What could a dialogical anthropology look like? That is, an anthropology where production of knowledge is premised on a close collaboration with research subjects, which is acutely mindful of the power relations inherent in such relationships as well as of the possible multiple publics through which such products could circulate. This article provides an inquiry into the possibility of this form of dialogical engagement, debating the notion of the 'public' of anthropological products and the 'uses' of such products. It discusses the work of some authors who have also been engaged with these themes before going on to provide examples of texts that have attempted to put this approach into practice.
Udi Mandel Butler
Dialogical Teaching and Art as Performative
In this article, I consider the definition and use of the term dialogue in museum education, focusing on the work of Rika Burnham and Elliot Kai-Kee, whose ramifications for art itself have often been sidelined by educators. First, I examine the relationship between Burnham and Kai-Kee’s theory of education and Hans-Georg Gadamer’s and John Dewey’s writing on art, arguing that dialogical museum teaching implicitly relies on a definition of art as performative. Then, I explore the ramifications of Gadamer’s and Dewey’s definition of art as performative for the field of museum education. Finally, I argue that by understanding art as an active participant in our encounters with it—and by refocusing our attention on art’s role in museum educational practice—we create a radically new argument for museums as educational institutions that bring people and art into dialogue with each other.
The essay provides a review of a small but remarkable book on the work of two important Native American and Siberian poets, Meditations after the Bear Feast by Navarre Scott Momaday and Yuri Vella, published in 2016 by Shanti Arts in Brunswick, Maine. Their poetic dialogue revolves around the well-known role of the bear as a sociocultural keystone species in the boreal forest zone of Eurasia and North America. The essay analyzes the understanding of dialogicity as shaping the intersubjectivity of the poets emerging from human relationships with the environment. It tries to unpack the complex and prophetic bear dream in one of Vella’s poems in which he links indigenous ontologies with urgent sociopolitical problems.
Changing Modern Institutional Forms—Disciplines and Nation-States
Filipe Carreira da Silva and Mónica Brito Vieira
The article begins with the assumption that modernity is undergoing a profound change. The focus is on the structural transformation of two typical modern institutional regimes: the academic discipline and the territorial nation-state. Their demise as the predominant institutional forms in the realms of science and politics signals the end of the modern project—or at least the need for its profound redefinition. It is suggested that such a redefinition entails a radical conceptual shift in the social sciences and that the meta-theoretical expression of this shift can be designated as 'dialogical pluralism'. At a theoretical level, both modernization theories and the recent program of 'multiple modernities' are rejected. A plural modernity, with several distinct varieties, seems a more promising perspective.
Accounts of early European travelers show ample textual evidences of travelers oscillating between the cultural and religious biases and prejudices that obviously conditioned them and a candid sense of wonder and admiration that directly contradicted inherited stereotypes of one kind or another. In the process such travelogues, letters, and observations not only become sites of ambivalence and hybridity but also testify to processes of “cultural mobility” (Greenblatt et al. 2010) and attendant self-fashioning that did not conform to the racial and imperial con- structs generated by the “White Man’s Burden” at a later date. This article examines such issues through an analysis of the descriptions and letters of Thomas Coryat, who wandered across Mughal India between 1612 to 1617. What emerges through his accounts is an interstitial perspective that fosters a vision of cultural mobility without the teleological triumphalism often associated with empire and theology.
Triggering Critical Reflexive Stances on Ritual Action in Togo
the dialogical but also action-oriented nature of the rite are central. Kabye Rites and Their Socio-historical Context Numbering around 1.1 million as of 2015, 4 the Kabye population is a Voltaïc-speaking people and represents the second
Notes toward an Ethnography of Religious Belief and Doubt
Paul-François Tremlett and Fang-Long Shih
New Atheism is characterized by a binary logic that pits religion against science, belief against doubt, a pre-modern past against a modern present. It generates a temporal sensibility and attitude toward being modern that is a 'survival' of late-nineteenth-century anthropology, where religious belief and the past were bound together in opposition to science and the present. We analyze this binary logic and then, in response, present two ethnographic accounts—one from the Philippines, the other from Taiwan—to support our contention that religion is not just a matter of personal convictions. Rather, it is a public practice in which belief and doubt are constituted socially and dialogically.
Adam Drazin and Simon Roberts
Ethnographic work conducted by the Digital Health Group, Intel Ireland, explores the questions of how concepts of health and independence relate to peoples' lives in later life. This paper serves to present artistic approaches to the design of the material culture in elderly homes in Ireland, and aims to highlight and discuss the merits and problems of such approaches. Through writing 'in miniature' about specific experiences and homes, we propose that it is possible to develop explorations of material objects in the home which, rather than presenting material contexts as terminal 'conclusions' to the research process, use them as provoking and questioning resources for engaged dialogical encounters with informants.
Feminist critiques of deliberative democracy have focused on the abstraction, impartiality and rationality of mainstream accounts of deliberation. This paper explores the claim, common to many of these critiques, that these features are problematic because they are gendered, and that a more women-friendly account of democracy would embrace corporeality, contextuality and the affective. While acknowledging the merit of such a claim, the paper nonetheless suggests that the pursuit of social justice and democratic inclusion actually leads many feminists to embrace a modified account of deliberative democracy, albeit in a modified account form. This can be explained by the dialogical conception of impartiality offered by theories of deliberative democracy. The paper suggests that the embrace of deliberative democracy by feminist theorists is a positive move, to be more widely acknowledged. Moreover, once acknowledged, feminists have much to offer deliberative democrats in terms of considering what the pursuit of dialogic impartiality might entail. If conceived as demanding both a 'lack of bias' and 'inclusivity', attention needs to be focused squarely on the issue of inclusion, and the institutional and material conditions for securing inclusion in deliberation.
Maria-Amelia Viteri and Aaron Tobler
This article illustrates the multiple ways in which anthropology graduate students crossed the boundaries of educational discourses by encouraging themselves, other students, activists and community leaders to speak in dialogical contexts (Giroux 2005: 73). They did this through the organisation of the Interrogating Diversity Conference. The authors organised this conference in March 2007 at the American University, Washington, DC, to expand scholarship on surveillance and policing in an egalitarian forum. We discuss how students can engage their departments and faculty in building the students' knowledge of both anthropological theories and methodology through shared scholarship. We show how students can 'apply' anthropology to audiences, which will in turn influence policy decision making. In addition, the authors explore how academics can transform knowledge sharing into tools that shape broader political and social dialogue.