Anthropological knots: Conditions of possibilities and interventions

Sarah Green


This paper outlines how the Anthropological Knots debate to which its contributors responded was framed, and offers its own threads for approaching the two questions addressed by it: first, what is it that makes anthropology in the contemporary moment possible? And second, what might intervention in anthropological terms look like? The paper argues that an ethnographic focus is essential to answering both questions. Such a focus is implicitly conceptually comparative, and generates a simultaneous sense that there are no guaranteed understandings which always already hold across space or time; but it also implies that the diversity, endless and complex as it may be, is not random: there are always particularities that make a difference, and which have specific implications for intervention. So while Anthropological Knots generates a sense of endless entanglement, these are crucially historically and socially framed entanglements, both conceptually and in practice. 

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14318/hau4.3.002