Anthropology of the Night
The research group “Anthropology of the Night” brings together researchers from multiple disciplines with the aim of contributing to the construction of the “night” as an anthropological object of study. The night, a physical phenomenon of varying duration according to geographical position and time of year, is an object of diverse cultural perceptions and representations. These representations involve different constructions of time, space, beings, and their agency, which, up until now, have been under-studied as entities in of themselves, limited to a perspective framing them only as complementary to daytime knowledge and activities.
This research area touches upon all objects and processes typically studied by anthropology (the body and its techniques, the notion of person, material culture, economic exchanges, beliefs and representations of the supernatural world, conceptions of space and time).
The concept of “nocturnality” brings together the elements that a society devises and adopts to define what constitutes “its” night, both in conjunction with physical time and beyond the period that extends from sunset to sunrise. The spaces, times, and notions that define nocturnality in a given society embody a certain number of characters, objects, feelings, changes in affects, behaviours, and discourses, which manifest themselves particularly at certain ritual occasions, either “by night” or “out of the night” and can even become permanently embedded in the daytime. This is how sleep and the fragmentation of the constitutive elements of the person, dreams, appearances, activities requiring darkness, silence, clandestinity, etc. configure the nocturnality of a population into a common representation, expanding and building upon the physical night.
Events and Publications
Collection « Anthropologie de la nuit » at the Ethnology Society
- Collectif de recherche Renoir (Toulouse)
- Projet CANDELA (Lille)
- History Departments, Nanterre et Lyon 2, around the project :« La construction de la nocturnité dans et par les rituels : anthropologie et histoire »
- Chercheurs de Bruxelles, UNAM Mexico, Quito...