dialectic of mobility and stability, dynamics and statics, sustainability and changeability will be explored in this conference, while also providing a panorama of local, ethnic and national experiences in the form of empirical case studies from around the world.
The phenomenon of a “World on the Move” is open to observation and conceptualization, but this may require a modification of the methodology and agenda of anthropological studies, which have often focused on relatively static structures and institutions. Migration and communication include issues of agency and motivation, adaptation and integration, modes of communication within different groups and communities, and modes of interaction within and between culturally complex societies. Examples from the past can provide the necessary background to analyze the complex dynamics of changing circumstances and trends in historic perspective and with contemporary relevance. Migration and information flows transform the life of human communities around the globe, changing the character of kinship and other social structures, or affecting life subsistence systems, identities and politics. Global climate change is also relevant in this context. It is already impacting on people’s social reality and can be expected to trigger a new wave of mass migrations in foreseeable future.
The modern world, as it sometimes seems, has lost control over the speed of its own movement and development. Digital technologies, internet and social media have become a vital component of everyday communication and of our perception of life, as cyber reality seems to eclipse our experience of reality itself in many ways. Conventional space and time are giving way to cyber-based extraterritoriality and compressed time, and we are re-arranging our lives accordingly. The rapid global spread of coronavirus infection has amplified this transition, disrupting the rhythms of physical movement around the world with a forced, quarantine induced statics, while encouraging the shift towards living our lives online. The digital and visual technologies that now not only permeate our worlds but even create virtual worlds of experience call for new and innovative research methods as well as analytical and interpretive tools from anthropology, and such innovations are particularly encouraged and welcomed at the St. Petersburg IUAES-2022 Congress. The themes outlined above will be explored in a diversity of keynotes, panels and round tables.