Silvio Carta

Orientalism, space, and cultural anthropology

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Orientalism, Space, Culture, Natives, Showcase Approach.

This paper uses Said's Orientalism (1978) and its impact on the discipline of anthropology as a lens for analyzing the ways in which old formulations of the «culture» construct demark the stability and uniformity of distinctive populations. To the ethnographic gaze, the «natives» are defined in spatial terms as those who inhabit black wholes of marginalisation. Significantly, the anthropological map of the world is divided into zones that link culturally defined themes to human groups that inhabit specific locations in space. The paper argues that the techniques of cultural critique in anthropology depend on the fabrication of otherness but also on us/them juxtapositions that represent alien cultures as static inversions of Western ideas, and that this contrastive operation is both politically unacceptable and epistemologically weak.

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