Sunday, September 13, 2009

Anthropological Theory: Postmodernism

This is not the exclusive domain of Anthropologists, but has been modified to meet Anthropological needs. This is also the last theory I'm posting about in this series. There are others, but so far I've listed the more known ones.
The theoretical school of postmodernism claims that it is impossible for anyone to have objective and neutral knowledge of another culture. This view comes from the notion that we all interpret the world around us in our own way according to our language, cultural background, and personal experiences. In other words, everybody has their own views based on his or her social and personal contexts. Because of this aspect of human nature, anthropologists can never be unbiased observers of other cultures. When postmodern anthropologists analyze different societies, they are sensitive to this limitation. They do not assume that their way of conceptualizing culture is the only way.

The main theorists are Renato Rosaldo, Vincent Crapanzano and Nancy Scheper-Hughes.

Jacques Derrida and Michael Foucault are also attributed to this theory in addition to Structuralism. (See yesterday's post for links to their info.).


Anonymous. 2003. "Overview of Postmodernism". eMuseum at MNSU. Available online:

Weiss, Shannon & Wesley, Karla. 2001. "Postmodernism and its Critics". Anthropological Theories: A Guide Prepared by Students for Students. Dr. M.D. Murphy (ed.) Available online:

Au revoir,

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