By Michael Herzfeld
Utilizing Greek ethnography as a reflect for an ethnography of anthropology itself, this publication finds the ways that the self-discipline of anthropology is ensnared within the related political and social symbolism as its item of research. the writer pushes the comparative objectives of anthropology past the conventional separation of tribal item from indifferent clinical observer, and gives the self-discipline a serious resource of reflexive perception in response to empirical ethnography instead of on ideological hypothesis by myself.
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Extra resources for Anthropology through the Looking-Glass: Critical Ethnography in the Margins of Europe
It is this reflection of a historicist conceptual heritage that makes anthropological writing so immediately comparable to romantic nationalism. The analogy here is between, on the one hand, the relation between an undying Greekness and the allegedly transient disfigurement of Turkish influence; and, on the other, eternal structure and passing event. Of course, process and Turkishness are also both idealizations, albeit negative ones. " It is entirely possible to reify event and process, as well as other useful notions such as indeterminacy.
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.
The Babel narrative focusses more specifically on the persistent and inconvenient diversity of cultural forms, which was a punishment for disobedience to the Divine Will; it begins the process of converting divinely ordained imperfection into cultural autonomy that was to reach its greatest secular elaboration in the nationalisms of the nineteenth century. Conversely, the story of Genesis retraces humanity's unified origin, while the ecumenicalism of Christ's message proclaims an eventual redemption in unity rediscovered.
Anthropology through the Looking-Glass: Critical Ethnography in the Margins of Europe by Michael Herzfeld