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Culture and Authenticity / Edition 1

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Overview

Authenticity is taken for granted as an absolute value in contemporary life. We speak of authentic art, music, food, dance, and people. Authenticity can be found in moments of extreme danger, in the pleasures of carnival, in the taste of champagne. As anthropologist Charles Lindholm shows in this engaging new book, the hope for an authentic experience draws us to charismatic leaders, expressive artists, and social movements; it makes us into trendy consumers, creative performers, and fanatical collectors. It also can lead to the bloodshed of ethnic cleansing.

In Culture and Authenticity, Lindholm argues that the pervasive desire for authenticity is a consequence of a modern loss of faith and meaning. Authenticity, in its many guises, offers seekers a sense of belonging, connection, and solidity. Yet, even as authenticity has become more valued, it has become more elusive and remote. Calling upon anthropological case studies from different cultures, historical material, and comparative philosophy, he explores how notions of authenticity develop, what forms it takes, and how it changes over time. This exciting text takes us on a journey of the human quest for the authentic, and how it has been imagined, described, analyzed, and realized by individuals and collectives.

About the Author:
Charles Lindholm is a University Professor of Anthropology at Boston University. He is the author of six books and numerous articles, many of them on topics related to idealization and the nature of human spirituality

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This is a wonderful book, illuminating a phenomenon that is of vital import for modern man's sense of identity. Wise and witty, Culture and Authenticity is anthropology at its very best.”
Sudhir Kakar, INSEAD, Fontainbleau, France

“No concept is more defining of the paradox of modernity than authenticity. In this lucid text Lindholm, from a stance of anthropological respect, proves an ideal guide to its myriad consequences.”
Daniel Miller, University College London

“Through a wealth of examples Charles Lindholm probes the cultural currency of ‘authenticity,’ how individuals and groups invest in goods and values as diverse as authentic food, authentic art, music and dance, or authentic roots and national identities. This is a stimulating and suggestive foray in psychological anthropology.”
Michael Donnelly, Bard College

“Lindholm brings a sharp sense of history, the full range of the best contemporary anthropology, and a quick wit to the topic of culture and authenticity, in this very readable and thoughtful book.”
Richard Wilk, Indiana University

“During the past two decades, the issue of identity, its politics, the search for authenticity and roots has become explosively present on a world scale. This book is the first to my knowledge to have directly taken up the question of the nature of authenticity in anthropology and among the people that anthropologists study. It is a timely as well as systematic discussion of one of the crucial issues of our time. The book should be required reading for researchers and students alike.”
Jonathan Friedman, Lund University

“In this beautifully written and accessible book, Charles Lindholm, a renowned anthropologist, dares to bring us back to the days of a broad comparative study of culture. Lindholm provides an insightful, sweeping account of authenticity across time and space, in chapters that cover a wide range of topics, such as art, cuisine, ethnicity, citizenship, and religious fundamentalism. The underlying message of this important book is that the reports of the death of the authentic in the post-modern world have been greatly exaggerated. Dramatic social change and globalization have only intensified the on-going human quest for tradition and the elusive anchors of home and hearth.”
Roy Richard Grinker, George Washington University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405124423
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/1/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 188
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Lindholm is a University Professor of Anthropology at Boston University. He is the author of six books and numerous articles, many of them on topics related to idealization and the nature of human spirituality.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vii
Introduction     1
Defining Authenticity     1
Why Authenticity Emerged     3
The Inventor of Authenticity     8
Personal Authenticity     11
Authenticity and Art     13
Totems, Relics, and the Origins of Art     13
The Cult of the Artist and the Romance of the Primitive     16
Parody, Appropriation, and Desacralization     21
Authenticity and Music     25
History Versus Heart in Classical Music     25
Real Music about Real Life for Real People     29
Marketing Authentic Performance     35
Seeking Authenticity in Travel and Adventure     39
Real Life is Elsewhere     39
Staging Authenticity     43
The Whole Adrenaline Thing     47
The Commodification of Authenticity     52
Get the Genuine!     52
The Dialectic of Authenticity and Imitation     56
Who Buys What in the Marketplace of the Soul?     59
Authenticity and the Self     65
Marketing Feeling     65
Ecstatic Religion and Improvised Style     67
Saving the World for Pleasure     71
CollectiveAuthenticity     75
Authentic Cuisine and National Identity     77
Inventing Real Belizean Food     77
If Real Italians Eat Pasta, Do Real Indians Eat Curry?     80
Terroir, Power, and French Cuisine     83
Authentic Dance and National Identity     88
Collective Identity and the Speech That Cannot Lie     88
Without Rumba There Is No Cuba     91
Tango: The Dance of the Scream     94
Modes of Authenticity in the Nation-State     98
Primordial Nationalism     98
Who Belongs?     103
Missionary Politics     108
Israel and Authentic Jewish Identity     112
Defining Jews, Founding Israel     112
Jews on Horseback     115
The Poly-Ethnic Theme Park     118
Authenticity On the Margins     125
Genes Make the Tribe     125
First Nations: Identity and Identification     128
The Empty Center and the Tears That Bind     133
Conclusion     139
An Anthropology of Authenticity     141
Notes     146
Bibliography     160
Index     169
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