One world anthropology

Tim Ingold


Anthropology is a philosophical inquiry into the conditions and possibilities of life in the one world we all inhabit. That this world is indeed one is a core principle of the discipline. By exploring the relation between the particular life and life-as-a-whole, I show how the latter can be understood as a correspondence in which lives are not added together but carry on alongside one another. Life itself, then, is not the summation but the correspondence of its particulars. Comparing ideas of the self and the soul, founded respectively in regimes of naturalism and animism, I show how correspondence proceeds through a process of interstitial differentiation, in which agency is inside action rather than in front of it. This calls for a “turn” that is not ontological but ontogenetic, leading us to conceive of the one world as neither a universe nor a fractiverse but as a pluriverse.


animism, correspondence, difference, Inuit, life, ontogenesis, pluriverse, soul

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/698315