Download Anthropology and Egalitarianism: Ethnographic Encounters by Eric Gable PDF

By Eric Gable

Anthropology and Egalitarianism is an crafty and obtainable creation to key topics in cultural anthropology. Writing in a deeply own kind and utilizing fabric from his fieldwork in 3 dramatically various locales—Indonesia, West Africa, and Monticello, the historical domestic of Thomas Jefferson—Eric Gable indicates why the ethnographic stumble upon is the middle of the discipline's strategy and the foundation of its targeted contribution to knowing the human . Gable weaves jointly vignettes from the sphere and dialogue of significant works as he explores the advance of the belief of tradition in the course of the adventure of cultural distinction, anthropology's fraught courting to racism and colonialism, and different enduring issues.

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Sample text

I felt like an adventurer. The dog at the Jakarta restaurant, like the dog in the Manjaco village, did not really taste good to me, even though the flavor itself was fine, more or less familiar, but the thought of dogs—barking, jumping, playing catch, being pets—made the taste more or less irrelevant. Again, I felt that feeling of mild repugnance, yet I could pretend otherwise, even to the point of tricking my own taste buds. As I ate, my companions looked at me in befuddlement. ” one old man, one of the priestly officiants at the ceremony, asked.

Eating together brings people into communion, makes for a community. In both places people encouraged me to become a member of their community. This is what people in the West expect, given our collective understanding of what primitive societies are like. And our expectations are generally on target. Go to any village anywhere in any of those out-of-the-way places that used to be anthropology’s primary research locations, and, if you’d read Rousseau’s Essay on Inequality or Mauss’s The Gift beforehand, you’d be prepared for their generosity.

This king, named Mango, was known for his avarice. He had used Portuguese decrees about corvée labor to force villagers to farm peanut fields he owned rather than to work on projects that served the public good. As one story goes, King Mango refused to eat fish or chicken, but craved only goat meat or pork. Each day he sent his sons off to confiscate livestock from the villagers. Should they complain, he called in the colonial police—the cipaios or sepoys—to beat them. ” If the hunter took his prey, but by killing only males ensured there would always be prey for others, then Mango by contrast was a selfish destroyer effectively cannibalizing his kingdom.

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