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ANTH 2700: Key debates in anthropology
Social Sciences Building 410 (A02)
Week of May 16, 2022 (Week 12)
Slides available at http://anthro.rschram.org/2700/2022/12
Main reading: Blaser (2016)
Other reading: Blaser (2013)
A recent encounter with “culture.”
An influential definition of political ecology is
“…the constantly shifting dialectic between society and land-based resources, and also within classes and groups within society itself” (Blaikie 1987, 17; see also Watts 1983).
“[T]he world of humankind constitutes a manifold, a totality of interconnected processes…” (Wolf 1984, 3).
Political ecology has its own “world-picture” in which nature and culture are separate. Imagine a map with many layers
Wolf calls on us to abandon the assumption of isolate social systems, but political ecology isolates human communities in another sense—on a separate map layer.
The central character of any historical narrative of modern progress is a specific version of the rational individual.
The story goes:
Similarly, stories of social progress depict a society moving from tradition, stasis, and dependence to mastery of itself
Do we live in a universe of many natures?
Should ethnography describe more than cultural difference?
Should anthropology posit multiple humanities?
Blaikie, Piers M. 1987. Land degradation and society. London ; New York : Methuen. http://archive.org/details/landdegradations0000blai.
Blaser, Mario. 2013. “Ontological Conflicts and the Stories of Peoples in Spite of Europe: Toward a Conversation on Political Ontology.” Current Anthropology 54 (5): 547–68. https://doi.org/10.1086/672270.
———. 2016. “Is Another Cosmopolitics Possible?” Cultural Anthropology 31 (4): 545–70. https://doi.org/10.14506/ca31.4.05.
Latour, Bruno. 1993. We Have Never Been Modern. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Watts, Michael J. 1983. Silent Violence: Food, Famine, and Peasantry in Northern Nigeria. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Wolf, Eric R. 1982. Europe and the People Without History. Berkeley: University of California Press.