Anthropology and the New Cosmopolitanism: Rooted, Feminist by Pnina Werbner

By Pnina Werbner

Anthropology and the hot Cosmopolitanism breaks new floor in theorizing the position of social anthropology as a self-discipline that engages with the ethical, fiscal, felony and political modifications and dislocations of a globalizing international. The book's significant innovation is to teach the best way cosmopolitans past the North--in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Malaysia, India, Africa, the center East and Mexico--juggle universalist commitments with roots in neighborhood cultural milieus and specific groups. It introduces the reader to key debates surrounding cosmopolitanism within the social sciences, and is written essentially and accessibly for undergraduates in anthropology and similar matters.

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Additional info for Anthropology and the New Cosmopolitanism: Rooted, Feminist and Vernacular Perspectives (Asa Monographs, 45)

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They lack, in other words, consciousness and appreciation of the cultural milieu into which they are inserted. This has led to accusations of elitism and Eurocentrism (Robbins 1998b; P. Werbner, 1999). In my own work I bring a counter-example of a ‘workingclass cosmopolitan’ in the figure of the expanding cosmopolitan subjectivity of a Pakistani migrant working on a building site in the Gulf, a simple man who embraces different cultures and members of diverse ethnic groups, but who nevertheless retains his transnational yet rooted identity as a Sufi.

This has led to accusations of elitism and Eurocentrism (Robbins 1998b; P. Werbner, 1999). In my own work I bring a counter-example of a ‘workingclass cosmopolitan’ in the figure of the expanding cosmopolitan subjectivity of a Pakistani migrant working on a building site in the Gulf, a simple man who embraces different cultures and members of diverse ethnic groups, but who nevertheless retains his transnational yet rooted identity as a Sufi. African migrants display similar competencies, Owen Sichone argues, when they are away from home (Chapter 15).

Was] quite distinct . . ’ American anthropology was grounded in the German romantic tradition’s stress on each society possessing a distinct culture, a ‘complete way of life’, which created ‘distinctive modes of experiencing the world’ and ‘moulding personality’ (Kuper 1994: 539–40). Culture was a ‘system of symbols’ or ‘texts’. Echoing this division, Colson recalls that the early ASA rejected American anthropology (with the exception of Radcliffe-Brown’s students at Chicago). Against that, Marshall Sahlins (1999), citing cultural diffusion theories, argues that ‘it is astonishing from the perspective of North American cultural anthropology to claim that our intellectual ancestors constructed a notion of cultures as rigidly bounded, separate, unchanging, coherent, uniform, totalized and systemic’ (Sahlins 1999: 404).

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