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Book Launch: Exotic No More

January 15 2020 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm


Celebrating Exotic No More/ Professor Jeremy MacClancy

Cultural Relativism and Indigenous Rights: rethinking some dilemmas in applied anthropology

Dr Marcus Colchester, Forrest Peoples Programme

Wednesday 15 January at 5.30 pm

We are pleased to announce the launch of the second, revised edition of the best-selling publication Exotic No More: Anthropology for the Contemporary World. This work, which first appeared in 2002, played a pioneering role in demonstrating the relevance of anthropology to today’s world. Jeremy MacClancy, its editor, will open the evening by reflecting on its success, and the way that the new edition has been updated to reflect the discipline’s changing preoccupations.  

The main presentation will be by Marcus Colchester, founder and former Director of the Forrest Peoples Programme, co-author of the chapter in the work ‘Anthropology and the right to self-determination of forest peoples’. His abstract follows:

The basis on which peoples should understand and relate to each other is a key dilemma for applied anthropology and for a human rights organisation, such as the Forest Peoples Programme. Cultural relativism teaches that every society must be understood in its own terms, rejects universalism and critiques the individualist emphasis of human rights, as western imperialism. While it is true that some countries have resisted the impositions of the human rights regime, most have also ratified the key human rights treaties. Yet it is clear that the notion of human rights is a cultural construct of western civilization, with a long gestation dating back to the Ancient Greeks. Human rights have three foundational principles, individual rights, non-discrimination and self-determination. The tension between the three creates space for cultural specificity, decolonisation, and the assertion of collective rights. Indigenous peoples have effectively used the human rights system of the United Nations to reclaim their collective rights and, in so doing, accept that these universal norms also apply to their own societies, which they reform through their own self-determined efforts. Ultimately, all human rights trace back to various conceptions of freedom – free will, freedom of belief, autonomy and self-determination – and even in societies where personhood is more relational and communal, notions of collective freedom are readily discernible. What we need is an Anthropology of Freedom which builds on the insights of cultural relativism but is open to supporting self-determined movements for reform.

Publication details: Exotic No More, Second Edition : Anthropology for the Contemporary World, The University of Chicago Press 2019, pp 408. ISBN 9780226635972.

The Forest Peoples Programme may be seen here: https://www.forestpeoples.org.

This event is free, but tickets must be booked. To book tickets please go to https://exoticnomore.eventbrite.co.uk

Location : Royal Anthropological Institute
50 Fitzroy Street
United Kingdom


January 15 2020
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
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