The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth-century Ethnography, Literature, and Art

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Harvard University Press, Jan 1, 1988 - Social Science - 381 pages
2 Reviews

The Predicament of Culture is a critical ethnography of the West in its changing relations with other societies. Analyzing cultural practices such as anthropology, travel writing, collecting, and museum displays of tribal art, Clifford shows authoritative accounts of other ways of life to be contingent fictions, now actively contested in postcolonial contexts. His critique raises questions of global significance: Who has the authority to speak for any group's identity and authenticity? What are the essential elements and boundaries of a culture? How do self and "the other" clash in the encounters of ethnography, travel, and modern interethnic relations? In discussions of ethnography, surrealism, museums, and emergent tribal arts, Clifford probes the late-twentieth century predicament of living simultaneously within, between, and after culture.

  

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Review: The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth-Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art

User Review  - Susanna - Goodreads

What I like about this book besides its marriage of anthropology, history, and literary studies is its form. Clifford argues that collage is a more representative form of culture than a linear, cohesive narrative. And then he does it. Read full review

Review: The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth-Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art

User Review  - Dagezi - Goodreads

The beginning of "the Pure Products Go Crazy" and the first strains of "Summer Babe" by Pavement both marked thresholds that I knew I was crossing as I was crossing them. Read full review

Contents

The Pure Products Go Crazy
1
On Ethnographic Authority
21
Marcel Griaules
55
Conrad
92
On Ethnographic Surrealism
117
Victor Segalen
152
Michel Leiris
165
Aime Cesaire
175
Postcards
182
Histories of the Tribal and the Modern
189
On Collecting Art and Culture
215
On Orientalism
255
Identity in Mashpee
277
References
349
Sources
371
Copyright

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About the author (1988)

James Clifford is Professor Emeritus in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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