Oddly but tellingly, anthropology has largely treated religion and education separately. Anthropological studies of education have tended to focus on reason and rationality, while those of religion have focused on ritual, belief, magic, and ceremony. Yet there is a missed opportunity, I argue in this essay—one that is perhaps hidden by the history of anthropology itself—for seeing religion and education as folding into one another and at times being indistinguishable. Viewing religion and education as recursively related—including in anthropological and social theory—opens up a conceptual locus and mode for analyzing how the public realm is being newly transformed, and how political orders and governmental regimes emerge, sometimes in accord with, other times in contradistinction to, a 'four-square' model of 'public-education/private-religion' that is associated classically with the modern state.
On the Cultural Politics of Religion and Education
Cutting and Connecting—'Afrinesian' Perspectives on Networks, Relationality, and Exchange
Knut Christian Myhre
This introduction sketches the history of anthropological network analysis and examines its influence and significance with regard to contemporary conceptual and theoretical concerns in the discipline. It is argued that recent Melanesian ethnography is an effect of, and owes a debt to, certain mid-twentieth-century developments in Africanist anthropology. These debts allow for the elicitation of concepts and concerns from Melanesianist anthropology and their deployment in the analysis of African ethnography. Such deployment may in turn explore the limits of these conceptual constructs and allow for their return in distorted and extended forms. As demonstrated by the contributors to this special issue, the historical relationships between Melanesian ethnography and Africanist anthropology hence enable an exchange of theoretical gifts and traffic in analytics that cut the network and separate the two regions, thus allowing for a new form of anthropological comparison.
Beyond centers and peripheries in the global production of anthropological knowledge
It is well accepted that the discussion about intellectual centers and peripheries has a reductionist character that conceals the complexity of a globalizing world. Despite this, we cannot ignore that in the academic history of anthropology central traditions and hegemonic discourses were established, while others were rendered as peripheral or marginal. This historical context has set a disciplinary framework of inequalities and imbalances that created the conditions of possibility for the global production and dissemination of anthropological knowledge. By re-examining the controversy surrounding the anthropology of the Mediterranean and its relation with debates about native anthropology, this article points out the challenge of revising this disciplinary framework in the project of developing a truly global anthropology.