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Demands of the Day

On the Logic of Anthropological Inquiry

Demands of the Day asks about the logical standards and forms that should guide ethical and experimental anthropology in the twenty-first century. Anthropologists Paul Rabinow and Anthony Stavrianakis do so by taking up Max Weber’s notion of the “demands of the day.” Just as the demand of the day for anthropology decades ago consisted of thinking about fieldwork, today, they argue, the demand is to examine what happens after, how the experiences of fieldwork are gathered, curated, narrated, and ultimately made available for an anthropological practice that moves beyond mere ethnographic description.
Rabinow and Stavrianakis draw on experiences from an innovative set of anthropological experiments that investigated how and whether the human and biological sciences could be brought into a mutually enriching relationship. Conceptualizing the anthropological and philosophic ramifications of these inquiries, they offer a bold challenge to contemporary anthropology to undertake a more rigorous examination of its own practices, blind spots, and capacities, in order to meet the demands of our day.

144 pages | 3 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2013

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

History of Science

Philosophy: General Philosophy


“This audacious and demanding book probes a zone of metamethodology that does not take participantobservation or ethics for granted but, rather, as requiring a concerted, interpretive analytics. . . . The authors’ serious wonderment as to how to get beyond discordancy is projected toward a ‘horizon of a near future,’ specifically, a future of thought and ethical practice. Their liminoid workspace is a compendium of concepts in ferment. They perceive the pathos of difference and of how concepts arise only to deconstruct themselves. They become tricksters, provocateurs.”

American Ethnologist

“This short volume is another installment—perhaps the capstone—of what, without doubt, has been the most important effort during the first decade of the new century to experiment with recasting the emblematic research paradigm at the heart of  modern anthropology’s identity. Fieldwork remains, with its basic forms and values intact, but without its regulative mythologies. We have here instead, under the primary influences of  Max Weber and John Dewey, a different way of thinking and doing anthropological research reflexively engaged, through working collaborations of variable success inside, alongside, and outside ambitious techno-scientific  assemblages that are rooted in regimes of truth and modernity with which anthropology must ever contend in kinship.”

George Marcus, University of California, Irvine

“Scholars in the field will find here a cornucopia of ideas to use in addressing problems of their own. The question of what it might mean for anthropological research to be a form of ethical practice has been raised by a number of authors recently, and this is a highly sophisticated and distinctive response.”

James Laidlaw, University of Cambridge

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