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Debating Authenticity: Concepts of Modernity in Anthropological Perspective

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Debating Authenticity

Concepts of Modernity in Anthropological Perspective

Edited by Thomas Fillitz and A. Jamie Saris

258 pages, 36 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-496-6 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (December 2012)

ISBN  978-1-78238-912-5 $29.95/£23.95 / Pb / Published (March 2015)

eISBN 978-0-85745-497-3 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


"Debating Authenticity is an authentic representation of the state of play in contemporary anthropology."  ·  American Anthropologist

“Debating Authenticity presents the reader with a rich collection of ethnographic case studies, unpacking the complexity of the concept in various social settings across the globe.”  ·  The Australian Journal of Anthropology


The longing for authenticity, on an individual or collective level, connects the search for external expressions to internal orientations. What is largely referred to as production of authenticity is a reformulation of cultural values and norms within the ongoing process of modernity, impacted by globalization and contemporary transnational cultural flows. This collection interrogates the notion of authenticity from an anthropological point of view and considers authenticity in terms of how meaning is produced in and through discourses about authenticity. Incorporating case studies from four continents, the topics reach from art and colonialism to exoticism-primitivism, film, ritual and wilderness. Some contributors emphasise the dichotomy between the academic use of the term and the one deployed in public spaces and political projects. All, however, consider authenticity as something that can only be understood ethnographically, and not as a simple characteristic or category used to distinguish some behaviors, experiences or material things from other less authentic versions.

Thomas Fillitz is Associate Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Vienna. He has been a visiting professor at the Université des Sciences et Technologies Lille-1 (2001, 2003), at the Université Lumière Lyon-2 (2008), and at Université Paris Descartes (2011).

A. Jamie Saris is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Anthropology at the National University of Ireland-Maynooth and Co-Chair of the Combat Diseases of Poverty Consortium. He has been working more than fifteen years in medical and psychological anthropology in Ireland, North America and Africa.

Subject: Theory and Methodology


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