Anthropology and its Many Modernities: When Concepts Matter

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Abstract

This article provides a critical review of the multiple modernities paradigm used in anthropology today. The article also indicates how the work of anthropologists intersects with social theory and historical sociology. It will be argued that by pointing to multiple or alternative modernities in attempts to ‘liberate’ modernity from its Eurocentric, modernistic connotations, anthropologists re-inject modernity itself with new value. It will be questioned whether this is ultimately a meaningful strategy. With reference to certain branches of social theory, the article develops a position from which the multiple modernities paradigm may be readdressed. This position is based upon a recognition of the particularity of European modernity, and its defining characteristic: a continuous stress on transformation and transgression, a state of ‘permanent liminality’.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftJournal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
Vol/bind18
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)160-178
Antal sider18
ISSN1359-0987
StatusUdgivet - 1 mar. 2012
Udgivet eksterntJa

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