Storytelling Globalization from the Chaco and Beyond


Storytelling Globalization from the Chaco and Beyond
Mario Blaser
2010, Duke University Press
292 pages

THIS IS A complex and at times difficult book to read, but worth persevering with and written in as accessible a style as the highly theorised subject matter allows. Mario Blaser has confronted a key theme in all anthropological undertaking and discussed it in relation to the Yshiro people of Paraguay: the dynamics of power behind knowledge and understanding in the relationship between the coloniser and the colonised. In short, this work examines the differences in seeing and explaining the world that are apparent in the encounters between anthropologist and the anthropologised, and as such the hierarchy that exists in global knowledge practices. Blaser writes: “In my applied incarnation I was engaging fully with the Yshiro peoples’ views of the world because I was not able or willing, in the immediate moment, to impose my own explanations of the world on them. Thus I had to argue, negotiate, and modify my stance vis-à-vis theirs. In my academic incarnation, in contrast, I could domesticate those different perspectives to make them fit into explanations that I would later present for discussion among scholars.” [p. xiii] It is a very relevant theme today, evident with concealed vigour in a whole range of disciplines and debates, not least the most recent assaults by a radical secularism against theology and religion. – EC

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