this week we have a 2002 interview by PLW of Michael Taussig, who wrote Mimesis and Alterity, and The Devil and Commodity Fetishism, among other titles.
from wikipedia: The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America is both a polemic about anthropology and an analysis of a set of seemingly magical beliefs held by rural and urban workers in Colombia and Bolivia. His polemic is that the principal concern of anthropology should be to critique Western (specifically, capitalist) culture. He further argues that people living in the periphery of the world capitalist economy have a critical vantage point on capitalism, and articulate their critiques of capitalism in terms of their own cultural idioms. He thus concludes that anthropologists should study peoples living on the periphery of the world capitalist economy as a way of gaining critical insight into the anthropologists’ own culture. In short, this polemic shifts the anthropologists’ object of study from that of other cultures to that of their own, and repositions the former objects of anthropological study (e.g. indigenous peoples) as valued critical thinkers.
the reading: michael-taussig-ayahuasca-and-shamanism