Download Lifeworlds: Essays in Existential Anthropology by Michael Jackson PDF

By Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson’s Lifeworlds is a masterful choice of essays, the fruits of a profession geared toward realizing the connection among anthropology and philosophy. looking the truths which are present in the interstices among examiner and tested, global and observe, and physique and brain, and taking proposal from James, Dewey, Arendt, Husserl, Sartre, Camus, and, in particular, Merleau-Ponty, Jackson creates in those chapters a particular anthropological pursuit of existential inquiry. extra very important, he buttresses this philosophical method with dedicated empirical research.

Traveling from the Kuranko in Sierra Leone to the Maori in New Zealand to the Warlpiri in Australia, Jackson argues that anthropological matters regularly negotiate—imaginatively, virtually, and politically—their family members with the forces surrounding them and the assets they locate in themselves or in harmony with major others. whilst that they reflect features of the bigger international, in addition they support form it. sewing the topics, peoples, and locales of those essays right into a sustained argument for a philosophical anthropology that specializes in the areas among, Jackson bargains a realistic knowing of the way humans act to make their lives extra manageable, to understand the elusive, to counteract exterior powers, and to show summary probabilities into embodied truths.


“Lifeworlds is a rare publication, extraordinary for its intensity, scholarship, and lightness of contact. It places the complete query of anthropology’s relation to philosophy in a brand new gentle. The framing of those essays via the 1st and final bankruptcy in addition to the adventure of interpreting them as a sequence with the rippling impact of issues which are constructed via other kinds of reports and during diversified voices makes one become aware of that Michael Jackson isn't just a good ethnologist, he's additionally an incredible theoretician of anthropological wisdom. no longer many folks may have taken up such profound concerns whereas donning their scholarship so lightly.”
(Veena Das, Johns Hopkins college 2012-04-26)

“Michael Jackson is an incredibly effective ethnographer, a major reader of phenomenological and existential philosophy, and a striking author at a degree that one infrequently sees in anthropology. Lifeworlds, unsurprisingly, isn't any exception. different essays integrated right here healthy into a powerful entire that set out a compelling case for a kind of ethnography of which Jackson is likely one of the masters. The writing is powerful and the severe reflections awesome. This publication defines an method of anthropology that's resonant sufficient to problem the best types of our time.”
(Arthur Kleinman, Harvard University)

“Lifeworlds includes a stellar set of essays that advances a powerful testomony to the worth and urgent want for an existential anthropology. i do know of no different textual content that advances the sort of assertion in such wealthy and expert phrases. The writing is full of life and interesting all through, and the scholarship on which the textual content rests is robust and good proficient. Michael Jackson, one of many major and so much cutting edge anthropologists this day, attracts on a wealth of anthropological, literary, and philosophical assets to make his case at the subject. half anthropological inquiry, half philosophy, Lifeworlds sticks out within the ranks of anthropological tomes released of late.”
(Robert Desjarlais, Sarah Lawrence university)

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Additional resources for Lifeworlds: Essays in Existential Anthropology

Sample text

Thankfully, life confounds and overflows the definitions we impose upon it in the name of reason or administrative control, and it is this excess of meaning, this tendency of life to deny our attempts to bind it with words and ideas, that redeems us. Clearly, the philosophical anthropology I am outlining here implies a radical critique of the hegemonic and hypostasized role that sociocultural anthropology has accorded its pivotal concepts of the cultural and the social. This critique goes further than contesting the image of bounded human groupings, whether these are conceived to be ethnic, racial, religious, or social; it calls into question the analytical usefulness of identity thinking and demands a new vocabulary—built on such terms as 22 T h e S co p e o f E x i s t en t i a l An t h r o p o l o g y lifeworld, relatedness, intersubjectivity, coexistence, negotiation, multiplicity, potentiality, transitivity, event, paradox, ambiguity, margin, and limit.

That this is at all possible not only suggests that we possess a potentiality to live outside our comfort zones; it throws serious doubt on customary assumptions about the ontological discontinuities that are assumed to exist between polities and peoples, cultural regions, and religious traditions. In fact, ethnography shows that while many people identify themselves with a bounded culture, faith, or history whose character is considered unique, the boundaries between cultures have constantly been transgressed, blurred, and redrawn in the course of history, so that the idea of separating entire populations on the basis of singular and unvarying traits is at best a fiction and at worst an invitation to violence.

It is a problem for both thought and action because most people seem to need the consolation of a world that is in essence as rationally ordered as their thoughts about it can be, and they seem to be able to act in the world only when they are confident their actions will have a reasonable chance of achieving certain ends. Although many people accept, and even cultivate and enjoy, indeterminacy (as in games of chance and risky ventures), there is a threshold of tolerance beyond which chance ceases to be a matter of risks willingly taken and becomes an external tyranny to be desperately avoided.

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