Critically Modern: Alternatives, Alterities, Anthropologies by Bruce M. Knauft

By Bruce M. Knauft

"Critically glossy makes a serious intervention in a single of the nice debates of the instant. It bargains quite a few wealthy and engaging empirical analyses of 'modern' phenomena from various societies, and contributes a robust (and mostly lacking) voice to the becoming literature on globalization and modernity outdoor anthropology." -- Charles Piot"In those essays thought and ethnography are provided in ways in which lead them to together enriching. The quantity may still attract students around the complete diversity of disciplines that deal with modernity and/or globalization." -- Edward LiPumaAre there a number of methods of being "modern" within the international at the present time? How do humans in numerous elements of the area develop into smooth of their personal targeted methods? Does the present concentrate on modernity within the social sciences resurrect a sequence of dichotomies ("traditional" and "modern," "the West" and "the Rest," "developed" and "undeveloped") that social theorists have sought to maneuver past in contemporary years? Or do inflections of modernity catch key positive factors of ideology and effect within the modern international? Combining wealthy ethnographic research with incisive theoretical reviews, this well timed quantity is sure to make an immense mark in anthropology and in all similar fields during which modernity is a important problematic.Contributors: Donald L. Donham, Robert J. Foster, Jonathan Friedman, Ivan Karp, John D. Kelly, Bruce M. Knauft, Lisa B. Rofel, Debra A. Spitulnik, Michel-Rolph Trouillot, and Holly Wardlow.

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As such, they illustrate how research on the process of becoming alternatively modern can put us intimately in touch with the lives and experiences of people in diverse world areas. The contributors to part 2, Lisa Rofel, Debra Spitulnik, and MichelRolph Trouillot, agree with this point of view to a certain extent. But they trouble our views of the modern more deeply. In particular, they suggest that our understandings will be inadequate if we fail to consider non-Western alterity in more fundamental terms.

Knauft 38 the Euro-American foundation or global spread of capitalism as a way to circumvent this problem. This reemphasis on the global West merely siphons its Alters into residual categories; they become new varieties of the savage slot. The Frankfurt School attempted to bridge the gap between capitalism and cultural possibility, of course. But the aestheticized results of these attempts—the legacy of Horkheimer, Adorno, and even Benjamin if one reads him critically—are not always useful for understanding what meanings, motivations, and actions are in fact informing the lives of common people in so many parts of the contemporary world.

Though the contributions may be grouped for heuristic purposes into those that are more appreciative of an alternatively modern perspective, those that stress the deeper signi¤cance of alterity, and those that emphasize other anthropological perspectives, their insights crosscut this simple alignment. All the contributors challenge us to consider the problem of modernity and its multiples in new ways. The present volume thus exempli¤es a debate between points of view that are stimulating rather than compromising of rigorous ethnographic and theoretical analysis.

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