In-Between Fiction and Non-Fiction: Reflections on the Poetics of Ethnography of Literature and Film

This volume invites the reader to join in with the recent focus on subjectivity and self-reflection, as the means of understanding and engaging with the social and historical changes in the world through storytelling. It examines the symbiosis between anthropology and fiction, on the one hand, by looking at various ways in which the two fields co-emerge in a fruitful manner, and, on the other, by re-examining their political, aesthetic, and social relevance to world history. Following the intellectual crisis of the 1970s, anthropology has been criticized for losing its ethnographic authority and vocation. However, as a consequence of this, ethnographic scope has opened towards more subjective and self-reflexive forms of knowledge and representations, such as the crossing of the boundaries between autobiography and ethnography. The collection of essays re-introduces the importance of authorship in relationship to readership, making a ground-breaking move towards the study of fictional texts and images as cultural, sociological, and political reflections of the time and place in which they were produced. In this way, the contributors here contribute to the widening of the ethnographic scope of contemporary anthropology. A number of the chapters were presented as papers in two conferences organised by the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, entitled “Arts and aesthetics in a globalising world” (2012), and at the University of Exeter, entitled “Symbiotic Anthropologies” (2015). Each chapter offers a unique method of working in the grey area between and beyond the categories of fiction and non-fiction, while creatively reflecting upon current methodological, ethical, and theoretical issues, in anthropology and cultural studies. This is an important book for undergraduate and post-graduate students of anthropology, cultural and media studies, art theory, and creative writing, as well as academic researchers in these fields.

Michelangelo Paganopoulos graduated from the University of Glasgow with an Honours Degree in Film and TV studies combined with Music. He received his PhD in 2012 with a doctoral thesis entitled “Land of the Virgin Mary: An Ethnography of Monastic Life on Mount Athos”. He has published a number of articles on film and anthropology, as well as on the monastic life of Mount Athos. Between 2015 and 2016, he was appointed to the role of Membership Officer for the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and the Commonwealth.

“Michelangelo Paganopoulos, in this edited anthology of writings from across the world, takes forward the discussion surrounding subjectivity, authorship, and the relationship of anthropology to history-in-the-making. The anthology’s starting point is Kant’s theorization of anthropology as an engagement with human nature and a concern with humanity’s future. Such a conceptualization places anthropology between fiction and non-fiction and contributes ‘towards the development of mutual understanding between nations and social classes, to achieve peace and equality according to the values of the Enlightenment’ (p. 1). Paganopoulos then delineates the discipline’s development to the turn of the twenty-first century, mapping the shift towards subjectivity. Thus, In-between fiction and non-fiction acts as a conversation between Kant’s conceptualizing of anthropology and the discipline’s current emphasis on subjectivity. The collection consists of thirteen reflective essays organized around Kantian ‘pragmatic anthropology’ in relation to two themes: literature and film. The essays explore the relationship between authorship, readership, and spectatorship while exploring different ways of doing and writing anthropology.”
Dyuti Ailawadi
University of Sussex; Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 26

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ISBN: 1-5275-0833-1

ISBN13: 978-1-5275-0833-0

Release Date: 13th April 2018

Pages: 238

Price: £64.99