By Roy Wagner
Coyote Anthropologyshatters anthropology's vaunted theories of practice and offers a radical and comprehensive alternative for the new century. Building on his seminal contributions to symbolic analysis, Roy Wagner repositions anthropology at the heart of the creation of meaning- in terms of what it perceives, how it goes about representing its subjects, and how it understands and legitimizes itself. Of particular concern is that meaning is comprehended and created through a complex and continually unfolding process predicated onwhat is not there- the unspoken, the unheard, the unknown- as much as on what is there. Such powerful absences, described by Wagner as "anti-twins," are crucial for the invention of cultures and any discipline that proposes to study them. As revealed through conversations between Wagner and Coyote, his anti-twin, a coyote anthropology should be as much concerned with absence as with presence in cultures if it is to depict accurately the dynamic and creative worlds of others. Furthermore, Wagner suggests that anthropologists not only be aware of what informs and conditions their discipline but also understand the range of necessary exclusions that permit anthropology to do what it does. Sly and enticing, probing and startling,Coyote Anthropologybeckons anthropologists to draw closer to the center of all things, known and unknown.