artigos e ensaios - 1997 / Mariza Peirano

Where is anthropology?

"Despite their pretense, the declaredly egalitarian, yet to be routinized, cross-cultural dialogues are never in fact between equals, for the absence of a fully governing convention, of a mutually acceptable third, fosters hierarchy — a (silent) assertion of authority over, an 'understanding' of, the position of the interlocutor. (Or its opposite.) There is little to mediate — to attenuate — the challenge each participant, coming, as it were, from somewhere else, poses to the other".

(Vincent Crapanzano 1991)

"An alliance of multiple interests and perspectives is often a stronger political and social force than attempts to enforce a unitary movement".

(Michael M.J. Fischer 1994)

1. Classics, theoretical history and anthropology in context

Within the transnational communities of the social sciences, a common ideology that fosters ideals of universality and cements social relations between scientists of various origins is indispensable. It is within this sociological context that classics are situated. The systematic reading of texts considered to be classics initiate students in a tradition that, in the case of anthropology, consists of those practitioners who are knowlegeable of the ethnographic corpus of certain key authors who brought the exotic into the awareness of the west and used it two ways: not only in the obvious and banal chore of serving as an existential mirror, but also with the responsibility of refining a theoretical apparatus with universalist pretensions. The classics of a discipline are, therefore, sociologically necessary and theoretically indispensable creations through which practitioners identify and reproduce themselves in diverse academic contexts; they make possible the existence of a community of social scientists, from which is derived both its singular relevance and its continuity.Leia na íntegra...