Mestizo Logics: Anthropology of Identity in Africa and - download pdf or read online

By Jean-Loup Amselle

ISBN-10: 0804724296

ISBN-13: 9780804724296

This cutting edge paintings seeks to opposite the viewpoint and reasoning of anthropology and to enhance an alternate mode of conceiving tradition that will no longer instantly privilege the colonizing West. That unavoidably includes a critique of the “ethnological cause” that extracts parts from their context, aestheticizes them, after which makes use of their meant changes to categorise different types of political, financial, or spiritual ensembles. Such “reason” yields classical oppositions just like the nation as opposed to segmentary societies, marketplace as opposed to subsistence economies, and Islam or Christianity as opposed to paganism.As an alternate, the writer opposes to exclusionary different types a “mestizo common sense” that sees social phenomena as located on a continuum and accentuates indistinction and the originary syncretism in all cultures and alternative ways of categorizing human existence. The book’s wealthy resource fabric is drawn from the author’s fifteen years of fieldwork and study in West Africa.The beginning chapters first deal with the suggestion of ethnological reason—its background and ideological practices—then oppose to it the truth of cultural pressure, the truth that conflicts and negotiations lead to adjustments within the id of collectivities. the next chapters illustrate a true process of transformation, and query a few uncomplicated techniques of political anthropology. The dialogue keeps in a extra illustrative demeanour over the subsequent chapters, which current case reports of 2 West African societies that problem typologies of political anthropology and ethnographic classification.The final 3 chapters—on white paganism, cultural identities and cultural versions, and figuring out and acting—situate the talk inside of a much wider ancient framework of political and cultural confrontations. Who defines “ethnicities,” “identities,” “differences”? the place can one locate them as natural essences witnessing to their very own originary beings?

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All the other elements in the picture—the increasing ineffectiveness of the army, the bureaucratization of the late imperial state, the shift of cultural life from the cities to the countryside—seem to gain their specific gravity from their connection with the factor of slavery. Max weber and the theory of ancient capitalism 23 But, on the detailed question of slave numbers and the causes of their fluctuation, Weber’s arguments when scrutinized are actually rather weak. 24 He claims to have established that slaves came to be in short supply as early as the time of the Principate by referring to the fact that inspections of the ergastula of large estates took place; apparently, the large landowners had resorted to kidnapping labourers to work deserted lands.

In The Agrarian Sociology the ‘backwardness’ of antiquity is never theoretically associated with the influence of so-called political capitalism. Instead, a series of comparatively unrelated factors are deemed responsible for keeping the market orientation of economic activity always below a certain level; only one of these is in any way related to tax farming (Weber mentions the unstable structure of capital formation in antiquity). Other factors listed include: the limits on market production owing to the poor development of land transport, the absence of positive incentives for work, the lack of adequate justification of the profit motive, technical limits associated with the use of slave labour, restrictions on private capital formation arising from the political interests of cities and monarchs (such as the imposition of liturgies or confiscations), the inadequacy of cost accounting.

Which is not to say that it did not have important effects in other directions. Nor does it mean that the provisioning of the needs of the masses in antiquity was not affected in any way whatsoever by forms of capitalism, political or otherwise—for example, the production of wine and olive oil was partly in the hands of private producers who, we shall see, were oriented to the market in some measure. Precisely how capitalistic these activities were, or in what precise sense they were so, is an issue to which we shall return at length in later chapters.

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Mestizo Logics: Anthropology of Identity in Africa and Elsewhere (Mestizo Spaces Espaces Metisses) by Jean-Loup Amselle


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