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The Ontological Turn

The Ontological Turn Author Martin Holbraad
ISBN-10 9781107103887
Release 2017-03-23
Pages 352
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This book provides the first systematic presentation of anthropology's 'ontological turn', placing it in the landscape of contemporary social theory.



Thinking Through Things

Thinking Through Things Author Amiria Henare
ISBN-10 9781135392727
Release 2007-01-24
Pages 248
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Drawing upon the work of some of the most influential theorists in the field, Thinking Through Things demonstrates the quiet revolution growing in anthropology and its related disciplines, shifting its philosophical foundations. The first text to offer a direct and provocative challenge to disciplinary fragmentation - arguing for the futility of segregating the study of artefacts and society - this collection expands on the concerns about the place of objects and materiality in analytical strategies, and the obligation of ethnographers to question their assumptions and approaches. The team of leading contributors put forward a positive programme for future research in this highly original and invaluable guide to recent developments in mainstream anthropological theory.



Not Quite Shamans

Not Quite Shamans Author Morten Axel Pedersen
ISBN-10 0801461413
Release 2011-03-18
Pages 272
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The forms of contemporary society and politics are often understood to be diametrically opposed to any expression of the supernatural; what happens when those forms are themselves regarded as manifestations of spirits and other occult phenomena? In Not Quite Shamans, Morten Axel Pedersen explores how the Darhad people of Northern Mongolia's remote Shishged Valley have understood and responded to the disruptive transition to postsocialism by engaging with shamanic beliefs and practices associated with the past. For much of the twentieth century, Mongolia's communist rulers attempted to eradicate shamanism and the shamans who once served as spiritual guides and community leaders. With the transition from a collectivized economy and a one-party state to a global capitalist market and liberal democracy in the 1990s, the people of the Shishged were plunged into a new and harsh world that seemed beyond their control. "Not-quite-shamans"-young, unemployed men whose undirected energies erupted in unpredictable, frightening bouts of violence and drunkenness that seemed occult in their excess- became a serious threat to the fabric of community life. Drawing on long-term fieldwork in Northern Mongolia, Pedersen details how, for many Darhads, the postsocialist state itself has become shamanic in nature. In the ideal version of traditional Darhad shamanism, shamans can control when and for what purpose their souls travel, whether to other bodies, landscapes, or worlds. Conversely, caught between uncontrollable spiritual powers and an excessive display of physical force, the "not-quite-shamans" embody the chaotic forms-the free market, neoliberal reform, and government corruption-that have created such upheaval in peoples' lives. As an experimental ethnography of recent political and economic transformations in Mongolia through the defamiliarizing prism of shamans and their lack, Not Quite Shamans is an attempt to write about as well as theorize postsocialism, and shamanism, in a new way.



Framing Cosmologies

Framing Cosmologies Author Allen Abramson
ISBN-10 9781526107183
Release 2016-08-19
Pages 336
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How might the anthropological study of cosmologies the ways in which the horizons of human worlds are imagined and engaged illuminate understandings of the contemporary world? This book addresses this question by bringing together anthropologists whose research is informed by a concern with cosmological dimensions of social life in different ethnographic settings. Its overall aim is to reaffirm the value of the cosmological frame as a continuing source of analytical insight. Attending to the novel cosmological formations that emerge in such fields as modern markets, political landscapes, digital media and popular cinema, the book's key task is to explore how modern circumstances are constituted within the variable imagination of worlds and their horizons. It will be of interest to all students and researchers in anthropology, as well as scholars in fields as diverse as film studies, cultural studies, comparative religion, science and technology studies, and broader social theory.



Magic s Reason

Magic s Reason Author Graham M. Jones
ISBN-10 9780226518718
Release 2017-12-06
Pages 240
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In Magic’s Reason, Graham M. Jones tells the entwined stories of anthropology and entertainment magic. The two pursuits are not as separate as they may seem at first. As Jones shows, they not only matured around the same time, but they also shared mutually reinforcing stances toward modernity and rationality. It is no historical accident, for example, that colonial ethnographers drew analogies between Western magicians and native ritual performers, who, in their view, hoodwinked gullible people into believing their sleight of hand was divine. Using French magicians’ engagements with North African ritual performers as a case study, Jones shows how magic became enshrined in anthropological reasoning. Acknowledging the residue of magic’s colonial origins doesn’t require us to dispense with it. Rather, through this radical reassessment of classic anthropological ideas, Magic’s Reason develops a new perspective on the promise and peril of cross-cultural comparison.



Comparative Metaphysics

Comparative Metaphysics Author Pierre Charbonnier
ISBN-10 1783488573
Release 2016-09-01
Pages 400
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An advanced introduction to the new philosophical anthropology and an understanding of the most contemporary developments in it.



The Metamorphoses of Kinship

The Metamorphoses of Kinship Author Maurice Godelier
ISBN-10 9781844677467
Release 2011
Pages 638
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A declining marriage rate, rising divorce rate, families breaking up and reforming, homosexual marriage and adoption. Where are the transformations in the family today taking us? In order to understand what is happening and what awaits us, the world-renowned anthropologist Maurice Godelier has decided to open up the whole question of kinship, surveying the accumulated experiences of humanity as regards marriages and unions, the organization of lines of descent, sexuality and sexual prohibitions. In parallel, Godelier studies the history of the study of kinship, from the nineteenth century to the present, in order to develop his own hypotheses. He concludes that it is nowhere the case that a man and a woman are sufficient on their own to bring a child into existence, and nowhere are relations of kinship or the family the foundation stone of a society. Godelier argues that the changes of the last thirty years do not herald disappearance or death agony of kinship but rather its remarkable metamorphosis - one that, ironically, has brought us closer to the "traditional" societies studied by ethnologists.



Truth in Motion

Truth in Motion Author Martin Holbraad
ISBN-10 9780226349206
Release 2012-06-01
Pages 320
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Embarking on an ethnographic journey to the inner barrios of Havana among practitioners of Ifá, a prestigious Afro-Cuban tradition of divination, Truth in Motion reevaluates Western ideas about truth in light of the practices and ideas of a wildly different, and highly respected, model. Acutely focusing on Ifá, Martin Holbraad takes the reader inside consultations, initiations, and lively public debates to show how Ifá practitioners see truth as something to be not so much represented, as transformed. Bringing his findings to bear on the discipline of anthropology itself, he recasts the very idea of truth as a matter not only of epistemological divergence but also of ontological difference—the question of truth, he argues, is not simply about how things may appear differently to people, but also about the different ways of imagining what those things are. By delving so deeply into Ifá practices, Truth in Motion offers cogent new ways of thinking about otherness and how anthropology can navigate it.



Earth Beings

Earth Beings Author Marisol de la Cadena
ISBN-10 9780822375265
Release 2015-09-21
Pages 368
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Earth Beings is the fruit of Marisol de la Cadena's decade-long conversations with Mariano and Nazario Turpo, father and son, runakuna or Quechua people. Concerned with the mutual entanglements of indigenous and nonindigenous worlds, and the partial connections between them, de la Cadena presents how the Turpos' indigenous ways of knowing and being include and exceed modern and nonmodern practices. Her discussion of indigenous political strategies—a realm that need not abide by binary logics—reconfigures how to think about and question modern politics, while pushing her readers to think beyond "hybridity" and toward translation, communication that accepts incommensurability, and mutual difference as conditions for ethnography to work.



God s Agents

God s Agents Author Matthew Engelke
ISBN-10 9780520280472
Release 2013-10-05
Pages 292
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A study of how religion goes public in today's world. Based on over three years of anthropological research, Matthew Engelke traces how a small group of socially committed Christians tackles the challenge of publicity within what it understands to be a largely secular culture.



Anthropology and the Cognitive Challenge

Anthropology and the Cognitive Challenge Author Maurice Bloch
ISBN-10 9780521006156
Release 2012-06-28
Pages 234
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One of the world's most distinguished anthropologists proposes that cognitive science enriches, rather than threatens, the work of social scientists.



The Misguided Search for the Political

The Misguided Search for the Political Author Lois McNay
ISBN-10 9780745681153
Release 2014-06-05
Pages 224
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There has been a lively debate amongst political theorists about whether certain liberal concepts of democracy are so idealized that they lack relevance to ‘real’ politics. Echoing these debates, Lois McNay examines in this book some theories of radical democracy and argues that they too tend to rely on troubling abstractions - or what she terms ‘socially weightless’ thinking. They often propose ideas of the political that are so far removed from the logic of everyday practice that, ultimately, their supposed emancipatory potential is thrown into question. Radical democrats frequently maintain that what distinguishes their ideas of the political from others is the fundamental concern with unmasking and challenging unrecognized forms of inequality and domination that distort everyday life. But this supposed attentiveness to power is undermined by the invocation of rarefied models of political action that treat agency as an unproblematic given and overlook certain features of the embodied experience of oppression. The tendency of radical democrats to define democratic agency in terms of dynamics of perpetual flux, mobility and agonism passes over too swiftly the way in which objective structures of oppression are often taken into the body as subjective dispositions, leaving individuals with the feeling that they are unable to do little more than endure a state of affairs beyond their control. Drawing on the work of Adorno, Bourdieu and Honneth, amongst others, McNay argues that in order to make good the critique of power, radical democratic theory should attend more closely to a phenomenology of negative social experience and what it can reveal about the social conditions necessary for effective political agency.



Christian Moderns

Christian Moderns Author Webb Keane
ISBN-10 0520939212
Release 2007-01-03
Pages 336
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Across much of the postcolonial world, Christianity has often become inseparable from ideas and practices linking the concept of modernity to that of human emancipation. To explore these links, Webb Keane undertakes a rich ethnographic study of the century-long encounter, from the colonial Dutch East Indies to post-independence Indonesia, among Calvinist missionaries, their converts, and those who resist conversion. Keane's analysis of their struggles over such things as prayers, offerings, and the value of money challenges familiar notions about agency. Through its exploration of language, materiality, and morality, this book illuminates a wide range of debates in social and cultural theory. It demonstrates the crucial place of Christianity in semiotic ideologies of modernity and sheds new light on the importance of religion in colonial and postcolonial histories.



Objects and Materials

Objects and Materials Author Penny Harvey
ISBN-10 9781317577737
Release 2014-07-16
Pages 422
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There is broad acceptance across the Humanities and Social Sciences that our deliberations on the social need to take place through attention to practice, to object-mediated relations, to non-human agency and to the affective dimensions of human sociality. This Companion focuses on the objects and materials found at centre stage, and asks: what matters about objects? Objects and Materials explores the field, providing succinct summary accounts of contemporary scholarship, along with a wealth of new research investigating the capacity of objects to shape, unsettle and exceed expectations. Original chapters from over forty international, interdisciplinary contributors address an array of objects and materials to ask what the terms of collaborations with objects and materials are, and to consider how these collaborations become integral to our understandings of the complex, relational dynamics that fashion social worlds. Objects and Materials will be of interest to students and scholars across the social sciences and humanities, including in sociology, social theory, science and technology studies, history, anthropology, archaeology, gender studies, women’s studies, geography, cultural studies, politics and international relations, and philosophy.



Science and an African Logic

Science and an African Logic Author Helen Verran
ISBN-10 9780226853918
Release 2001-12-15
Pages 277
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Does 2 + 2 = 4? Ask almost anyone and they will unequivocally answer yes. A basic equation such as this seems the very definition of certainty, but is it? In this captivating book, Helen Verran addresses precisely that question by looking at how science, mathematics, and logic come to life in Yoruba primary schools. Drawing on her experience as a teacher in Nigeria, Verran describes how she went from the radical conclusion that logic and math are culturally relative, to determining what Westerners find so disconcerting about Yoruba logic, to a new understanding of all generalizing logic. She reveals that in contrast to the one-to-many model found in Western number systems, Yoruba thinking operates by figuring things as wholes and their parts. Quantity is not absolute but always relational. Certainty is derived not from abstract logic, but from cultural practices and associations. A powerful story of how one woman's investigation in this everday situation led to extraordinary conclusions about the nature of numbers, generalization, and certainty, this book will be a signal contribution to philosophy, anthropology of science, and education.



The Value of Comparison

The Value of Comparison Author Peter van der Veer
ISBN-10 9780822374220
Release 2016-06-03
Pages 208
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In The Value of Comparison Peter van der Veer makes a compelling case for using comparative approaches in the study of society and for the need to resist the simplified civilization narratives popular in public discourse and some social theory. He takes the quantitative social sciences and the broad social theories they rely on to task for their inability to question Western cultural presuppositions, demonstrating that anthropology's comparative approach provides a better means to understand societies. This capacity stems from anthropology's engagement with diversity, its fragmentary approach to studying social life, and its ability to translate difference between cultures. Through essays on topics as varied as iconoclasm, urban poverty, Muslim immigration, and social exclusion van der Veer highlights the ways that studying the particular and the unique allows for gaining a deeper knowledge of the whole without resorting to simple generalizations that elide and marginalize difference.



Songs for Dead Parents

Songs for Dead Parents Author Erik Mueggler
ISBN-10 9780226483412
Release 2017-12-02
Pages 352
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In a society that has seen epochal change over a few generations, what remains to hold people together and offer them a sense of continuity and meaning? In Songs for Dead Parents, Erik Mueggler shows how in contemporary China death and the practices surrounding it have become central to maintaining a connection with the world of ancestors, ghosts, and spirits that socialism explicitly disavowed. Drawing on more than twenty years of fieldwork in a mountain community in Yunnan Province, Songs for Dead Parents shows how people view the dead as both material and immaterial, as effigies replace corpses, tombstones replace effigies, and texts eventually replace tombstones in a long process of disentangling the dead from the shared world of matter and memory. It is through these processes that people envision the cosmological underpinnings of the world and assess the social relations that make up their community. Thus, state interventions aimed at reforming death practices have been deeply consequential, and Mueggler traces the transformations they have wrought and their lasting effects.