Radical Egalitarianism: Local Realities, Global Relations

Radical Egalitarianism: Local Realities, Global Relations

Radical Egalitarianism: Local Realities, Global Relations

Radical Egalitarianism: Local Realities, Global Relations

Synopsis

In this volume, leading scholars in anthropology, religion, and area studies engage global and local perspectives dialectically to develop a historically grounded, ethnographically driven social science.The book's chapters, drawing on research in East and Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas, are also in conversation with the extensive work of editor and contributor Stanley J. Tambiah: They all investigate some aspect of what Tambiah has called "multiple orientations to the world." Theimplicit focus throughout is on human cultural differences and the historically constituted nature of the political potentialities (both positive and negative) that stem from these. As a whole, then, the volume promotes an approach to scholarship that actively avoids privileging any one conceptualframework or cultural form at the expense of recognizing another - a style of inquiry that the editors call "radical egalitarianism."Together, these scholars encourage a comparative examination of contemporary societies, provide insights into the historical development of social scientific and sociopolitical categories, and raise vital questions about the possibilities for achieving equality and justice in the presence ofcompeting realities in the global world today. Michael M.J. Fischer's Afterword provides a brilliant exegesis of Tambiah's multifaceted oeuvre, outlining the primary themes that inform his scholarship and, by extension, all the chapters in this book.

Excerpt

Felicity Aulino and Miriam Goheen

This book represents a form of historically grounded, ethnographically driven anthropology that seeks to understand social phenomena by dialogically engaging global and local perspectives. As a whole, it promotes an approach to scholarship that actively avoids privileging any one conceptual framework or cultural form at the expense of recognizing another—a style of engagement that we are calling radical egalitarianism. the papers collected here provide examples of such an approach through original ethnographic and theoretical contributions that stem from research in Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Assembled into a single volume, these chapters allow for a comparative examination of contemporary societies along several avenues of inquiry.

All of the contributors to this volume are in conversation with some aspect of the work of Stanley J. Tambiah. From his earliest research on village agriculture and land tenure in Sri Lanka to his recent engagement with issues of reproductive technologies and perceptions of the self among Sri Lankan immigrants, Tambiah’s work has demonstrated remarkable breadth and depth in both topic and theoretical . . .

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