The Predicament of Culture

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Harvard University Press, May 18, 1988 - Social Science - 381 pages
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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. 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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The predicament of culture: twentieth-century ethnography, literature and art

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Clifford's concern is a "pervasive post-colonial crisis of ethnographic authority.'' Knowledge of non-Western peoples has been shaped by "a Western will to power,'' but peoples whose stories and ... Read full review

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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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