Anthropology in the Meantime

Experimental Ethnography, Theory, and Method for the Twenty-First Century

Book Pages: 464 Illustrations: 16 illustrations Published: September 2018

Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, Science and Technology Studies, Sociology > Social Theory

In Anthropology in the Meantime Michael M. J. Fischer draws on his real world, multi-causal, multi-scale, and multi-locale research to rebuild theory for the twenty-first century. Providing a history and inventory of experimental methods and frameworks in anthropology from the 1920s to the present, Fischer presents anthropology in the meantime as a methodological injunction to do ethnography that examines how the pieces of the world interact, fit together or clash, generate complex unforeseen consequences, reinforce cultural references, and cause social ruptures. Anthropology in the meantime requires patience, constant experimentation, collaboration, the sounding-out of affects and nonverbal communication, and the conducting of ethnographically situated research over longitudinal time. Perhaps above all, anthropology in the meantime is no longer anthropology of and about peoples; it is written with and for the people who are its subjects. Anthropology in the Meantime presents the possibility for creating new narratives and alternative futures.


"Anthropology in the Meantime is a rich collection of essays in tune with the central debates in contemporary cultural anthropology. . . . It serves as a survey of the present state of the field, identifying the tensions and re-inscribing them in the long tradition of anthropological scholarship. . . . Recommended. Advanced undergraduates and above." — A. Ponce de Leon, Choice

" [This book] maintains a productive line that brings one back to the spirit, above all, of ethnographic exploration as idea and method mining. ... I believe it arrives at a perfect moment. [Fischer] contributes to various contemporary discussions within anthropology on religion, film, politics, postcolonialism, and gender/sexuality." — Joseph Russo, Anthropological Quarterly

“Michael M. J. Fischer's work has a deep ethical sense, as well as acute knowledge of the political, historical matrix of living and dying that anthropologists attend to. Recognizing and describing the traumas and violences that saturate the worlds ethnographers inhabit and write about, Anthropology in the Meantime is never far from the questions of whom ethnography and anthropology are for, and with whom they are practiced; and the answers are never simple.” — Donna J. Haraway, author of Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene

Anthropology in the Meantime is a stunning, luminous, and empowering engagement with our anthropological legacies and with anthropology to come. Ingenious through and through, this book represents critical humanism and cosmopolitan theorizing at its very best. It consolidates Michael M. J. Fischer's standing as anthropology's most inventive present-day essayist.” — João Biehl, coeditor of Unfinished: The Anthropology of Becoming


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Michael M. J. Fischer is Andrew Mellon Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Anthropology and Science and Technology Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the author of eight books, including Anthropological Futures; Mute Dreams, Blind Owls, and Dispersed Knowledges; and Emergent Forms of Life and the Anthropological Voice, all also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Prologue: Changing Modes of Ethnographic Authority  1
Part I. Ethnography in the Meantime
1. Experimental Ethnography in Ink, Light, Sound, and Performance  39
2. Ontology and Metaphysics Are False Leads  49
3. Pure Logic and Typologizing Are False Leads  79
Part II. Ground-Truthing
4. Violence and Deep Play  99
5. Amazonian Ethnography and the Politics of Renewal  114
6. Ethnic Violence, Galactic Polities, and the Great Transformation  130
Part III. Tone and Tuning
7. Health Care in India  161
8. Hospitality  186
9. Anthropology and Philosophy  198
Part IV. Temporalities and Recursivities
10. Changing Media of Ethnographic Writing  233
11. Recalling Writing Culture  258
12. Anthropological Modes of Concern  276
Epilogue: Third Spaces and Ethnography in the Anthropocene  298
Acknowledgments  345
Notes  349
Bibliography  391
Index  429
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0055-6 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0040-2
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