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Recovering the Human Subject

Recovering the Human Subject
Freedom, Creativity and Decision

$105.00 (C)

Barbara Bodenhorn, Martin Holbraad, James Laidlaw, Caroline Humphrey, Veena Das, Lars Højer, Agnieszka Halemba, Morten Axel Pedersen, Katherine Swancutt (苏梦林), Jiarimuji (嘉日姆几), Matei Candea, Joel Robbins
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  • Date Published: March 2018
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108424967

$ 105.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • This volume responds to the often-proclaimed 'death of the subject' in post-structuralist theorizing, and to calls from across the social sciences for 'post-humanist' alternatives to liberal humanism in a distinctively anthropological manner. It asks: can we use the intellectual resources developed in those approaches and debates to reconstruct a new account of how individual human subjects are contingently put together in diverse historical and ethnographic contexts? Anthropologists know that the people they work with think in terms of particular, distinctive, individual human personalities, and that in times of change and crisis these individuals matter crucially to how things turn out. The volume features a classic essay by Caroline Humphrey, 'Reassembling individual subjects', that provides a focus for the debate, and it brings together a distinguished collection of essays, which exhibit a range of theoretical approaches and rich and varied ethnography.

    • Tests a radical new approach to questions of human subjectivity
    • Provides a focussed debate from upcoming and distinguished anthropologists, centred around a classic article in the field
    • Questions of human subjectivity and post-humanism that are often discussed in abstract terms are explored through a range of vivid, empirical ethnographic essays from across the globe
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    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘This collection is something of a Festschrift. It justly highlights Caroline Humphrey's seminal thoughts on the anthropology of sociocultural dynamics and their ethical inflections. All of the contributors pay homage to Humphrey's special gifts in synthesizing the philosophical and the ethnographic, her conceptual originality and, above all, her acute critical reflections on the limitations and incautiousness of the post-humanist turn in social and cultural thought. Yet, it's a Festschrift with a twist. The distinguished scholars whose essays appear in the collection don't rest with paeans. They instead supplement and enlarge Humphrey's insights. In every instance, they demonstrate that those insights enrich anthropological conversations already ongoing, but also open doors to anthropological conversations yet to come. The result is a must-read - analytically sparkling and elegantly composed from start to finish.' James D. Faubion

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108424967
    • length: 206 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.41kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: freedom, creativity, and decision in recovering human subject Barbara Bodenhorn, Martin Holbraad and James Laidlaw
    2. Reassembling individual subjects: events and decisions in troubled times Caroline Humphrey
    Part I. Decision:
    3. On singularity and the event: further reflections on the ordinary Veena Das
    4. Apathy and revolution: temporal sensibilities in contemporary Mongolia Lars Højer
    5. Apparitions of the Virgin Mary as decision-events Agnieszka Halemba
    Part II. Freedom:
    6. Incidental connections: freedom and urban life in Mongolia Morten Axel Pedersen
    7. The return to slavery? Nostalgia and a new generation of escape in Southwest China Katherine Swancutt (苏梦林) and Jiarimuji (嘉日姆几)
    Part III. Creativity:
    8. Paradoxical pedagogies and humanist double binds Matei Candea
    9. Where in the world are values? Exemplarity, morality, and social process Joel Robbins.

  • Editors

    James Laidlaw, University of Cambridge
    James Laidlaw is the William Wyse Professor of Social Anthropology and a Fellow of King's College at the University of Cambridge. His most recent book is The Subject of Virtue: An Anthropology of Ethics and Freedom (Cambridge, 2014).

    Barbara Bodenhorn, University of Cambridge
    Barbara Bodenhorn is a former Newton Trust Lecturer in Social Anthropology and is currently Fellow Emerita of Pembroke College at the University of Cambridge. She is co-editor of An Anthropology of Names and Naming (Cambridge, 2006).

    Martin Holbraad, University College London
    Martin Holbraad is Professor of Social Anthropology at University College London. He is author of Truth in Motion: The Recursive Anthropology of Cuban Divination (2012), and co-author of The Ontological Turn: An Anthropological Exposition (Cambridge, 2017).


    Barbara Bodenhorn, Martin Holbraad, James Laidlaw, Caroline Humphrey, Veena Das, Lars Højer, Agnieszka Halemba, Morten Axel Pedersen, Katherine Swancutt (苏梦林), Jiarimuji (嘉日姆几), Matei Candea, Joel Robbins

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