Dubhghaill [Abstract]

Reduction and representation: the function(s) of understanding and comparison in, and between, Anthropology and Literature [Full text]

Sean O’ Dubhghaill [1]

Abstract: This article addresses the manner in which the anthropological and literary subjects are fashioned, imagined and transmitted to their audience, being mindful of the manner in which misunderstandings occur in this delicate transposition. It starts by reviewing the longstanding tension in anthropology between modish theoretical strains, which ethnography incorporates, and anthropological purists who believe that the input from extraneous disciplines cheapens the discipline and renders trivial studies conducted by previous generations of anthropologists. This work adopts a comparative stance borrowing from ethnographies, novels and conventional philosophical work, but the main focus relies on their fundamental comparability to anthropology, as well as the opposite. To close, some in-roads concerning the possibility of synthesising both perspectives are outlined whose special relevance to understanding anthropology is more contingent upon a shift in perspectives and disciplines which renders anthropology both a subject which seeks to understand as well as an understanding subject.

Keywords: Anthropological representation, Literature, Deleuze, Ethnography, Comparative Anthropology

[1] Interculturalism, Migrations and Minorities Research Centre, KU Leuven, Belgium, Sean.odubhghaill@soc.kuleuven.be