Anthropology as a Moral Science of Possibilities
Carrithers, M. (2005). Anthropology as a Moral Science of Possibilities. Current Anthropology, 46 (3): 433-56.
Abstract: In a world of continued and expanding empire, does sociocultural
anthropology in itself offer grounds for moral and social criticism?
One line in anthropological thought leads to cultural relativism and an
awareness that a cloud of alternative possibilites surrounds any moral
code. However, a second line, based in reflection on fieldwork and on
the professional ethics arising with it, does suggest some basic moral
aesthetic standards, including trust, mutual forbearance, and
acceptance of others' worth. Moreover, a third line, that investigating
the sources of social change and cultural metamorphosis, suggests that
moral agency-***-patiency—doing-and-being-done-to in the web of social
relations—is a basic category of human thought and existence and that
moral rhetorical persuasion of agents-***-patients is likewise a
constituent of all cultural arrangements. These reflections give
sociocultural anthropologists support, based in the moral logic of the
discipline itself and in its understanding of the complexity of
possibilities surrounding any moral judgment, for sceptical and
therapeutic criticism of rhetoric exercised in pursuit of empire. This
argument is illustrated through an analysis of American political
rhetoric supporting the invasion of Iraq.
Source: Current Anthropology
(Something interesting I found)Posted: Wednesday, June 01, 2005