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Tag: social and cultural constructs

Are anthropologists getting sick of culture?

Image: Berghahn Books

By Matthias Teeuwen  Lately I have been captivated by what some call ‘existential anthropology’. It started when I found a book in the library aptly called: ‘What is Existential Anthropology?’ edited by Michael Jackson and Albert Piette.

Jackson and Piette lament the fact that the human being has nearly disappeared from academic writing in social and cultural anthropology. The human subject seems to have been replaced by abstract social concepts and cultural mechanisms in anthropological literature. In his contribution, Laurent Denizeau mentions an uneasy realisation that authors of literature often seem more capable to seize concrete human existence in their novels than authors of ethnographies. The essays expose a tendency amongst anthropologists ‘to reduce lived reality to culturally or socially constructed representations’ (Jackson and Piette, 2015:3).