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Recovering the Human Subject
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Book description

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.


‘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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