HAU

Introduction: Mister D.: Radical comparison, values, and ethnographic theory

André Iteanu, Ismaël Moya

Abstract


This article argues that the relevance of Louis Dumont’s work for ethnographic theory today is his radical conception of comparison as an experiment on difference that collapses anthropological analysis and epistemology. The text applies Dumont’s own method—comparison—to his anthropology. In the first part, we follow the trail of Dumont’s ethnographical encounter with the Indian caste system and the radical contrast he drew with Euro-America to provide an insight into his comparative method and his core notions (value, hierarchy, encompassment). In the second part, Dumont’s anthropological strategy is put into perspective with two other radical comparative projects: Marilyn Strathern’s on Melanesia and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro’s on Amazonia.

 


Keywords


comparison, value, hierarchy, Dumont, Strathern, perspectivism

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14318/hau5.1.006