Fabio Dei

Philosophy plus FIeldwork. The Anthropology of Francesco Remotti

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Francesco Remotti has been a leading figure in Italian anthropological studies for fifty years. His career offers a constant and original interweaving of philosophical reflections and ethnographic analysis, focusing on themes such as and new kinship and family forms, African power structures, criticism of cultural identity, the theory of «anthropopoiesis». This article discusses some of Remotti's ideas on the history of Italian anthropology, as expressed in the interview published on this issue of Studi culturali. In particular, I try to defend the importance of the inheritance of Ernesto De Martino and the «demological» tradition. Remotti fears a reduction of anthropological analysis to pure descriptive ethnography. Such a risk, however, does not come so much (or not only) from the Italian demological tradition, but from a certain «fieldwork mysticism», belatedly and superficially imported from other international schools.


  • Francesco Remotti
  • Italian Anthropology
  • Demology
  • Clifford Geertz
  • Ernesto De Martino


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