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Culture and Authenticity

ISBN: 978-1-4051-2443-0
186 pages
December 2007, Wiley-Blackwell
Culture and Authenticity (1405124431) cover image
Authenticity is taken-for-granted as an absolute value in contemporary life. In Culture and Authenticity, Charles Lindholm calls upon anthropological case studies from different cultures, historical material, and comparative philosophy, to explore how notions of authenticity develop, what forms it takes, and how it changes over time.

  • Examines the idea of authenticity and its role in modern culture
  • Explores society’s preoccupation with authenticity and the search for ‘real’ experiences
  • Looks at how the concept of authenticity intersects with questions about religion, ethnicity, and race
  • Investigates authenticity in the context of fields such as dance, cuisine, travel, and the modern marketplace
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Introduction.

Part I: Individual Authenticity:.

1. Authenticity and Art.

2. Authenticity and Music.

3. Seeking Authenticity in Travel and Adventure.

4. The Commodification of Authenticity.

5. Authenticity and the Self.

Part II: Collective Authenticity:.

6. Authentic Cuisine and National Identity.

7. Authentic Dance and National Identity.

8. Modes of Authenticity in the Nation-State.

9. Israel and Authentic Jewish Identity.

10. Authenticity On the Margins.

11. Afterword: The Anthropology of Authenticity.

Endnotes.

Bibliography

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Charles Lindholm is a University Professor of Anthropology at Boston University. He is the author of six books and numerous articles, many of them on topics related to idealization and the nature of human spirituality.
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  • Examines the idea of authenticity and its role in modern culture

  • Explores society’s preoccupation with authenticity and the search for ‘real’ experiences

  • Looks at how the concept of authenticity intersects with questions about religion, ethnicity, and race

  • Investigates authenticity in the context of fields such as dance, cuisine, travel, and the modern marketplace
See More
“This is a wonderful book, illuminating a phenomenon that is of vital import for modern man's sense of identity. Wise and witty, Culture and Authenticity is anthropology at its very best.”
Sudhir Kakar, INSEAD, Fontainbleau, France

“No concept is more defining of the paradox of modernity than authenticity. In this lucid text Lindholm, from a stance of anthropological respect, proves an ideal guide to its myriad consequences.”
Daniel Miller, University College London

“Through a wealth of examples Charles Lindholm probes the cultural currency of ‘authenticity,’ how individuals and groups invest in goods and values as diverse as authentic food, authentic art, music and dance, or authentic roots and national identities. This is a stimulating and suggestive foray in psychological anthropology.”
Michael Donnelly, Bard College


“Lindholm brings a sharp sense of history, the full range of the best contemporary anthropology, and a quick wit to the topic of culture and authenticity, in this very readable and thoughtful book.”
Richard Wilk, Indiana University


“During the past two decades, the issue of identity, its politics, the search for authenticity and roots has become explosively present on a world scale. This book is the first to my knowledge to have directly taken up the question of the nature of authenticity in anthropology and among the people that anthropologists study. It is a timely as well as systematic discussion of one of the crucial issues of our time. The book should be required reading for researchers and students alike.”
Jonathan Friedman, Lund University

“In this beautifully written and accessible book, Charles Lindholm, a renowned anthropologist, dares to bring us back to the days of a broad comparative study of culture. Lindholm provides an insightful, sweeping account of authenticity across time and space, in chapters that cover a wide range of topics, such as art, cuisine, ethnicity, citizenship, and religious fundamentalism. The underlying message of this important book is that the reports of the death of the authentic in the post-modern world have been greatly exaggerated. Dramatic social change and globalization have only intensified the on-going human quest for tradition and the elusive anchors of home and hearth.”
Roy Richard Grinker, George Washington University

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