Download PDF by Michael Herzfeld: Anthropology through the Looking-Glass: Critical Ethnography

By Michael Herzfeld

ISBN-10: 0521389089

ISBN-13: 9780521389082

Utilizing Greek ethnography as a reflect for an ethnography of anthropology itself, this booklet unearths the ways that the self-discipline of anthropology is ensnared within the comparable political and social symbolism as its item of research. the writer pushes the comparative pursuits of anthropology past the normal separation of tribal item from indifferent clinical observer, and provides the self-discipline a serious resource of reflexive perception in line with empirical ethnography instead of on ideological hypothesis on my own.

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Additional info for Anthropology through the Looking-Glass: Critical Ethnography in the Margins of Europe

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Cultural disunity produced political disarray: the Greeks' persistent fractiousness inspired the rueful proverb, "Twelve Greeks [make] thirteen captains" (see Friedl 1962:105), by which is meant that no two Greeks can ever agree on any plan of action. This reproduces the view from outside: at the time of the struggle for independence, for example, western observers saw in the Greeks' lack of organization and political unity a typically oriental character trait (see St. Clair 1972:35-8, 75-7). Then again, the absence of linguistic uniformity in spoken Greek became the butt of an aptly named nineteenth-century satire, Vavilonia ("Babylon" < Babel) (Vizandios 1840).

Throughout the book, however, in a Vichian mode as I have just sketched it, we shall constantly be in search of the etymologies of the dominant images, of the symbols whereby one social group legitimizes its power over others at multiple levels: international bloc over constituent small nation, state over local community, one sex or class over another. These etymologies of power and subordination are the means whereby anthropology has reacted against inclusion in the same framework as its object, and through which we may now initiate a critique of that reaction.

Holden 1972). ) constructed a Herodotean genealogy for modern anthropological comparativism. g. Penniman 1974:24-6; cf. also Pandian 1984:102-3). " For her, ironically, the first post-Classical, partially modern eth- Romanticism and Hellenism: burdens of otherness 19 nologist was Columbus (Hodgen 1964:20); she too literally anticipated the current critical interest in the New World's impact on the development of images of the Other (see Bucher 1981; Todorov 1984). Through another irony that seems to have escaped Hodgen's notice, Herodotus himself very aptly prefigured the ideological uses of the concept of Europe where she instead treated it as a literal entity: he vacillated on the question of whether the Scythians - a buffer zone between Greeks and true barbarians - were truly European in a cultural or even a geographical sense (Hartog 1980).

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Anthropology through the Looking-Glass: Critical Ethnography in the Margins of Europe by Michael Herzfeld


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