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Anthropology Is Dead, Long Live Anthro(a)pology: Poststructuralism, Literary Studies, and Anthropology's "Nervous Present" Author(s): David Chioni

Moore Reviewed work(s): Source: Journal of Anthropological Research, Vol. 50, No. 4 (Winter, 1994), pp. 345-365 Published by: University of New Mexico Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3630558 . Accessed: 03/04/2012 02:14
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FIRSTPRIZEIN ESSAYCONTEST ON THE "FUTURE OFANTHROPOLOGY"

ANTHROPOLOGY IS DEAD, LONGLIVE ANTHRO(A)POLOGY: POSTSTRUCTURALISM, LITERARY STUDIES,AND ANTHROPOLOGY'S "NERVOUS PRESENT"1
Chioni Moore David DukeUniversity, NC27708-0670 Literature Durham, Program, TO ANTHROPOLOGY CHALLENGE THE POSTSTRUCTURALIST outsider(suchas myself,a literTAKE LONG foran anthropological ITDOES NOT is todayin a state of out that 1994 to circa anthropology figure ary theorist) have termed notable commentators a crisis crisis, variously"epistemologiwave of challenges," cal worrying," "genuinemalaise,"an "unprecedented even virulence," "morbid or, perhapsmost accufascination," "grumpiness, declaration of rately, "the nervous present."2Indeed, this anthropological crisis seems a minorindustryor subgenrein its own right,andthoughpercurceived crises are a continuousfeatureof all disciplines,anthropology's at once politicaland epistebecause it is apparently rent state is magnified that anthropology, The politicalcrisis stems fromthe recognition mological. wouldtouch, of those Othersno other academics long seen as the champion andits modern in colonialdomination hadbeen at the same time implicated insidersas well for as long as it hadexisted.Anthropological transformations as outsiders(e.g., Leiris1950;Asad1973;Said1989;and,tackling post-Writin making instrumental D. have been Scott Culture 1992) ethnography, ing this charge. crisishasdifferent relatedepistemological The secondandperhaps roots,and not thatanthropologists stems largelyfromthe realization produce truthbut in fictional texts and texts (cf. Crapanzano 1986:51; manymore), inescapably To the sense of "athingmade,"andtexts hence eminentlydeconstructible. this crisis it is necessaryfirstto recall,in a storyby now familiar, understand viewed itself as an objectimes andplaces past, anthropology certain that at was generally that and a knowable tive science of world,3 though perception could notion that in some way,the ideallyproducea anthropologists qualified andjustimotivated under fullandaccurateaccountof a people studygreatly to been had fied the profession.Thoughanthropology always open charges it alwayspossessed two reliabledefenses: that it was not in fact "scientific," anthroasserta specifically oritwould eitherit would scientificity, attempt greater pological mode of knowledge based on interpretation. Anthropology's
vol. 50, 1994) Research, (Journal ofAnthropological
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Geertzof the mode,characterized "interpretive" canonically by the Clifford 1970s (e.g., 1973), thoughmistrustedfor its "softer"or subjectivistunderoverthe scientificone becauseit seemed tones, was seen as an improvement less naive or simplistic,while it preservedthe reassuringnotionof a transcendentalrealandthus stavedoffthe horrorsof a thoroughgoing, unmoored constructivism. Underinterpretivism, the Real,to use a literaryformulation, to us except in textualform,"andour approach wouldbe "inaccessible to it wouldpass necessarilythroughits narrativization, or "prior textualization" (Jameson1981:35). By the earlyto middle1980s, however,it hadbecomeclearto manyboth insideandoutsidethatanthropology's twin epistemological dikes-scientific and interpretive-which had long held back the sea of chaos from howeverartificial terrafirma,were crumbling ethnography's away,"lyingin ruins aroundus" (in Scholes's phrase, 1985:133),subjectto the incessant wave actionsof a heterogeneityof thinkersandthoughts.The attackon the sciencedikecouldusefullybe tracedfromKuhn(1962),to Feyerabend (1975), on to Bruno Latour(Latourand Woolgar1979; Latour1987) and beyond, while the attackson the interpretive dike,more directlyreflectedandreferenced in the anthropological literature,stemmed more from Continental such as Derrida and Foucault,with their "il n'y a pas de poststructuralists of and est ddj~interpretation."4 "tout The many hors-texte,""games truth," followers and of elaborators these theorists,most notablyscholars powerful associatedwith the seminalvolume WritingCulture(Clifford and Marcus these challengesto the anthro1986),have been chiefamongthose bringing establishment. itself was a major pological Ironically, anthropology precursor to the discoursesthatcameto unsettle its own field,fromthe classiccultural relativismof early and mid-century to the more epistemologiethnography cally subversivelinguisticrelativismof Sapirand Whorf(e.g., Whorf1956). At any rate, in the aftermath of all of these attacks, broadly termed antifoundational or poststructuralist, andin response also to substantial crifromwithin,littletheoretical tiquesmadeof the profession's authority ground seemed to be left for anthropology, andwhen the variouspoliticalobjections were addedin, the generalandindeedfruitfulquestionsfor anthropologists became,andare, Whatare we to do? Whatdo we study?Andhow? In the pages whichfollow,I will explorethese "whatnow"questionsfrom but one perspective-that of literarystudies-for at the same time as anencountered and seemed to lose its nerve, litthropology poststructuralism studies encountered the same theoretical erary objectand came out braver than ever. Thoughliterarystudies too was once largelya self-described obsome in marked con(this jectivistenterprise maysurprise anthropologists),
trast to anthropology the loss of objectivism left literary studies emboldened rather than unsure, and it has expanded indeed at anthropology's expense. So-called cultural studies has been of late the hottest topic at litcrit conferences nationwide. ArjunAppadurai(1991:195), for one, notes the "seizure of

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and "themany-sided the highground" hijackof culture"by literarystudies; and while literarystudies'job marketoverallgrew a reasonable15 percent from 1985 to 1990, the academicsubcategory of "Minority" Literature(inof Third the "sub-sub" World,Americancategories Post-Colonial, cluding and on traditional square anthropology's Marginal, African-American)-right a that time, the terrain-experienced stunning636percent jobgrowthduring Association of the overall bulk (Modem Language profession'sexpansion battlesandcrises, 1991a).Whathas the literaryacademy, despiteits internal underpoststructuralism, andperhaps doneto emergetransformed triumphant andhas irrelevance(or "loss of the referent")been the price of its success, as is commonlysupposed? To help answer these questions, I will look at two separatebut related andcurrentlitpoststructuralist literarytheory aspects of this phenomenon: The discussionof poststructuralist theorywill take up practice. erary-critical the recentandcontestedpositionthatpoststructural theoryitself has no conor sequencesfor scholarlypractice,or at least not any of the dire paralyzing to it. In such a fashionit consequencesthatmanyhaveattributed unmooring shouldcut its (pure-)theory-angst shallbe arguedthatanthropology (its poliseems to is another studies and that which lack, question) literary tics-angst, This essay's subsequent andlearnto love, at least in theory,interpretation. no less extensive, of current practice, literary-critical exploration comparative here. will engage more pointsthancan be usefullysummarized One problemmust be addressedbeforehand, however,thoughnot for the communities are as awareof the mechanicsof cololast time. Few academic nialismas the ethnographic one, andthus it will not haveescapedthe anthroin that there are some vaguecolonialundertones attention reader's pological A worst-casescenariowouldlooklike this:forsome whatis here undertaken. time now the health and numbersof anthropological facultyhave been in the the of health,wealth,andeconomicsize decline,in manycases to profit of departmentsof literature.Highly processed literarytheories have been to the distantshores tractorsor Chevrolets exportedlike so manyCaterpillar humansciences, whose anxiousinhabitof the restive and unsophisticated ants have been seen payingheavyprices to drivethem, despite the fact that nor can maneuverthem they neither received wages for their construction is neglected,when the theoriesbreak well on localroads.Since maintenance have fortheoryimports down,they cannotbe fixed.Unsurprisingly, payments been only partiallymet by the sale of unprocessedraw materials-ethnographic,historical,and social description-and a chronicintellectualtrade deficithas todayresulted.The principal consequenceof this tradeimbalance localoutputbut an indigenous has been, as expected,not improved economy
in disarray;the danger, of course, is that any attempt to remedy this situation based on imitation of the colonizing powers generally results not in autonomy but in a reinforcement of the imperial relationship. Nonetheless, for lack of any better solution (an Albanian-style isolationism having been ruled out), a

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And of the colonialpowersis at a minimum indicated. deeperunderstanding so caveatlector. These pointswill be revisitedtowardsthe end of this essay. AND LEARNED TO HOW I STOPPED WORRYING LOVE INTERPRETATION I will dealfirst with the poststructuralist theorieswhichseem so hobbling to ethnography.The working view of these theories will be as follows: contendsthat there are no transcendental truths,no abpoststructuralism5 solutegrounds onwhichone canstandto makeajudgment, no metanarratives. The worldis all bias, cant, instability, and power. To cite the classic older Nietzscheanformulation truthis noughtbut ([1873]1954:46-47), a mobilearmyof metaphors, metonyms,and anthropomorphisms-in whichhavebeen enhanced, short,a sumof human relations, transposed, and embellishedpoeticallyand rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical,and obligatoryto a people:truths are illusions aboutwhichone has forgottenthatthis is whatthey are .... In poststructuralist theory this essentiallyfictionalnatureof truth extends into the fictionalnatureof things,andas ShapinandSchaffer quitenaturally (1985) and Bruno Latourhave differentlyargued,"even""scientists"(on whommanyonce reliedfor modelsof objectivity) literallyinventthe objects whichthey purport to have discovered.There exists no shortageof anthropologicalevidence for a constructivistor relativistontology,the canonical instancebeingthe Karam wordyakt,whichrefers to most birdsandall bats, but not to whatWesternerswouldcall the cassowary"bird" (Bulmer1967; see also Lakoff1987).Whenappliedto conceptsmore crucialto anthropolothe notion of a gists than polypeptidesor cassowaries,such as "culture," contructivist or nonessentialist ontologyhas hadunsettlingeffects.In a body of once-oppositional literaturethat has rapidly becomeclassic, writerssuch as MarcusandCushman that anthropology's "ob(1982)have demonstrated of other culturesis in factlargelythe productof a literary jective"rendering realism,composedof a complexset of masking genre called ethnographic of the native point of view, the markingof tropes (e.g., the representation whichcombineto producewhatRolandBarthes(1968)described fieldwork) as "theeffect of the real." In the wakeof this realization thatethnographies were fictions,manysolutions or "waysout"were suggestedin the relevantliterature,amongwhich weredialogic, andotherexperimental self-reflexive, polyphonic, styles, writing as well as "rhetorical texts whichwould"clearthe analyses"of ethnographic
way for a discussion of claims and evidence" (Marcusand Cushman 1982:56n). Not surprisingly, none of the products of this scramble for alternatives could survive a continued postmodern interrogation. The dialogic ethnography ad-

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vocatedby amongothers Clifford (1983, and 1986:15)as "rendering negotiandincongruent" was argued ated realitiesas multi-subjective, power-laden, masto be, like the realisticgenres it was supposedto replace,"monologue in Kahn as eth1989:15).6 querading dialogue"(Tyler, quoted "Polyphonic" to a of course similar was rhetorical susceptible critique.Similarly, nography accountswouldget one nowhereundera rigorously analysesof ethnographic critique,since the rhetoricalanalyses themselves appliedpoststructuralist of the initialaccount, wouldbe againinterested and fictionalmeta-accounts themselves susceptibleto yet more rhetoricalanalysis.Rhetorical analysis is no way to escape rhetoric.Reflexivity,finally,wouldalso requirean infinite regress, since if one acceptedreflexivityin the firstplace,one wouldbe accountof "whereI stand in writing obligedto admitthat one's "up-front" fiction"woulditself be a fiction,and so on, andso on.7 this acknowledged Thus one can sympathize, finally,with Joel Kahn(1989:11)when he asks "Isthere no exit?"The answeris, in one sense, of his fellowanthropologists, at all, foras "No,there is not,"not as longas one wishes to continuethinking Nietzsche tells us, "we have to cease to think if we refuse to do it in the Thoughin point of fact people do escape from prison-houseof language."8 for it has alwaysbeen her prisons,this offerslittle surceaseto the academic, option to cease to think (in the sense of to cogitate) and thereby escape, however temporarily,that languagewhich imprisonsus. People regularly in manyways, via ashrams,free jazz, triathlons, achieve this transcendence and so forth, but as academicprograms,the limitavirtual reality, peyote, are surely apparent. tions of such extralinguistic approaches in been said an it has Now, context,andin responseto the anthropological not of an that if all one specter) poststructuralism, prospect(if all-unmooring can ever produceis fiction,then one mightas well stop beingan anthropologist andbecomea novelist.It has also been saidthatit is surelyunacceptable if the best one canhopeforundera Nietzscheanlinguisticregimeis to be the highest-statusflunkyin the prison.I wish to argue,however,thatin no sense or "all-fiction" shouldthe escapeless postmodernist conclu"imprisonment" be particularly or paralyzing, sions (or metaphors) since no shorttroubling age of positive things has happenedandwill continueto happenin the linguistic prisonand as a result of fictions.Take, for example,IsaacNewton's now-discredited fiction,or story, that force equalsmass times acceleration, which imprisoned Western science for centuries.Newton was "wrong," of course, but that did not stop his fictionfrombeing usefulto bridgebuilders the West. Nor did Newtonianbridgesand buildand architectsthroughout ings suddenlyfallin 1905with the adventof the (in this sense) inconsequenwere cerebralinventions tial theoryof specialrelativity. Microbes,similarly, of Pasteur,phenomenafictionalized differently by other cultures,and phenomenawhichwill eventuallybe fictionalized differently by our own. But as of Pasteur's temporary, Latourhas written ([1984]1988),the combination fictionwith the effortsof thousandsof zealcontingent,yet useful microbial

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ous nineteenth-centuryFrench hygienists producedconcrete health care advanceswhichhave rescuedlives the worldaround. And,as Latour argues, it is possibleto accountfor this in a strictlyantifoundational way. one notes that "gender" as an ontological Closerto anthropology, category socialconstruction has been shownto be a thoroughly by numerouscultural classicstatement([1949]1952:301) andfeministtheorists,fromde Beauvoir's to JudithButler'smore that "oneis not born,but ratherbecomes,a woman," that"gender of the body, is the repeatedstylization recentassertion(1990:33) framethatcongealover a set of repeatedacts withina highlyrigidregulatory sort of being."Yet of substance,of a natural time to producethe appearance of "woman" does not prevent discreditation the still, thoroughontological of the historian in the words from now-fictional JoanScott remaining, gender The (1988:28),"a useful categoryfor historicalanalysis." pointof these exor postmodernist kickingof the ontologiamplesis thatthe poststructuralist cal propsout fromunderall nouns,or all writing,does not in anywayunmoor can be put. To take us or remove the poweror uses to whichnoun-fictions word"knife," whichcanno doubt one last example,considerthe unambiguous be shown-at least in the worldof professionalcutlers-to be "contested, temporal,and emergent"(whichis whatJoel Kahn[1989:13]says of "culword, ture").Yet every daypeople accomplish things using this discredited andas longas this is the case, there is no reasonto stop usingit. The pointis by now belabored,and it is this: as a matter of strict theory or ontology, conceptin critiquethreatensno one andno anthropological poststructuralist and them with it attacks all because equalvigor.Nobody, no alterparticular doesn't kick the native writing strategy, can "get out." Poststructuralism or classic nouns or older even out from under conceptsbecausein fact props there were never any props there to begin with. Thus, qua theory, critiqueis like sayingthatall of the articlesin last month's poststructuralist CriticalInquirywould disintegrateif droppedin a volcano:it providesno one text fromanother,whichis to say that in basis on whichto differentiate this respect it has no consequences. argumentmay seem simplynihilistic,it is Thoughthis no-consequences three pointsshouldmakeclear.First,a poststructuralist not, as the following temcritiquewouldnot thereforeimplythatfictional(contested,contingent, poral) concepts such as "tree," "dog," "scenarios" (Ortner), "habitus" orjust "culture" dramas" haveno power (Sahlins), (Bourdieu), "cosmological andcan be put to no use, or misuse.' Second,poststructuralist critiquedoes not suggest thatall conceptswill thereforebe equal(this maybe termedthe fallacy),since a varietyof highlycompellingpolitical,social,and egalitarian but perhapsstablefor longpeeconomicarguments (themselvescontingent,
riods and across broad populations) will be put forth to differentiate them, as they always have (cf. Smith 1988, esp. 150-84). Third and finally, poststructuralism would not argue that theory, writing, or representation has no consequences in the broader sense, since the practice of theory (and the

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is undeniably powerfultodayas a rhetoricof criterminologyis important) tique, a means of gaininginstitutional power,andmore.The pointis, finally, that anthropology shouldstop worryingaboutmetaphysical foundations (or lack thereof)and shouldlearn to love interpretation, at least in theory,because that's all there ever is, and it's not such a badthing at that. If somesketchedout herethingseems fishyaboutthe no-consequences argument an argument oftentermedpragmatist-then I referthe readerto the various writingsof StanleyFish (e.g., 1980, 1989), Richard Rorty,and to the Fishinflectedwaters of W.J.T.Mitchell'sedited volume Against Theory (1985), which have been lurkingin the depths of these paragraphs all along.10 This closes the discussionof the purelytheoretical(if such a thing can be saidto exist) aspect of, and, insofaras it is purely theoretical,largely unfounded crisis in, anthropology. AND LITERARY STUDIES:TWODIVERGENT ANTHROPOLOGY RESPONSESTO POSTSTRUCTURALISM The theory-work now complete,this sectionwill examine,with anthropolin ogy mind,the recent historyof literarystudies,whichhas thrivedin these powerbeen purchased? poststructuralist days. How has its currentapparent And at what price?Thoughone might objectthat even if one did know the answersto such questions,it wouldbe of little use to anthropologists (since and literarystudies are so different-texts versus people, or anthropology will illuminate,not only besomethingalong those lines), the comparison incause the text/thingdistinctioncollapsesin the light of poststructuralist sights, but because of many practicalcrossovers as well. Anthropologists makeuse of mythsandsongs, for example,while manyliteratiare immersed In addition, anin publishing andwritingcommunities. practices,Zeitgeisten, three studies share and (and perhaps surprissignificant thropology literary a rea legacy of (an alwayscontested)objectivism, ing) historicalparallels: and a recent of cent loss of the centralconceptual category, deprivileging the of canonical objects study. We beginwith the first. For manydecades-from the late 1920s to some"NewCritical" time in the 1960s-the predominant concepAnglo-American tion of literarystudies was that it was an objective,nearlyscientificactivity on timeless, isolatable, by the conunitary objectsuncontaminated performed of the status their observer: the and unaffected of their texts by production A is brief anthropology clearly strong. parallelwith the contemporaneous figuresin the criticismof thattime will illustrate surveyof some of the major andMonroeC. Beardsley,for example,in 1949 echthe point.W.K.Wimsatt oed the long-heldobjectivistanthropological principlethat the researcher shouldbe in no way a partof the meaningof the objectof study.Theiressay "The AffectiveFallacy"-one of the most celebratedof twentieth-century criticism-argued that the effect a poem had on its beholderwas not to be

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confusedwith "thepoem itself."Notablyfor this paper'saudience,"TheAfandthe asfective Fallacy" Malinowski closed with a footnoteto Bronislaw the in "the field worker sertionthat, anthropology among Zunisor generally, the Navahosfindsno informant so informative as the poet or the memberof the tribe who can quote its myths. In short, thoughcultureshave changed andBeardsley[1949] andwill change,poems remainandexplain" (Wimsatt 1971:1031). In a similarobjectivistand unifyingfashion,JohnCroweRansom([1934] core"and"a 1971:883)contendedthat a poemconsistedof a "paraphrasable contextof livelylocaldetails," a formulation similar to the attempts strikingly of contemporaneous or distillthe "coremeanto "paraphrase" anthropologists text andto marginalize as necessarythe ing"of a culturein an ethnographic continued that livelylocaldetails.Ransom([1934]1971:887, emphasisadded) the goalof the criticwas "toexamineanddefinethe poemwith respectto its
structure and its texture ... [and] the final desideratum is an ontological in-

drum in the 1930salsobeat an objectivist sight,nothingless." R.P.Blackmur with his call to scholarsto be bias-freeand faithfulto the object of study "itself." Inhis important "ACritic's Blackmur JobofWork," ([1935]1971:897) detailedthe defects of variouspieces of criticismwhich were pollutedby whathe termed"ulterior that is, the criticshadbroughtMarxist purposes," or moralor psychological to biases their analyses,while the true critic (or, read:"anthropologist") broughtnone. Closerto the present,E.D. Hirsch(the authorof 1988'sbest-sellingWesternistDictionary to literary madehis majorcontribution Literacy) of Cultural entitled"Objective (1967), theoryin anearlyessay revealingly Interpretation" whicharguedthat the meaningof a poem inheres in the poem,is unaffected over time, and is independent of by the context of its epoch, is unchanging the position of the reader. A most extreme example comes from Sigurd who at the end of his careerwrote an essay detailinghis vision Burckhardt, of a trulyscientificliterarymethodwhichwouldseek the "intrinsic interpretation"of a poem's "infallible" and entailed, unity amazingly enough,an exmodel of classical "This pressly pre-Heisenbergian physics: interpretive methodwas intrinsicin thatit wasentirely subservient tothephenomena andat the same time entirelyfaithful to the beliefin their utterlawfulnessandcon[1968] 1971:1203,emphasis literarycriticit has barelybegun"(Burckhardt added).In what to later poststructuralist eyes was an amazingblunder,for decadesobjectivism indeedruledthe literary-critical day. A second parallelbetween the postmodern of both literary predicaments studiesandanthropology has been the radical destablization of, over the past
decade, their major motivating concepts of "culture"and "literature."There is no need to go over the troubles of anthropology'sCultureconcept given this journal'saudience, but a glimpse at the similar travails of literature's "Literasistency .... For the physicist the classical age may be obsolete; for the

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I quotefromthe firstpageofTerryEagleton's ture"maybe illuminating. widely An Introduction: readLiterary Theory: ... Englishliterature includesShakespeare, Whatis literature? Webster, Marvelland Milton;but it also stretches to the essays of FrancisBaand con, the sermonsof JohnDonne,Bunyan'sspiritual autobiography whateverit was thatSir ThomasBrownewrote.It mighteven at a pinch be taken to encompassHobbes's Leviathanor Clarendon's Historyof French literature theRebellion. contains, seventeenth-century alongwith Corneilleand Racine,La Rochefoucauld's maxims,Bossuet's funeral on Madame letters Boileau's treatise de Sdvingnd's poetry, speeches, of DescartesandPascal. andthe philosophy Nineteenthto her daughter not Bentham), usuallyincludesLamb(though centuryEnglishliterature (butnot Marx),Mill (butnot Darwinor HerbertSpencer).A Macaulay and"fiction," distinction between "fact" then, seems unlikelyto get us very far.... (Eagleton1983:1) On subsequentpages Eagletongoes on to dismantleevery other definition "fine one mightput forthfor Literature-that whichis creative,ambiguous, andso on-and in the endhe concludes self-referential, estranging, writing," is not an objectiveconceptat all but is insteadconstructed thatLiterature by a historicallyvariableset of value judgments(Eagleton 1983:16).Despite in literarystudies at recenttraditionalist outcriesto the contrary, Literature, a is in anthropolas unstable construct as Culture is for the most least, part of for the So concepts literarystudies and motivating ogy today. much,then, anthropology. of bothliterary studies betweenthe currentpredicaments One finalparallel not only of their moticomes in the recent deprivileging, and anthropology objectsof study:the Primiphysical vatingconcepts,butalso of theirprincipal for andthe canon ofhighWesttive (native, savage,exotic,Other) anthropology, ern poetry, drama,and prose fictionfor literarystudies. Again,there is no audineed here to detail the death of the Primitivefor an anthropological ence, andindeedwith all of the recent mediaattentiongiven the debateover Civ"in U.S. universities,neitheris there muchneed to rehashthe "Western decline in literarystudies of "deadwhite Europeanmale"literature-not the Primitive's very mirror(cf. Kuper1988:5).Whatis intercoincidentally, demises is esting or perhapsironicto note, however,aboutthese mirrored that the same recent set of anti-imperialist politicalimperativeshas motidirecand literarystudies to move in virtuallyopposite vated anthropology was the activists'chantin front tions:while "moveawayfromthe Occident" was in manyplaces "moveawayfromthe Orient" of the EnglishDepartment,
the cry in front of Anthropology, or even from its subjects. This has played a great role in anthropology's current perplex, as will be detailed below.

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of the apparently Butfirst,to the question fortunes of anthropology divergent and literarystudies in recent decades. I'd like to begin this consideration drawn witha parable froma novelby the Chilean writerJose Donoso.Casade A House in the concerns the hellish summer [1978] 1984) campo(or Country of the Ventura About experiences powerful family. midwaythroughthe narif it seems as the in Venturas are of rative, danger losing their quiteconsidand and erableposition wealth, they are nearlyparalyzed by this prospect. Whilethe Venturasfret over how to regainpower, andone of their number nervouslyspeculatesthattheir "wholemissionwill fail,"a darkandoracular to the familypatriarch and informs figurenamedJuanPerez steps forward him that it is not "the possession of so manycoveted objects [that]makes YourGraces superior"(Donoso 1984:189)."Andin yourjudgment," asked consist?" Silvestre, perhapsa trifle offended,"inwhat does our superiority JuanPerez didn'thesitate:"Inthe absenceof doubt." I must admitI am almostembarrassed to begin an analysisof somebody else's institutionaldisarraywith what appearsto be a piece of dime-store of Casade campo), (as well as with an intentional psychoanalysis misreading but I do wantto considerseriouslythe possibility that in addition to all of the theoretical,political,and institutionalcauses for an actuallyquite wealthy "nervous anthropology's present,"there is also an anxietywhichneeds to be addressedpure and simple,as anxiety,in its currentprofessional worry.Of course it is presumptuous of me as an outsiderto make such a claim,andit as well, in the mannerof someonewho breaksup maybe counterproductive with theirboy- or girlfriend, that"you'retoo insecure": the enunexplaining ciationof this type of problemonly rarelyhelps to solve it. Nonetheless, it needs to cure its currentmalaise,in addition maybe thatwhatanthropology to the more satisfyinggeneraltheories of anthropology that so manytoday seek, is an initialtheoryof its chronicrecent anthro-apology. To some extent anthropology's anxiety (andliterature'sconfidence)can be tracedto the two disciplines' divergentresponsesto the deathof objectivism. In literarystudies, as the recent floweringof the professionattests, death,thoughresisted in some circles, was generallygreeted objectivism's witha sigh of relief,as if a burdenhadbeen thrownoff,a dispensation granted fromthe grimlyrational tasks it hadneverapproached with thatmuchenthusiasm in the first place. For those amongus who make our life's work of verses such as this: Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admitimpediments. Love is not love Whichalters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove ... are rarely disposed towards disciplines in which, to paraphrase Sigurd Burckhardt,"aclassical physics has barely begun." Anthropology,on the other

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memberof the socialsciences community, hand,as a three-fourths-invested has been that muchmore weddedto a whole networkof older,broadly "scientific"practices,practiceswhichindeed,despite what is now perceivedas their methodological remarkable results. As Geertz defectiveness,produced (1988:4)pointsout, Malinowski'stheoreticalapparatus, once a proudtower indeed, lies he the The in but remains ethnographer. largely ruins, ethnographer's ratherpasse qualitythatMead'spsychological, culture-and-personality now seem to have ... doesn'tseem to detractvery much speculations unmatched fromthe cogencyof her observations, by any of the rest of are like. ... what the Balinese us, concerning PeoplewillreadTheNuer even if, as it has tendedto, segmentarytheory hardensinto a dogma. And so because anthropology's investmentin scientismand/oran objective thanthatof literarystudrealhadbeen so muchdeeperandmoreproductive were when science's paradigms ies, it becamethat muchmore disorienting taken away.To recast a metaphorused above, objectivism'sdeath was for not a burdenlifted,but a propkickedout fromunderneath. anthropology death,as I have up Still, it wouldbe a mistaketo considerobjectivism's of forconsiderations untilthis point,as a purelyinternalor disciplinary affair, audiencealso loomlarge.The literarycritic'saudiencehadnever demanded fromcriticism.In fact the much in the way of science or "hard knowledge" a sourceof "beauty" as somewhat of a at saw literature diversion, public large of national or "higher humanvalues,"or sometimesas a component culture, on the other hand, literatureat all. Anthropology, if the publicsaw canonical hadalwaysbeen supported by a muchwideraudiencewhichincludedpolitical and economicdecision makers,grantingagencies, generals,and strategists, as well as a rangeof aidandpolicyactorson the furtherleft-in short, knowledgeaboutthe exotic Otherwas at a prepeoplefor whom"objective" mium.Edward Said(1989)has been one amongmanyto makethis charge.It on the part of objectivism wouldbe naivethen to thinkthatan abandonment its monied interlocuwouldbe greeted with equanimity of anthropology by not of an audience would tors, whatevertheir politics,or thatthe discomfort in some fashiondiscomfitits paidperformers. andanthropology's Yet anotherfactorto considerin assessing literature's is the specific modalitiesof the divergentresponses to poststructuralism referredto some paragraphs two disciplines' ago,from pull-backs," "opposite andNative.The key elementto contheirrespectivesubjectmattersof Canon endswithrespectto to opposite haveworked siderhereis howthese pull-backs the majordemographic changes that have only just begun to occur in the
academy. I refer, of course, to the formidableinflux (the tip of whose iceberg has only just been seen) into the academy of women, "out" gays, and above all scholars of African, Asian, Latino, and other non-First-World descents. It

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. .)-malesinto the is clear that the entry of non-white-straight-European-(. its movement to has been tailor-made for literary diversifythe high academy canon towards the Other. In Western move contrast,anthropology's literary coincideswith, or flows awayfromstudiesof the exotic Otherimpropitiously against,the tricklingentry of just those Othersinto its professionalranks (thoughperhapsthese Othersare just the peopleneededto go aboutstudysituationis furthercomplicated by the again ing "us").This demographic divergentreactionsof the two professionsto studies of the Otherconducted has been morethanwillingto hand bythe Other.The literaryestablishment literaturesto the sons over responsibility, nay authority,for noncanonical and daughtersof those traditions; hardlya wordof objectionis heardabout are made in literary their biasedpositions,and indeedif any bias-apologies at the studies,they most likelycome fromthe gringosandnot the marginals seminar.Take, for example,this list of presidentsof the officialDiscussion Association,as listed in a recent issue of Groupsof the Modem Language PMLA(ModernLanguage Association1992:727-28): MichaelPatrickGillespie Literature Anglo-Irish Asian-American Literature Sau-ling Wong ChicanoLiterature Jose DavidSaldivar Romanian DomnitaDumitrescu Studies and LiteratureSverre Lyngstad Scandinavian Language Ornote the authorsof the following paperspresentedat the 1991MLAConventionin San Francisco(ModernLanguage Association1991b): in the Bay Area Chicanos in the Early1900s:JorgeUlica's Cronicas diabolicas Cassidyandthe Hopalong Problem Jewish Ddcolonisation ou des colonisations: Le dilemme de l'intellectuel linguistique colonise Amharic versus Sayings:Official Folk (Interpretation) MariaMontesde OcaRicks

ShimonWincelberg AllaouaToumi

YonasAdmasu

In contrast to this, consider the diffident welcome extended by the anthropological establishment to "halfies" (the term is Kirin Narayan's, via AbuLughod 1991:161 n.1) who study their own heritage. Though it would be difficult to find any published examples of bias accusations leveled against

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of birthrights an interhas produced (1991:116)writes thathis "combination the less a Lila that observant mistake for dilemma"; might esting complexity devotes an entire article to the dilemmas" that (1991) "special Abu-Lughod such as herselfface;Arjun halfieanthropologists (1991:200)must Appadurai male ... turnedintohomoacademicus in confess thathe is "aTamilBrahman the United States";and finallyMichel-Rolph Trouillot(1991:19)feels obliof allkindscananddovoicetheircultural claims, gatedto writethat"minorities not on the basis of explicittheories of culturebut in the name of historical authenticity. They enterthe debatenot as academics--ornot onlyas academics .... ." Whatis surprising, though,is that these semi-defenseshave not come on the heels of Clifford Geertzconfessinghe was bornin SanFrancisco, she grew up in, say, the culturally or SherryOrtneradmitting skewingenvironmentof New Jersey. Theirprecursory defenses can only not-have-come becausethe professionhas not seriously,consequentially impliedthat those in theiranthropological factsmightsaddlethemwitha certain "bias" research." If one were to extrapolate fromthe recent halfiehalf-apologetics (whichdo not, it must be emphasized,get their impetusfromthe halfies),one might celebratedinformant to shift avocaprojectthat were Griaule's Ogotemmeli tions and submita paperon the Dogonto be readat a futureAAAmeeting, there mightbe murmured (or allegations amongsthis reviewersof his "bias" "far from and (or perhaps, mybias"), they woulddeferto the "moreobjective" on this point.In short,andto returnto perhaps,"closerto my bias")Griaule the overallpurpose of this analysis,the influx of historicallymarginalized peoples into the American academyvexinglygoes againstboth the subjectmattertrend and the still-extantthoughtheoreticallytroubledbias against It is no surprise,then, thata ner"nativebias"in anthropological research.12 vous presentresults. A finalfactorto considerin diagnosing illness and apparent anthropology's healthis the sneaking literature's thatanthropologists must suspicion apparent have: that literatureis enjoyinga false vigor, that its rise has been literally "a "fictional," literallyon paper,textual,builtup on referentlessfoundations, a freeplayof literary heavyFrenchsauceovera badpiece of meat,"'3 signifiers which,like the globalstock marketrun-upof 1982-87, will have its October crashwhen investorsrealizethatno substanceexists at its base. Ofcourseto assertionwould requireone to "takeon the dispute such a foundationalist whole literature," as Latour wouldsay;to rearticulate an entiretheoryargutextual nature of to for the inescapably history; pointto the highlyconseing of interventions antifoundationalist political quential literarystudies(ofwhich the late-1980s Bloom-Bennett-Cheneycountercrusadewas the clearest andto recallthat marker);
fact and fiction are old acquaintances. . . . Fact comes fromfacere-to make or do. Fiction comes fromfingere-to make or shape .... But in what sense do things done or things made partake of truth or reality? A

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thingdonehas no realexistenceonce it has been done.A thingmade,on the otherhand,exists untilit decaysor is destroyed. has no Fact,finally, realexistence, while fictionmaylast forcenturies.(Scholes1981:3) But all of these arguments have been mademore cogentlyby others elseI and can where, only gesture to them here. At the same time I also wantto discomfortwith a world thought entirely through respect anthropology's "text"-but my reasonis not finallytheoreticbut disciplinarily To economic. of in borrowone Geertz'sphrases, academic discoursewe are "vexingeach otherwithprofit" andit is my beliefthatover 1986:256), (quotedin Rabinow the past ten years the rise of the term "text"has unbalanced the terms and vexations,or trade."Text,"like all academic profitsof our interdisciplinary concepts,is a signifierwitha value-a coin, in otherwords:a coin whichhas no doubtbeen the strongestof recent currenciesand has spurreda fruitful buta coinwhose mintis staffedmainly anda coin globalcommerce, by literati, whoseproduction skillsnothistorically the anthropologist's.14 Toprivirequires is academy lege this "text"coinor conceptamongallothersin the humanistic thereforeto measurethat academy'sintellectualeconomy(andto denominate its debts) solely in the currencyof the dominant or colonialpower.This of one is has what been called(for the global country'scurrency hegemony in anthropology's America's It is what results dollar) "extravagant privilege." it is whatbringsus referred to on. And problem production indigenous early to a provisional conclusion. CONCLUSION: REISSUING THE CURRENCY, RETAKINGTHE MINT As little qualified as I am to speculateon the causes of anthropology's nervous present,I am even less qualified to propose to its ills, that is, anysolution for its future.I believe that muchof whatI any comprehensive prescription havesaidalready in regardsto its presentconstitutesa kindof polemicabout thatfuture.But I will offerone last closingand,I believe, not trivialobservationon thatfuture.I willnot repeatmy previouscontention thatanthropology need not haveanytheory-angst; northe argument thatit wouldbe wrongfor it to do anythingbut embrace,in internaldialogics,its "biased" halfienewexamineits anxietyas anxiety, comers;northe suggestionthatanthropology pureandsimple.I will suggest,however,a theory(or story)by whichthe rise of literature andthe fall(toostronga word)ofanthropology mightbe explained. It is a storywhose centralportionor climaxis outlined at the endof the previous section-literature owns the mint, denominatingthe intellectual economy in its own coin-but whose development and ddnouement, or future, have been neglected until now. Like most, this story begins with a loss: sometime during the past twenty

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as an as a motivating concept,"fiction" years literarystudies lost Literature of thatconcept,andits canonas the privileged exclusivecharacteristic object methodolorealizedthatits distinctiveandproductive of study.But literature attentionto the nuancesandefmainly-a painstaking gies ("closereading," The writtenwords)couldbe applied fects of sequentially just aboutanywhere. andthe "text"arose to replaceLiterature, result was that an encompassing worldbecamethat discipline's oyster;nothingwas left outsideof its domain, afflicted with the loss of was similarly andboldlyit went forth.Anthropology of that conas a characteristic Cultureas its sure motivating concept,"fact" of its "exotic Other" as the What and object study. anthropolcept, privileged practices ogy mustrealizeis thatsomewherein its heterogeneityof historical andmassivelyproducmust lurkalsoa moreor less essentialcore,distinctive to "closereading" whichin its infinitevaritive, a methodological counterpart that the worldcan be seen eties can also be appliedto just aboutanything; its lenses andthatboldlyit cango forth.Whatliteratido most notably through do extraordinarily-with a history,on-site is read,but whatanthropologists no other disciplinecan match-is watch, tenacity,andphysicalcommitment live, measure, interpret(participant-observation being the most renowned versionof this),not "text," conflict: andperhaps but,well, life,behavior, "practice" is the best andmost generaltermfor all that. Over the past several years, in response to the "crisis,"a wide arrayof discourse. Marcusand next-steps have been proposedin anthropological the earliest"post-" the contribuFischer(1986)representsperhaps proposal; tions to the Fox volume (1991b,andtaken up in Escobar[1993])represent more recent, even "post-post-" propositions.Still other scholarshave adissues such as global/local framesof reference(e.g., dressedmethodological Marcus1989;'sAppadurai 1990), shiftingaudiences,new modes of writing, and more. And at the same time deor other cyber-subjects, technological of olderpracbates have continuedas to the currentviabilityor "rehability" in as Barbara Tedlock's reformulation of tices, (1991) participant-observation, the fieldwork (1986,1987)andhis manycriticsin Driessen disputesin Llobera et al. (1987),andmore.It is here, in the passingof et al. (1987)andFernandez postmodern insightsthroughthese latter dailypractices-for anthropology, its set of practices, discursive andotherwise,as much like allotherdisciplines, future.This is, as its epistemologies-that I believe rests an anthropological solutionto anthropology's currentperto be sure, not a deep metaphysical of strategythan it is a plex, and it is more the announcement a disciplinary of the social.But, in the end, it has been with actualtheorizations grappling thatmetaphysics holdsno necessarysolutions. partof my argument
"Observation of practice," then: not simply a retrograde move, nor a reparochializationof the discipline, a pretending that nothing had been written in Paris between 1966 and 1990-for as H.R. Haldeman said to John Dean in quite a different context in 1973, "once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it is awfully hard to get it back in." "Observation"as flexible but tenacious meth-

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odology, and "practice"as transdisciplinarycoin. Old-fashioned,perhaps, but then again, no less old-fashioned than would be the accurate description of a burgeoning literary, even Culturalstudies, as the "readingof text." Practice, then, perhaps, will become a coin of the more general academic realm in the coming years. With such a realization in hand, anthropology's only missing ingredient might then be a fashionably French theorist, call him Jacques Bourdieuida (and why not?), gliding from conference to conference and mysteriously intoning that in anthropology as elsewhere, "il n'y a pas de horspractique,"or, "there is no outside-of-practice."

NOTES
1. I wouldlike to thankMichaelChorost,StanleyFish, RobertI. Levy, Richard readandtwoexactinganonymous FredMyers,William Fox,SangeetaLuthra, Reddy, andresistantcommentson draftversions.A muchearlier ers for at once supportive Division of this paperwas presentedat the Anthropological incarnation Approaches in New annual of the Association convention Modern York,DeLanguage meeting fromthatpanel.I amof courseresponalsoto questioners cember1992;I amgrateful This paperis forJulieByrne. sible for all shortcomings. 2. Phrasesfrom,respectively,Marcusand Cushman(1982:64),Said (1989:208), Rabinow Trouillot(1991:17),Fox (1991a:93), (1991:64),andGeertz(1988:11). ofthisformer-andnowquite 3. Aconcentrated reminder foreign-sounding--scientism of the surveyof 1950s'anthropolin the Introduction andTableof Contents canbe found AnEncyclopedic shortintro(Kroeber 1953).Kroeber's Inventory Today: ogy,Anthropology andcallson "the as a "science" inoverhalf ofits paragraphs refersto anthropology duction and andengineering," "total natural methods of fundamental science," culture," "physics number of external science"of an infinite the ideaof anthropology as a "co-ordinating it intoa set ofknowledge, to hammer which thisvastarray can"forge together disciplines, revealsa substanA similar volume ofcoherent bySolTax(1964) interpretations." survey thereafter. tialdifference onlyshortly andFoucault 4. FromDerrida (1967, 1980). (1967:227) 5. Thisessay, againstmorecommon anthropological usage,willfavorthe narrower will overthe moreexpansive"postmodernism." Here,the former "poststructuralism" andstancesdevelopedsince referto a rangeof (largelyFrench)theoretical programs West-driven 1967, while the latterwouldmore broadly signifya longer-lived global formation. The bibliography on bothtermsis of coursemassive.Inthis paper, cultural I am awarethat I am focusingmy attentionson poststructuralism's epistemological powerful critiqueof the subject.My thanksto William critique,leavingout its equally Reddyforpointingthis out. Culfor dialogism is D. Tedlock(1979).Fora post-Writing 6. The earlyargument B. see Page (1988)and,less directlybut morepowerfully, turedefense of dialogism, Tedlock(1991). ofanthropological see Watson 7. Fora morethorough reflexivity, critique specifically (1987). thatthe original to Jameson(1972:i).I aminformed 8. This is the famousepigraph as TheWilltoPower,but is fromNietzsche'slate notebooks, laterpublished quotation for I havenot been ableto locatethe specificpassage.My thanksto Fredric Jameson

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this information. 9. "Culture," of course,hasbeen contestedforcenturies.Herder,forone, wrotein the late eighteenthcenturythat "nothing is more vexed thanthis term"(quotedin Frantzen Foranimportant semantichistoryof the term,see Markus 1990:xv). (1993), andpriorto that,Kroeber andKluckhohn (1952). 10. Robert Pool(1991)characterizes I believe)mostlate-1980scritiques (correctly, of anthropology's postmodernist turn as coming from one of two returnedfoundationalist eitherthe objectivist-positivist orthe Marxist-critical. Thepragcamps: matistcritiquepresentedhere, I wouldsuggest, is neitherof these things.It rather andtakes them to their own theoretical begins withinpoststructuralist assumptions domain of pragmatics, or politics.Thoughwritten limits,leavingone in the important of materialist versuscognitive-linguistic one mayread againsta backdrop conceptions, Harris(1974),in a sense, as a sort of protopragmatist. 11. For a too-infrequent see Asad's(1984)critique exampleof such an intonation, of Geertzfor theorizingreligionwithoutdiscussingChristianity. It is the case that Franz Boasdidaddress the "native bias"situation withregard toJewishscholars studyhis relationship to Judaismwas, however,quite complex. ing Jewish communities; See Glick(1982). 12. Anincreasingly outside the scopeofthispaper, dealswiththe largebodyofwriting, andWesternknowledge intellectuals questionof non-Western See, forexproduction. of an earlier Saidin Ahmad ample,Said(1990)andthe critique (1992).I do not meanto thatI believethegoingliterary-studies model of"authentic" scholimply bymydiscussion is necessarily to the "externalist" standard morecharacarlycultural authority superior teristicof anthropology. In particular, studies'privilege of "authentic" literary authority riskscultural Balkanization blindProtestants canread/teach/understand ("only Milton"), a falseessentialism anddevaluing the important function literature promoting "bridging" hasalways offered. Thisgeneral is farfromsettled. question 13. GreilMarcus's reminiscent of the last (1992)phrase,coincidentally remarkably of ElmanService'sclassic "Mouthtalk" (1969). paragraph 14. For more on "text,"andliterarystudies'role in this concept'sexpansion,see Robbins (1987)andMowitt(1992). 15. The articulation of the localandthe global in Marcus's reessaybearsinteresting semblance to the thoughtof PercyBarnevik, chairman of ABB Asea BrownBoveri,a Swiss-Swedish industrial in the world. giantandone of the mosttransnational companies Barnevik callshis company "multilocal" andassertsthat"weareat homein manyplaces, butwe haveno home." See Taylor in the Harvard Business Review (1991).

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