This book begins with a description of how anthropologists have long joined an interdisciplinary discourse that speaks of traditions as invented, communities as imagined, and races as socially constructed. In methodological terms, this has led anthropologists to question cultural or sociological “holism” as “totalization,” to view ethnographies as scholarly allegories grounded in carefully cultivated fictions of unmediated empirical authority, to “deterritorialize” definitions of field sites, to approach identities as produced by processes of subjectification, to denaturalize notions of difference, to rethink kinship and its relation to social structure with investigations of “flexible” or “fluid” modes of relationality and belonging, to eschew generalization in favor of situated anecdotal evidence, and to strive for novel modes of representation.
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