Academic journal article Mankind Quarterly

Mestizo Logics: Anthropology of Identity in Africa and Elsewhere

Academic journal article Mankind Quarterly

Mestizo Logics: Anthropology of Identity in Africa and Elsewhere

Article excerpt

Mestizo Logics: Anthropology of Identity in Africa and Elsewhere

Jean-Loup Amselle translated by Claudia Royal Stanford University Press, Stanford 1998

Attuned to current world trends the author approaches ethnography in a way that seeks to perceive social phenomena as a continuum. Societies which were formerly so sufficiently distinct that they were able to develop their own syncretic culture which married formerly diverse influences into a harmonious who lent themselves to a structural approach. But with the current world in rapid cultural transition, such ordered societies are now rare, and most contemporary ethnography needs to recognize the cultural tension that characterizes most of the societies today's ethnographers study.

The author presumably uses the term Mestizo, in his study of certain West African societies, to refer to a syncretic form of animism and fetishism which resulted partially from the efforts of the French to educate the Blacks in order to prevent them from losing their own identity through conversion and subjugation by neighboring Islamic peoples and partially from the influence of Islam itself. …

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