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Regular version of the site

Article

Writing power: An anarchist anthropologist in the looking glass of critical theory

Critique of Anthropology. 2012. Vol. 32. No. 2. P. 189-205.

This is a case study in the anthropology of anthropology. Its ethnographic focus is on a contemporary critical anthropologist, rather than on the figure of a colonial or nationalist scholar who is explored from a critical perspective of contemporary scholarship. I chart an episode in political biography and scholarship of Maxim Kuchinski, a Russian anarchist and ethnographer, and contextualise his views in a shifting landscape of critical theory. The broader change I am concerned with here is that from ‘the social’ to ‘power’ as a key explanatory category. The goal of this article is to explore how the category of power enables a particular ethnographic vision. If much of current anthropology explores Foucauldian micro-physics of power, what are the macro-physics of these micro-physics? What is the cosmology of power in the anthropology of power?

 

Keywords: anarchism, critical ethnographic authority, power, the social, Spinoza