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Existential Anthropology

Events, Exigencies, and Effects

Michael Jackson

252 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-57181-476-0 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Published (June 2005)

ISBN  978-1-84545-122-6 $29.95/£21.00 Pb Published (June 2005)

eISBN 978-1-78238-196-9 eBook

Hb Pb   Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Buy the ebook from these vendors

“…what is truly worthwhile in this loose grouping of essays is the ethnographic examples. Powerfully presented, beautifully written (the final three pages of the book offer poignantly evocative description of ethnography as a way of living) and loaded with telling detail…”  ·  Arthur Kleinman in the JRAI

Inspired by existential thought, but using ethnographic methods, Jackson explores a variety of compelling topics, including 9/11, episodes from the war in Sierra Leone and its aftermath, the marginalization of indigenous Australians, the application of new technologies, mundane forms of ritualization, the magical use of language, the sociality of violence, the prose of suffering, and the discourse of human rights. Throughout this compelling work, Jackson demonstrates that existentialism, far from being a philosophy of individual being, enables us to explore issues of social existence and coexistence in new ways, and to theorise events as the sites of a dynamic interplay between the finite possibilities of the situations in which human beings find themselves and the capacities they yet possess for creating viable forms of social life.

Michael Jackson is a graduate of the Universities of Auckland (New Zealand and Cambridge (UK), and has, for many years, carried out ethnographic fieldwork in Sierra Leone and Aboriginal Australia. The author of numerous books of anthropology, including the prize-winning Paths Toward a Clearing and At Home in the World, he has also published five books of poetry and two novels. Michael Jackson has taught in his native New Zealand, Australia, the United States, and Denmark, where he is presently Professor of Anthropology at the University of Copenhagen.

Series: Volume 11, Methodology & History in Anthropology
Subject: Theory & Methodology in Anthropology

LC: BD450 .J234 2004

BL: YC.2005.a.11556

BISAC: SOC019000 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Methodology; SOC002000 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Anthropology/General

BIC: JHM Anthropology



Preface: The Struggle for Being

Chapter 1. The Course of an Event
Chapter 2. The Space of Appearances
Chapter 3. Violence and Intersubjective Reason
Chapter 4. Custom and Conflict in Sierra Leone: An Essay on Anarchy
Chapter 5. What’s in a Name? An Essay on the Power of Words
Chapter 6. Mundane Ritual
Chapter 7. Biotechnology and the Critique of Globalisation
Chapter 8. Familiar and Foreign Bodies
Chapter 9. The Prose of Suffering
Chapter 10. Whose Human Rights?
Chapter 11. Existential Imperatives


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