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Ontography and Alterity

Defining Anthropological Truth

Martin Holbraad

This article holds that deeply entrenched assumptions about the nature, provenance, and value of truth can be brought into view and examined critically when set against the backdrop of a radically different set of concepts and practices that are associated with truth seeking in contemporary Afro-Cuban divination. Drawing briefly on an ethnographic analysis of the ways in which Cuban cult practitioners use oracles, the article seeks to formulate a radically alternative concept of truth. This viewpoint eschews common premises about the role of 'representation' in the pursuit of truth in favor of a notion of truth as 'conceptual redefinition'. If the ethnography of divination in Cuba forces the analyst radically to reformulate the concept of truth, what effect might this new approach have on the project of anthropology itself?

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“SpiritS Follow the words”

Stories as Spirit Traces among the Khmu of Northern Laos

Rosalie Stolz

, Yves . 2015 . “ The Ongoing Invention of a Multi-Ethnic Heritage in Laos .” Journal of Lao Studies S2 : 34 – 53 . Holbraad , Martin . 2009 . “ Ontography and Alterity: Defining Anthropological Truth .” Social Analysis 53 ( 2 ): 80 – 93