The Imaginary and the Political

in Navigators of the Contemporary

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780226887517
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226887531 | DOI:
The Imaginary and the Political

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This chapter suggests that the political purpose of refunctioned ethnography could be to provide some intellectual purchase on the imaginations that are only superficially expressed as rational arguments through which orphans of the Enlightenment persist in pretending politics proceeds. This purpose may be divided into three basic activities: (1) mapping the political imagination, (2) reflection, and (3) intervention. Ethnography for present situations takes a stance toward politics quite different from the stance taken by classical, or indeed much contemporary, cultural anthropology. If the navigator wishes to be political in a serious sense, then they must learn about the swirls and assemblages of this world, which cannot really be done from outside.

Keywords: refunctioned ethnography; ethnographers; cultural anthropology; political imagination; reflection; intervention

Chapter.  3295 words. 

Subjects: Theory and Practice of Anthropology

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