1st Edition

Re-Creating Anthropology Sociality, Matter, and the Imagination

Edited By David N. Gellner, Dolores P. Martinez Copyright 2022
    242 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    242 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book makes a notable contribution to discussions of what anthropology is and should be in the twenty-first century through a reconsideration, from diverse sub-disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, of the interactions between sociality, matter, and the imagination. It explores the imagination in its social contexts, how it is put to work, and how, in its embodied and material forms, it works in practice. The chapters provide detailed case studies, including film-making in Egypt; spirit-possession/exorcism in Italy; Theosophy and the production of knowledge about UFOs; the role of mistakes or glitches in public performances; humans’ varying relationships to the environment; post-coloniality, time, and crisis in anthropology; and artistic creativity. 

    List of Figures

    List of Contributors


    1 Introduction: Social Anthropology as Scepticism, Empathy, and Holism

    David N. Gellner

    Part I Time

    2 ‘"Not an Airy European Fantasy", or: How (De)Colonization Embeds the Anthropological Imagination

    Peter Pels

    3 Placing Time: Open, Wild, Drift

    Caitlin DeSilvey

    4 Time and Permanence: In an Epoch of the Anachronic

    Michael Rowlands

    5 Crisis, Prophecy, and Ethnography: Living in the Waste Land Then and Now

    Ramon Sarró

    Part II Imagination and the Social

    6 Interactional Glitches, Cooperation, and the Paradox of Public Joint Activities

    Alessandro Duranti

    7 Enskilment and the Emergent Imagination

    Iza Kavedžija

    8 ‘"She Talks to Angels": Spirit Becomings, Embodied Memories, and Affective Imagination Skills in Catholic Exorcism in Contemporary Italy

    Andrea De Antoni

    9 The Role of Unproved Ideas in the Production of Knowledge: A Case Study

    Timothy Jenkins

    10 The Light of a Piece: An Exploration of Materiality and Creative Practice in a Maine Landscape – Notes on a Film Screening

    Anna Grimshaw with Elizabeth Hallam

    Part III Futures

    11 Describing the Future: Predictability, Uncertainty, and Imponderability

    Chihab El Khachab

    12 Anthropocenic Reconfigurations: Socio-Natures and the Politics of Planetary Health

    Melissa Leach

    13 Psychological Essentialism: An Anchoring for Anthropological Comparison

    Rita Astuti

    Afterword: Anthropology and Imagination's Techniques

    Dolores P. Martinez



    David N. Gellner is Professor of Social Anthropology and a Fellow of All Souls, University of Oxford, UK.

    Dolores P. Martinez is Emeritus Reader in Anthropology at SOAS, University of London, and a Research Affiliate at ISCA, University of Oxford, UK.