1st Edition

The Composition of Anthropology How Anthropological Texts Are Written

Edited By Morten Nielsen, Nigel Rapport Copyright 2018
    214 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    214 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    How do anthropologists write their texts? What is the nature of creativity in the discipline of anthropology? This book follows anthropologists into spaces where words, ideas and arguments take shape and explores the steps in a creative process. In a unique examination of how texts come to be composed, the editors bring together a distinguished group of anthropologists who offer valuable insight into their writing habits. These reflexive glimpses into personal creativity reveal not only the processes by which theory and ethnography come, in particular cases, to be represented on the page but also supply examples that students may follow or adapt.

    Introduction: On the Genealogy of Writing Anthropology Morten Nielsen and Nigel Rapport

    1. The Life of Concepts and How They Speak to Experience Veena Das

    2. Ten Preludes to a Preface Kirin Narayan

    3. Writing against conclusion Nina Holm Vohnsen

    4. Composing texts and the composition of uprisings: Notes on writing the postcolonial political Bjørn Enge Bertelsen

    5. Public Ritual in Mauritius Thomas Hylland Eriksen

    6. Writing Whalsay: Reflections on how, why, and for who anthropologists write Anthony Cohen

    7. Writing a Cosmopolitan Anthropology in Recognition of Anyone Nigel Rapport

    8. Diversifying from Within: Diaspora writings in Sweden Helena Wulff

    9. Dialogic Aesthetics: Notes and nodes in analogical software coding Morten Nielsen

    10. Composing American stiob Dominic Boyer

    11. In the Workshop: Anthropology in a Collaborative Zone of Inquiry Anthony Stavrianakis, Paul Rabinow and Trine Mygind Korsby

    Epilogue: Writing the Human: Anthropological accounts as generic fragments Nigel Rapport and Morten Nielsen


    Morten Nielsen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Aarhus University, Denmark.

    Nigel Rapport is Professor of Anthropological and Philosophical Studies in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews, UK.

    "This collected volume is so needed and is such a gift. It is simply a collection of 'making' texts, examining creative practices of 'composition'. This is the space in which the diverse stakes and difficulties of moving from notes to texts can be opened for discussion."
    George Marcus, University of California, Irvine, USA

    "The Composition of Anthropology is an essential collection that explores the very possibilities and constraints of anthropological writing as a distinct mode of representation. What precisely are the processes through which fieldwork, theoretical concepts, political positions and anthropological experience become translated into text? How do anthropologists communicate knowledge through writing? In addressing these questions the volume is required reading for anyone involved in the writing or analysis of anthropological texts."
    Andrew Irving, University of Manchester, UK


    "The book is advertised as a methodological tool for students of anthropology as well as a theoretical and practical exploration of creativity for professional readers. For me, it is much more than that. It is a reflection on both the universality and individuality of the writing experience. It shines a light on writing practices that are often personal. It illustrates the unity and diversity of the writing experience as well as the individual but universal nature of humanity itself. There are no conclusions – except to say that the volume has relevance well beyond the field of anthropology. It is a reflective text for all academics who move from their ‘ivory towers’ into the real world and back again to pen their observations. . ." Máiréad Nic Craith, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh