What There Is To Fear:
World Building with Colombian Refugees in Ecuador
Working through a series of ethnographic ‘scenes’ from her research in Ecuador, in this article Lisa Stevenson reflects on the relationship between fear and world-building. By immersing us in these moments, she presents an intimate exploration of the ways that what there is to fear creates and breaks human relations through the way they push communities together or apart.
Listen to a bite of this article by the author:
It’s really interesting to consider fear as a world builder – I usually think more in terms of positive emotion. But it absolutely is – perhaps it’s helpful to consider it as a social object which can be passed from one to another and, when accepted, allows for a broadening of horizons/mutual connection.
” If creating a world together depends on recognizing each other’s fears as legitimate, then dismissing another’s fears means refusing to inhabit the same world.”
I think that this is also a refusal to see and acknowledge the other, to see them simply as the caricature that one has built up in one’s mind, rather than the multi-facted person they truly are. Which brings to mind a line from an Elizabeth Jennings poem (Identity): When I decide I shall assemble you / Or, more precisely, when I decide which thoughts / Of mine about you fit most easily together / Then I can learn what I have loved, what lets / Light though the mind.