WP223 Self-containment & contamination: Two competing circuits of adaptability

Silva & Fabrício
Collection: Key word


This paper explores two competing models of adaptation of discourses in society. The first model is contradictorily a non-adaptable framework or matrix that scales the social circulation of text and talk as expandable, i.e. scalable, yet seemingly un-modifiable in its expansion. Following Anna Tsing’s (2012) work on scales, we term this form of adaptation ” self-containment. ” The other model, which we call contamination, is not grounded on scalability to the extent that it is not valid everywhere in the same way. Instead, this form of circulation is nonscalable as it is embedded in the singularity and indeterminacy of encounters. A nonscalable project is unable to travel without being contaminated by the engagement or clash with others. To investigate the circulation of these models of discourse adaptation in contemporary Brazil, we tackle some of the narratives forging the 2016 Olympic sporting event and the 2014 World Cup. We do so by tracing ” communicable maps ” (Briggs 2007) and weaving a ” trail of associations ” (Latour 2005). The established connections produce a provisional panorama in which the friction of scalable and nonscalable narratives produces collaborative trans-contextual plots which are the outcome of relations of mutuality.