A Critical Look At Modern Eurocentric Anthropology

6/8/2023; 115 minutes

French anthropologist Philippe Descola examines the evolution of modern thinking about societies. He argues that the rooting of the descriptive tools of the social sciences in Enlightenment philosophy has blinded us to the fact that what are loosely called 'societies' are in fact, for extra-moderns, assemblages that, unlike ours, contain and associate much more than just humans, either because their institutions are able to integrate other-than-humans into collectives, or because other-than-humans are seen as political subjects acting within their own collectives. In other words, the kinds of beings that result from these assemblages are not those to which philosophy or the social sciences usually pay attention: they are associations of humans and other-than-humans that take very diverse forms and, in this sense, can also offer food for thought about the much-needed transformation of the political and social institutions proper to the Moderns. We could call these assemblages cosmopolities in that they bring under the same regime of cosmic sociability a vast set of components that the ontology of the Moderns has tended to dissociate. Recorded on 4/19/2023. (#38616)

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