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The Objects of Evidence: Anthropological Approaches to the Production of Knowledge

Matthew Engelke (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4051-9296-5
170 pages
March 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
The Objects of Evidence: Anthropological Approaches to the Production of Knowledge (1405192968) cover image
Part of The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute Special Issue Book Series, the contributors to this volume share the conviction that anthropology can no longer afford to ignore the importance of the concept of evidence, either for the ways in which anthropologists carry out their work (methodology) or present and justify their findings (epistemology).
  • Demonstrates that evidence is something that all anthropologists must possess
  • Shows how the collection of evidence in the field is still, without doubt, one of the main ingredients of what Bronislaw Malinowski once referred to as 'the ethnographer’s magic'
  • Reveals how the concept of evidence has received little sustained attention in print – especially when compared to related concepts, such as 'fieldwork', 'truth', 'facts', and 'knowledge'
  • Argued from a variety of theoretical perspectives and a rarity in its ability to orchestrate some many different – and vibrant – paradigms and points of view
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Foreword: Wendy James.

1. The objects of evidence: Matthew Engelke.

2. Truth and sight: generalizing without universalizing: Maurice Bloch.

3. The prosthetic eye: photography as cure and poison: Christopher Pinney.

4. Cultural evidence in courts of law: Anthony Good.

5. The antinomies of political evidence in post-Apartheid Durban, South Africa: Sharad Chari.

6. Three propositions for an evidence-based medical anthropology: Stefan Ecks.

7. Definitive evidence, from Cuban gods: Martin Holbraad.

8. The evidence of the senses and the materiality of religion: Webb Keane.

9. Linguistic and cultural variables in the psychology of numeracy: Charles Stafford.

10. Some problems with property ascription: Nicola Knight and Rita Astuti.

Index

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Matthew Engelke is a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at the London School of Economics.
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  • An important volume for all anthropologists conducting their own primary research, demonstrating that evidence is something they must all possess
  • Reveals how the concept of evidence has received little sustained attention in print - especially when compared to related concepts, such as 'fieldwork,' 'truth,' 'facts,' and 'knowledge'
  • All contributors share the conviction that anthropology can no longer afford to ignore the importance of the concept of evidence, either for the ways in which anthropologists carry out their work (methodology) or present and justify their findings (epistemology)
  • Argues from a variety of theoretical perspectives, and is rare in its ability to orchestrate many different - and vibrant - paradigms and points of view
See More
"This volume is successful is in transforming the problem of evidence into a productive inquiry." (Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, January 2011)

 

‘A satisfyingly complex and lucid collection, these essays are ordered to create a ripple effect of themes and arguments that emerge as related, overlapping and contingent to one another - a nice reflection on the substance of the authors' concerns with evidence. Compulsive, not just imperative, reading for anyone engaged with the analysis of field materials.'
Marilyn Strathern, Girton College, University of Cambridge

'Objects of Evidence provides signal advances to thinking about two topics of fundamental importance, namely the anthropology of epistemology - how people make claims to knowledge - and the epistemology of anthropology - the claims on which anthropological knowledge rests.'
Michael Lambek, University of Toronto

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