Monday, July 14, 2008

Keith Hart: Anthropology and Globalis(z)ation Lecture

I found this recent posting on You Tube of a Keith Hart lecture: it is posted in five parts: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, and Part Five. He is clearly uncomfortable with the technology but if you can get beyond your own discomfort watching his discomfort, it is worth the effort. In the end, he makes a really nice argument for the need to approach anthropological issues by avoiding the middle-range of social categorization: like ethnic group, class, gender, culture or even the nation-state. Hart has been one of those who have seized on the realization that what has been called the era of "national capital" is quickly passing us by as large corporations extend far beyond the economic and organizational boundaries of the nation-state.

But where does this lead anthropology and our chosen domain of ethnography?

He advocates more fluid forms of inclusion of the human experience; perhaps by focusing on the story of individuals as they experience these changes. Referencing two well-know and widely-assigned undergraduate works: Shostak's Nisa and Mintz' Worker in the Cane as examples, he argues that incorporating the real human stories of individuals may allow anthropology to push its way out of the categories we have been bound by. When I think of my own dissertation work, it is always the individual stories that stand out and have meaning for me and my students. I have hopes of adding these stories to this blog from time to time with the goal of sharing those bits which have moved knowledge forward in my classes.

I have found Hart's blog (which accompanies his latest book: The Memory Bank: Money in an Unequal World).


I can't wait to poke around. He is such an original thinker.

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