Why has the recent period of global centralization of capital, from the 1970s to the present, also been a period of resurgence of indigenous movements and of forms of global civil society that have supported indigenous rights? This article argues that tackling this question can only be done by using concepts that emphasize what Hegel called the 'cunning' of history: the fact that the same historical process can on the one hand bring devastation to indigenous habitats and on the other hand create opportunities for political leverage by indigenous societies to gain recognition of the legitimacy of their different social, cultural, and economic systems within their ambient nation-states. Politically engaged anthropological theory, it seems, needs concepts that emphasize these contradictions—which in a nutshell means more Marx and less Foucault.
Rights, Networks, and Ethnographic Comparison
Harri Englund and Thomas Yarrow
The relationship between theory and place has remained a central problem for the discipline of anthropology. Focusing on debates around the concepts of human rights and networks, specifically as these traverse African and Melanesian contexts, this article highlights how novel ideas emerge through sustained comparison across different regions. Rather than understanding places as sources of theories to be applied to other contexts, we argue that anthropologists need to recognize how new concepts are generated through reflexive comparison across different regions. This analysis leads us to question a widespread propensity to understand places as the sine qua non of anthropological theory, proposing instead that place emerges retrospectively as an artifact of comparison. We conclude that while it is therefore necessary to acknowledge the analytic construction of Africa and its sub-regions, there remain compelling reasons to recognize its analytic utility.
Anthropology and the radical philosophy of Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt
The trilogy by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire (2000), Multitude (2004), and Commonwealth (2009), is among the major works of political theory to emerge in this century, with specific relevance for anthropological analyses of global power. This introduction provides a synthetic overview of the conflicted encounter between anthropologists (John Kelly, Aihwa Ong, Anna Tsing, and Sylvia Yanagisako) and Hardt and Negri's vision that is staged in this thematic cluster of Focaal. It reviews the anthropologists' three main critiques of the Empire trilogy, the analysis of state and labor, the scale of analysis, and the ethics of global theorizing, which point to an apparent disciplinary rift between global ethnography and radical philosophy. This disciplinary rift is itself characterized differently by anthropologists and Michael Hardt, which I suggest results from different modalities for depicting social dynamics.
Anthropological Knowledge Making, the Reflexive Feedback Loop, and Conceptualizations of the Soul
Katherine Swancutt and Mireille Mazard
colonialism, religious evangelism, and even contact with the researchers themselves. Without an awareness of how native conceptualizations have changed in response to anthropological theory and other abstractions, we fail to grasp fully what it means to do
Time in Physics and Fiji
), anthropological theory has basically presupposed time as a given. Since the ‘ontological turn’, this tendency has begun to change, but the situation formerly indicated by Nancy Munn (1992: 93) , according to whom “the topic of time frequently fragments into all
Humanizing Relations in an Australian NGO Campaign for People Seeking Asylum
bringing feminist notions of the relationality of affect into dialogue with political anthropology, I have sought to enhance anthropological theories of the state which argue that affect and relations sit at the core of the political ( Laszczkowski and
Culture Theory in US Death Penalty Mitigation
authoritative representatives of the field. My argument is that in the work of these standard-setting advocates, practitioners draw from anthropological theories of culture as a source of behind-the-scenes inspiration for developing strategies that
Spatial Tropes in the Kinship Narratives of an Extended Family Network in Oman
This study calls for a reintegration of space and relatedness in anthropological theories of social formation. It is based on the examination of spatial tropes in the kinship narratives and discursive practices of an extended Swahili-speaking family network historically located between Oman and coastal East Africa.
David A. B. Murray
In this paper I want to trace how and why The Invention of Culture (IOC) has resonated strongly throughout my encounters with anthropological theory and fieldsite experiences in the Caribbean. I briefly outline how some of its key analytical arguments about the meanings and applications of the ‘culture’ concept can be productively compared and applied to what at first glance might appear to be quite unrelated ‘new’ theoretical models about gender and sexuality, particularly Judith Butler’s ‘performative’ approach, more than twenty-five years after its initial publication.
Books and Conferences
Kamyar Abdi, M. Chloe Mulderig, A. Rouhbakhshan, Adham Ashirov, and Catherine Alexander
Postage, J. N. (ed.) (2007), Languages of Iraq: Ancient and Modern (London: British School of Archaeology in Iraq). ix + 187 pp., figs. ISBN. 978-0-903472-21-0. £15.00.
Reid, Donald Malcom (2002), Whose Pharaohs? Archaeology, Museums, and Egyptian National Identity from Napoleon to World War I (Berkeley: University of California Press). ix + 409 pp., 46 illus. ISBN 0520240693. $21.95.
Vivier-Muresan, Anne-Sophie (2006), Afzad: Ethnologie d’un village d’Iran (Tehran: IFRI). xxvii + 446p.
Scientific Conference, Karim Shaniyazov Lecture Series, 14 December 2007, Namangan, Uzbekistan
Scientific Workshop, ‘Anthropological Theories, Ethnic Nationalities’, 8–9 December 2007, Tehran, Iran