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Empire of LanguageToward a Critique of (Post) colonial Expression$
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Laurent Dubreuil

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450563

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450563.001.0001

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Formations and Reformations of Anthropology

Formations and Reformations of Anthropology

(p.147) Chapter 8 Formations and Reformations of Anthropology
Empire of Language

Laurent Dubreuil

, David Fieni
Cornell University Press

This chapter explains that anthropology, at least during the first part of its disciplinary history, spoke the colonial language all too often. For Marcel Mauss, Michel Leiris, and Claude Lévi-Strauss, colonization is both what allows ethnology to take place and what, once brought to term, will prohibit it (in the dissolution of ancestral cultures). Hence the colony as condition of possibility does not enter the field of study but instead remains outside the frame. Yet, after the epistemological crisis linked to decolonization, anthropology has sometimes closed itself off into what can be called its standard state—this supposedly reverential attitude is of the same order as the former ensauvagement, except that this time it abandons the comparison of differences.

Keywords:   anthropology, ethnology, colonial language, colonization, decolonization, ensauvagement

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