Metaphysical Community

Metaphysical Community

by Greg Urban


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Metaphysical Community by Greg Urban

Winner, Senior Book Prize, American Ethnological Society

Starting with the post-structuralist idea that truth systems are lodged in discourse, and that discourse varies from society to society, Greg Urban seeks to discover the nature and extent of that variation. His journey to an Amerindian society in which dreams are more prominent than everyday aspects of the sensible world leads him to radically reformulate one of the main problematics of Western thought: the relationship between our sensations of the world and the understandings we form of them.

Metaphysical Community proposes that this dichotomy comes from the interplay between two sides of discourse-its intelligible side as a carrier of meanings, and its sensible side as thing-in-the-world that must be replicated. This insight leads to the heart of the book-the exploration of the uneasy tension that binds experience and understanding, phenomena and noumena.

Urban challenges basic assumptions that underlie social and cultural anthropology and much of the social sciences and humanities. His provocative insights will be of interest to all those concerned with anthropology, cultural studies, literary criticism, the sociology and politics of culture, and philosophy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780292785298
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication date: 02/15/1996
Pages: 308
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.69(d)

About the Author

Greg Urban is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • 1. A Tapir's Heart
  • 2. We the Living
  • 3. The Hole in the Sky
  • 4. A Lock of Hair in a Ball of Wax
  • 5. The Jaguar's Spots
  • 6. This Is Your Making
  • 7. Rocks That Talk
  • 8. Between Myth and Dream
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index

What People are Saying About This

Benjamin Lee

Benjamin Lee, Director, Center for Transcultural Studies, Chicago

The only ethnographic work on a small scale society by a linguistic anthropologist which is accessible to scholars in other disciplines. . . . A major and distinct voice on how language and culture work together.

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