chapter  fourteen
15 Pages

World Anthropologies

Questions
WithJohannes Fabian

The ambiguous connotations of “native” make one suspect that being native to a Western society and being native to societies that used to be the principal targets of anthropology are far from the same thing. This leads us to questions that touch upon the core of concern with world anthropologies. Practicing anthropology can be a heroic task for underpaid African colleagues working at ill-equipped institutions, and having to do with scarce funds, if any, for research or travel. It has become difficult to put oneself back into the frame of mind of our predecessors, who were certain that anthropology had an object that it had found rather than made: primitive (later traditional, premodern, developing) society/culture. A radical critique of the ethics and politics of anthropology may have been the most immediate and widely shared response to its postcolonial predicament. “World anthropologies” describes a state that already exists on some levels of discourse and practice.