Alessandro Mancuso

The ‘ontological turn’ and epistemological issues in anthropology

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Epistemology, Political Ecology, Ethnographic Description, Viveiros de Castro, Latour.

In the first part of this article I propose to approach the ‘ontological turn’ in anthropology by focusing on how Martin Holbraad and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro link epistemological, ontological and political issues. Focusing on their new epistemological views to others’ forms of thought and their intrinsic conceptual and ontological presuppositions, inexplicable through the recourse to external determinants, these scholars aim at a radical epistemological and political questioning of the bipartitions of Western modern ontology (such as nature vs culture) in line with Bruno Latour’s ideas on ‘modern constitution’ and its distinction between ‘matters of fact’ and ‘matters of concern’. The article explores the similarities between these two approaches and others (such as interpretative anthropology, critical ethnography, and Michael Foucault’s philosophy) with whom ‘ontologists’ are not willing to cooperate, notwithstanding their analogous focus on power, knowledge, meaning, and truth.

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