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The Objects of Evidence. Anthropological Approaches to the Production of Knowledge. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute Special Issue Book Series

  • ID: 2250286
  • Journal
  • March 2009
  • Region: Global
  • 170 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Evidence is something that all anthropologists must possess, and the collection of evidence in the field is still one of the main ingredients of what Bronislaw Malinowski once referred to as the ethnographer s magic . And yet, despite this, the concept of evidence has received little sustained attention in print especially when compared to related concepts, such as fieldwork , truth , facts , and knowledge . All anthropologists use evidence, but precious few reflect on what it is or isn t. This volume goes some way to correcting this state of affairs.

The volume s contributors share the conviction that anthropology can no longer afford to ignore the importance of the concept of evidence, either for the ways in which anthropologists carry out their work (methodology) or present and justify their findings (epistemology). But the real strength of the volume comes from the ways in which the contributors argue the case from a variety of theoretical perspectives. This volume is a first when it comes to the care with which it treats such an important subject, and a rarity in its ability to orchestrate so many different paradigms and points of view.

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Foreword: Wendy James.

1. The objects of evidence: Matthew Engelke.

2. Truth and sight: generalizing without universalizing: Maurice Bloch.

3. The prosthetic eye: photography as cure and poison: Christopher Pinney.

4. Cultural evidence in courts of law: Anthony Good.

5. The antinomies of political evidence in post–Apartheid Durban, South Africa: Sharad Chari.

6. Three propositions for an evidence–based medical anthropology: Stefan Ecks.

7. Definitive evidence, from Cuban gods: Martin Holbraad.

8. The evidence of the senses and the materiality of religion: Webb Keane.

9. Linguistic and cultural variables in the psychology of numeracy: Charles Stafford.

10. Some problems with property ascription: Nicola Knight and Rita Astuti.


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Matthew Engelke
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