The Volume of Being: The Current OAC Working Paper Seminar -- February 15th onward.

"The extremely high level of individuation in humans is a major anthropological fact ... Other living species do not possess it to such a high degree, to the level that defines consciousness of the self, awareness of existing as singular, regardless of any psychological, social or cultural slant that could be placed on that individuality. It is oxymoronic of anthropology as the science of human beings to homogenise these units socioculturally, since the characteristic feature of existence is that it is implacably private and singular." (Albert Piette, The Volume of Being).

This new forum discussion draws attention to a new OAC paper by Albert Piette. Albert's paper, the Volume of Being (click here), makes quite challenging, but also important, reading for anyone interested in contemporary debates in the field of anthropology. It consists of a short manifesto for an anthropology of individual human beings. This may not seem particularly controversial at first sight until we consider the lack of attention to the individual human being in contemporary anthropology where relations, actor-networks, assemblages and ontologies are taken to be the primary object of study: in all this the thinking acting 'voluminous' human individual is hardly to be seen anywhere. We might envisage these trends as indicating a profound attack on the one thing we have in common--our humanity--but in the current climate that kind of claim reeks of an outdated humanism; didn't Foucault tell us half a century ago that we must give up making claims on behalf of 'Man'? 

Albert Piette calls our attention to an anthropology of residues and leftovers--those parts of what makes up a human being that disappear when human intentionality and activity are turned into socio-cultural discourse.

This seminar is currently in progress.

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When is this beginning?

See title of this thread.
Haha. Right under my nose. Thanks

Yes -- the seminar will begin formally on the 15th and last about two weeks. However, anyone who wishes to leave a comment on the paper is free to do so.

    A good overview of Piette's argument is "Anthropology and the Existential Turn," co-authored with Michael Jackson -- it's the intro essay to their recent book, What is Existential Anthropology?  

Yes, Piette is condensing in this paper a number of themes and arguments that he (with Michael Jackson) explores in What is Existential Anthropoogy, and also in Piette's volume Existence in the Details. 

I observe that both What is Existential Anthropology? and Existence in the Details are very expensive books and neither is available as an ebook. What are the chances of getting Piette's permission to post at least the intro essay that Lee mentions?

    Almost all the introductory chapter of What Is Existential Anthropology ("Anthropology and the Existential Turn" by Piette and Jackson) is available as a GoogleBook.  GB also has quite a bit of other parts of the book.  

https://books.google.com/books?id=W86dBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA1&lpg=P... 

Thanks, Lee. I would just say that the paper is short and self-contained and that is an advantage for all of who have only a limited time available for reading. Any questions or calls for clarification will of course be happily answered by AP when the seminar begins.



John McCreery said:

I observe that both What is Existential Anthropology? and Existence in the Details are very expensive books and neither is available as an ebook. What are the chances of getting Piette's permission to post at least the intro essay that Lee mentions?

You are right. It is expensive...
I think that the first pages of Existence in the Details are available on my page Academia.

thank you,

Albert (piettealbert@hotmail.com)

Merci beaucoup.

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