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When Nothing Stands Outside the Self

André Iteanu

In anthropology, as well as in the other disciplines that constitute social science, it becomes increasingly clear that the notions of society and of the social, such as developed by the inventors of sociology, are gradually marginalized or, if I can use a term drawn from psychology, repressed. Consequently, the space that formerly constituted a fertile object of research has been fragmented. This situation is worrying, especially for the survival of an independent social analysis and critique. If the notion of sociality is no longer acceptable, then as Derrida puts it: “Each time, no matter how faithful one wants to be, one betrays the singularity of the other one addressed” (2004: 12).1 Then, finally, as the other has become to a large extend unreachable, each time one considers a social question, the next minute, it falls into pieces and returns to dust like an “uneducable ghost who has never learned to live” (ibid.).

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