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Anthropology with an Attitude: Critical Essays (Cultural by Johannes Fabian

By Johannes Fabian

This e-book collects released and unpublished paintings over the past dozen years by means of one in all today’s such a lot unique and provocative anthropologists. Johannes Fabian is celebrated open air of his self-discipline simply because his paintings so usually overcomes conventional scholarly limitations to convey clean perception to important themes in philosophy, historical past, and cultural experiences. the 1st a part of the e-book addresses questions of present severe drawback: Does it nonetheless make experience to go looking for objectivity in ethnography? What will we achieve once we invoke “context” in our interpretations? How does literacy swap the paintings of the ethnographer, and what are the bounds among ethnology and background? This half ends with a plea for convalescing negativity in our pondering tradition. the second one half extends the paintings of critique into the previous by way of interpreting the start of recent ethnography within the exploration of imperative Africa through the overdue 19th century: the justification of a systematic angle, the accumulating of ethnographic gadgets, the presentation of data in narration, and the position of recognition―given or denied―in encounters with Africans. a last essay examines how the Congolese have lower back the “imperial gaze” of Belgium by way of the paintings of serious reminiscence in well known background. the 10 chapters are framed by way of meditations at the relevance of thought and the irrelevance of the millennium.

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Extra resources for Anthropology with an Attitude: Critical Essays (Cultural Memory in the Present)

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However, sit­ uating knowledge in social contexts (or "communities") does not take care of the legitimation of knowledge, nor does it make search for foun­ dations unnecessary. It may be true, as Rorty argues, that Western phi­ losophy's quest for foundations was conducted as an appeal to higher instances that govern knowledge without being themselves subject to change. The very metaphor of foundations poses problems, promoting, as it does, a spatial image suited to a view of knowledge as structure, system, edifice-a view I do not hold.

There are those who think the quest for objectivity in ethnography must be abandoned because they claim that ethnography is not scientific and hence incapable of producing objective knowledge. Others declare that any search for objectivity is an illusion. I think that our concerns for objectivity should become more intense to the extent that the challenges multiply. In the title of this essay I suggested that recent changes in that direction involved moving from appreciation of rigor to a pursuit of vigor.

Whereas epistemology and the objec­ tivity question seem to have all but disappeared from cultural anthropol­ ogy, they found a most unlikely abode in archaeology. Thirty years ago, when attacks on misplaced scientism began to appear within cultural anthropology, the "new archaeologists" discovered Logical Positivism and saw themselves as a bastion of scientific objecrivity within anthropology. Today, archaeologists read Habermas and Bernstein (see Wylie 1989, to cite but one example) and are concerned with epistemology.

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