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Globalization and the Future of Culture Areas: Melanesianist Anthropology in Transition

R. Lederman
Annual Review of Anthropology
Vol. 27 (1998), pp. 427-449
Published by: Annual Reviews
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/223378
Page Count: 23
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Globalization and the Future of Culture Areas: Melanesianist Anthropology in Transition
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Abstract

In the last decade, anthropology has faced challenges to its self-definition associated both with new worldly circumstances and scholarly trends inside and outside the discipline. Recent interest in globalization has provoked discussion concerning what anthropology should be about, how it might be done, and what its relationships are to other bodies of literature and knowledge practices. Unsettling questions have been raised about working concepts of culture, ethnography, the field, fieldwork, and comparative analysis. Extending the rethinking of "place" in anthropology begun by Appadurai, I consider the future of "culture areas" as discursive frameworks for organizing disciplinary practices. Some characteristics of anthropological regionalism are located by contrasting them to interdisciplinary area studies, insofar as globalization poses apparently similar challenges to each. Because of its iconic disciplinary status as an exemplar of "real" anthropology, Melanesianist ethnography is given extended consideration as a particularly interesting case.

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