1st Edition

Anthropology and Responsibility

Edited By Melissa Demian, Mattia Fumanti, Christos Lynteris Copyright 2023
    220 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores the role and implications of responsibility for anthropology, asking how responsibility is recognised and invoked in the world, what relations it draws upon, and how it comes to define notions of the person, institutional practices, ways of knowing and modes of evaluation. The category of responsibility has a long genealogy within the discipline of anthropology and it surfaces in contemporary debates as well as in anthropologists’ collaboration with other disciplines, including when anthropology is applied in fields such as development, medicine, and humanitarian response. As a category that unsettles, challenges and critically engages with political, ethical and epistemological questions, responsibility is central to anthropological theory, ethnographic practice, collaborative research, and applied engagement. With chapters focused on a variety of cultural contexts, this volume considers how anthropology can contribute to a better understanding of responsibility, including the ‘responsibility of anthropology’ and the responsibility of anthropologists to specific others.

    Introduction: Anthropology and responsibility

    Melissa Demian, Mattia Fumanti and Christos Lynteris

    1 Edgy imaginaries: "Ghost’"orangutans, extinction, and responsibility in a plantation landscape

    Liana Chua

    2 The responsibility to consume: Excessive ‘environmentourism’ against rhinoceros extinction in South Africa

    Stasja Koot

    3 Responsibility versus responsibilization: From "mafiacraft" and "witchcraft" to conspiracy thinking today

    Peter Geschiere

    4. In the wake of disenchantment: Silence and the limits of ethnographic attentiveness

    Yana Stainova

    5 The vulnerability vortex: Health, exclusion, and social responsibility

    David Napier and Anna-Maria Volkmann

    6 Keeping things under control: Responsibilities towards things, homes, people in hoarding disorder

    Rebecca Henderson and Laurin Baumgardt

    7 Racialized positionalities: Ethnographic responsibility and the study of racism and white supremacy

    Sofía Ugarte

    8 Of Calcutta, death and the South: Juxtaposing three Calcuttas/Kolkatas

    Debarun Sarkar

    9 The countess’ diaries and taonga Māori: Twenty-first century collaborations around nineteenth century collecting

    Kirsty Kernohan

    10 Responsibility and complicity in the UK "hostile environment"

    Joel White


    Melissa Demian is Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews, UK.

    Mattia Fumanti is Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews, UK.

    Christos Lynteris is Professor of Medical Anthropology at the University of St Andrews, UK.