Rethinking world anthropologies
Gustavo Lins Ribeiro (University of Brasilia)
Paper short abstract:
The world anthropologies’ debate is well known in different anthropological communities, thanks to several initiatives that disseminated the visions of this political and theoretical movement. I will discuss the main accomplishments of the world anthropologies’ project, its limits and obstacles.
Paper long abstract:
The world anthropologies' (WA) debate is well known in different anthropological communities, thanks to the creation of the World Anthropologies Network in the early 2000s; to a symposium that led to an homonymous book; and to other initiatives that disseminated the visions of this political and theoretical movement. The WA project aims at pluralizing the history of anthropology; spreading the awareness that the discipline is made up of different perspectives; and propitiating the emergence of cosmopolitan anthropological practices to create a more heteroglossic practice. Although it considers the role that different subject positions play in the construction of anthropological knowledge, WA tend to emphasize the relationships between hegemonic and non-hegemonic centers of anthropological production located within and without nation-states. It is influenced by the notion that there is a "geopolitics of knowledge" historically related to the unequal power distribution within the "world system of anthropological production." WA assume that anthropologists value diversity as a means of improving creativity; it is possible to enhance cross-fertilization if anthropologists take advantage of the heterodox opportunities opened by globalization processes; there is a need to avoid the "gravitational power of hegemonic internationalization" to go beyond the monotony of an academic universe dominated by Anglo-American perspectives; universality as a notion dominated by an Eurocentric vision of epistemological achievements is to be left behind in favor of "diversality," the new universal. This paper will discuss some of the main accomplishments of the world anthropologies' project, its limits and the obstacles it has faced since its beginning.
World Anthropologies Today