The Place of Theory: Rights, Networks, and Ethnographic Comparison
Englund, H.; Yarrow, T.
The relationship between theory and place has remained a central problem for the discipline of anthropology. Focusing on debates around the concepts of Human Rights and Networks, specifically as these traverse African and Melanesian contexts, this paper highlights how novel ideas emerge through sustained comparison across different regions. Rather than understand places as sources of theories to be applied to other contexts, we argue that anthropologists need to recognise how new concepts are generated through reflexive comparison across different regions. This analysis leads us to question a widespread propensity to understand places as the sine qua non of anthropological theory, proposing instead that place emerges retrospectively as an artefact of comparison. We conclude that while it is therefore necessary to acknowledge the analytic construction of Africa and its sub-regions, there remain compelling reasons to recognize its analytic utility.
Englund, H., & Yarrow, T. (2013). The Place of Theory: Rights, Networks, and Ethnographic Comparison. Social Analysis: The International Journal of Social and Cultural Practice, 57(3), 132-149. https://doi.org/10.3167/sa.2013.570308
|Journal Article Type||Article|
|Deposit Date||Jan 26, 2012|
|Publicly Available Date||Nov 28, 2013|
|Journal||Social Analysis: The International Journal of Social and Cultural Practice|
|Peer Reviewed||Peer Reviewed|
|Keywords||Anthropological theory, Ethnographic comparison, Melanesia, Africa, Relational rights, Networks, Area studies.|
Accepted Journal Article
This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedited version of an article to be published in Social analysis.
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