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Mestizo Logics: Anthropology of Identity in Africa and Elsewhere

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1997 Paperback Fair Notes and underlining. Open Books is a Non-profit literacy organization and proceeds from the sale benefit literacy programs.

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Overview

This innovative work seeks to reverse the perspective and reasoning of anthropology and to develop an alternative mode of conceiving culture that would not automatically privilege the colonizing West. That necessarily involves a critique of the "ethnological reason” that extracts elements from their context, aestheticizes them, and then uses their supposed differences to classify types of political, economic, or religious ensembles. Such "reason” yields classical oppositions like the State versus segmentary societies, market versus subsistence economies, and Islam or Christianity versus paganism.
As an alternative, the author opposes to exclusionary categories a "mestizo logic” that sees social phenomena as situated on a continuum and accentuates indistinction and the originary syncretism in all cultures and other ways of categorizing human life. The book’s rich source material is drawn from the author’s fifteen years of fieldwork and research in West Africa.
The opening chapters first treat the notion of ethnological reason—its history and ideological practices—then oppose to it the reality of cultural tension, the fact that conflicts and negotiations bring about transformations in the identity of collectivities. The following two chapters illustrate a real system of transformation, and question some basic concepts of political anthropology. The discussion continues in a more illustrative manner over the next two chapters, which present case studies of two West African societies that challenge typologies of political anthropology and ethnographic classification.
The last three chapters—on white paganism, cultural identities and cultural models, and understanding and acting—situate the debate within a wider historical framework of political and cultural confrontations. Who defines "ethnicities,” "identities,” "differences”? Where can one find them as pure essences witnessing to their own originary beings?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804724319
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1997
  • Series: Mestizo Spaces/Espaces Metisses Series
  • Pages: 229
  • Product dimensions: 5.51 (w) x 8.52 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface to the English-Language Edition
Translator's Note
Introduction 1
1 Ethnological Reason 5
2 Tensions Within Culture 25
3 Fulani, Bambara, Malinke: A System of Transformations 43
4 The State and the Segmentary 58
5 A Retracted State: Gwanan 74
6 A Dominated Segmentary State: Jitumu 94
7 White Paganism 117
8 Cultural Identities and Cultural Models 136
9 Understand in Order to Act: Mestizo Logics 151
Notes 165
Bibliography 191
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