03.08.05: The blog has moved to www.antropologi.info/blog/anthropology/
, and several broken links have been corrected
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Monday, June 13, 2005, 12:49
Seeing Africa as exceptional underestimates common experience of globalisation
Anthropologist Christopher Davis, The Guardian
Tony Blair's Commission for Africa has left me bewildered. As an anthropologist interested in "traditional" medicine, I was delighted to see its report's attempt to take an Africa-centred point of view. Reading a sentence stating that "history shows African cultures to have been tremendously adaptive, absorbing a wide range of outside influences" is a relief to those of us who have tried for years to make this point.
But I was frustrated by what seems to be our incapacity to escape our own mental traditions - the casts of mind that always seem to come into play when we imagine Africa. Nowhere were these more in evidence than in the report's discussion of the role of religion in African social life. The risk is of the return of the 19th-century idea of "primitive mentality": the idea that "they" are less rational than "we" are. >> continue
>> see comments by Kerim Friedman /Savage Minds
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