John Wiley & Sons The Composition of Worlds Cover In this autobiographical reflection, the distinguished anthropologist Philippe Descola looks back on.. Product #: 978-1-5095-5547-5 Regular price: $63.46 $63.46 In Stock

The Composition of Worlds

Interviews with Pierre Charbonnier

Descola, Philippe

Cover

1. Edition October 2023
224 Pages, Hardcover
Wiley & Sons Ltd

ISBN: 978-1-5095-5547-5
John Wiley & Sons

Short Description

In this autobiographical reflection, the distinguished anthropologist Philippe Descola looks back on his intellectual career and examines both the central themes of his work and the key questions that have shaped anthropological debates over the past forty years.

A student of Lévi-Strauss, Descola conducted ethnographic research among the Achuar of the upper Amazon in the late 1970s, focusing on how native societies relate to their environment. In this book he sheds fresh light on the evolution of his thinking from structuralism to an anthropology beyond the human, on the critique of the modern separation between nature and society, and above all on the genesis and scope of his major work Beyond Nature and Culture. This synthesis of the ways in which humans view their relationships with non-humans proposes four schemas for the 'composition of worlds' (animism, naturalism, totemism, analogism) that characterize our ways of inhabiting the earth. Presented in the form of an extended conversation with Pierre Charbonnier, this book is both a lucid introduction to the work of one of the most original anthropologists writing today and an impassioned plea for ontologies that are more accommodating of the diversity of beings.

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In this autobiographical reflection, the distinguished anthropologist Philippe Descola looks back on his intellectual career and examines both the central themes of his work and the key questions that have shaped anthropological debates over the past forty years.

A student of Lévi-Strauss, Descola conducted ethnographic research among the Achuar of the upper Amazon in the late 1970s, focusing on how native societies relate to their environment. In this book he sheds fresh light on the evolution of his thinking from structuralism to an anthropology beyond the human, on the critique of the modern separation between nature and society, and above all on the genesis and scope of his major work Beyond Nature and Culture. This synthesis of the ways in which humans view their relationships with non-humans proposes four schemas for the 'composition of worlds' (animism, naturalism, totemism, analogism) that characterize our ways of inhabiting the earth. Presented in the form of an extended conversation with Pierre Charbonnier, this book is both a lucid introduction to the work of one of the most original anthropologists writing today and an impassioned plea for ontologies that are more accommodating of the diversity of beings.

Foreword to the English edition

I. A taste for inquiry

Philosophical journeys
Discovering the mind, discovering the world
Among the tribe of anthropologists
Entering the pantheon

II. An Amazonian sojourn and the challenges of ethnography

The world of the forest
Living and working among the Achuar
The trial of return

III. The diversity of natures
The four corners of the world
Methodological questions
Conceptual reform
Forms of figuration


IV. The contemporary world in the light of anthropology

We Moderns
From anthropology to ecology
Political anthropology
The museum

Bibliography

Notes

Index
"Charbonnier's questions have engendered exquisite insights into the essence of Descola's anthropology. A very welcome translation reveals the prescience with which, long ago, this eminent thinker scaled up his concerns to address some of today's most urgent problems."
Marilyn Strathern, University of Cambridge

"What a privilege, to accompany this brilliant anthropologist as he develops and reflects on his meta-ontology against the background of the ethnographic vocation, the Amazonian forest, structuralism, and the distinctiveness of anthropology in France! An instant classic, this exceptionally lucid work will be indispensable for teaching."
Michael Lambek, University of Toronto
Philippe Descola is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the Collège de France and Director of Studies at EHESS, Paris.