Category Archives: Anthropology

Slurpy, mergy, touchy-feely notions of interpersonal being

Wow, this post really sprawled out. It hits a lot of my enduring interests. I’m not sure it is suitable for reading. It might just be a personal journal entry written to myself. Feel free to eavesdrop if you wish, … Continue reading

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“The many faces of research”

I just realized I never re-posted my October 2010 article summarizing James Spradley’s incredibly cool way of defining different types of research — by the role of the participant vis a vis the researcher. Here’s the text: Anyone who has ever commissioned, … Continue reading

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“God Is Not Dead”

A church in my neighborhood put a flyer in my mailbox inviting me to a screening of “God Is Not Dead.” I decided to go and see it and to meet the people at the church. The film was interesting, … Continue reading

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Pluritarian Pluriversalism

To someone born into an autistic universe controlled by a single set of strictly logical natural laws, the experience of empathy and the subsequent revelation of an empathic pluriverse redefines the meaning of miracle, and of transcendence, and of religion. … Continue reading

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Anthropology of anthropologies

To understand another person try understanding how he understands other people. Who are other people to him? We are not only who others think we are; perhaps even more we are who we think others are.

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Lost in the concrete, lost in the abstract

Watching an occurrence is one kind of observation. Seeing a pattern is another. However, it is rare to find either observation in anything approaching pure form. When we observe an occurrence, often what we are most witnessing is the repetition of … Continue reading

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Ingold on animism

From Tim Ingold’s Being Alive: In one of the most original and provocative discussions of materiality to have appeared in recent years, Peter Pels characterises the logic of this argument as animist: ‘a way of saying that things are alive … Continue reading

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Practical philosophical reductionism

Less than a month ago I observed I’d collected three anti-method books in my library: After Method, Beyond Method, Against Method, and noted the absence of Before Method, Within Method, For Method. I forgot that I also own For and … Continue reading

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Anthropology = empirical metaphysics

From Reassembling the Social: What ANT does is that it keeps asking the following question: Since every sociologist loads things into social ties to give them enough weight to account for their durability and extension, why not do this explicitly … Continue reading

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A short-lived fashion from the turn of the millennium?

At the end of her 2000 article “Ethnography in the Field of Design” Christina Wasson issued some warnings: Although ethnography enjoys a great deal of popularity in the design field at present, I want to close with a cautionary eye … Continue reading

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Design and the social system

Talcot Parsons, from The Social System: Reduced to the simplest possible terms, then, a social system consists in a plurality of individual actors interacting with each other in a situation which has at least a physical or environmental aspect, actors … Continue reading

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Geertz on irony

Geertz: (From his essay “Thinking as a Moral Act”): “Irony rests, of course, on a perception of the way in which reality derides merely human views of it, reduces grand attitudes and large hopes to self-mockery. The common forms of … Continue reading

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