The article is a review of Ernesto De Martino’s “critical ethnocentrism” and of the “ethnographic humanism” perspective that is based upon it. Its aim is to outline the different phases of the reception of that epistemological perspective. Known from the notes for his work about “cultural apocalypses” published by Clara Gallini 12 years after his death, the perspective of critical ethnocentrism is also discussed in other writings where different aspects and references are drawn. Particularly interesting is the only writing where the expression appears while the author was alive. Here the perspective is discussed in opposition to the “rude” positions of cultural relativism and to the “confessional” positions in ethnology. Despite a reference by Cirese in the funeral oration held in memory of De Martino, and the short passages contained in some of his latest essays, critical ethnocentrism escapes the attention of the anthropological community until the posthumous publication of La fine del mondo, where the expression appears as a pivot of reflections on "ethnographic humanism". In this phase, just over a decade after the death of the author, the reception of his thesis appears rather ambivalent. If on the one hand the anticipatory character and originality within the field of ethnological studies are decisively underlined, on the other hand these theses are considered “insufficient” (Gallini), “not entirely satisfactory” (Laternari), for certain aspects “outdated” (Lombardi Satriani) compared to the debate of the late '70s. A renewed interest for De Martino’s perspective starts in the early ’80, following the debates about the nature of anthropological knowledge and the diffusion of hermeneutic and “reflexive” perspectives. In this phase De Martino is presented as a pioneer of anti-naturalistic tendencies in anthropology, and its “critical ethnocentrism” as an interesting and heterodox path in anthropological thinking, from which contemporary anthropological debates can usefully borrow. Different reinterpretations aiming at transposing De Martino’s epistemological perspective into contemporary debates have, nonetheless, always found difficult to reconcile its alleged modernity with its root in idealistic historicism.

L’ETNOCENTRISMO CRITICO E LE ALTERNE FORTUNE DELL’UMANESIMO ETNOGRAFICO DEMARTINIANO

satta
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
2018

Abstract

The article is a review of Ernesto De Martino’s “critical ethnocentrism” and of the “ethnographic humanism” perspective that is based upon it. Its aim is to outline the different phases of the reception of that epistemological perspective. Known from the notes for his work about “cultural apocalypses” published by Clara Gallini 12 years after his death, the perspective of critical ethnocentrism is also discussed in other writings where different aspects and references are drawn. Particularly interesting is the only writing where the expression appears while the author was alive. Here the perspective is discussed in opposition to the “rude” positions of cultural relativism and to the “confessional” positions in ethnology. Despite a reference by Cirese in the funeral oration held in memory of De Martino, and the short passages contained in some of his latest essays, critical ethnocentrism escapes the attention of the anthropological community until the posthumous publication of La fine del mondo, where the expression appears as a pivot of reflections on "ethnographic humanism". In this phase, just over a decade after the death of the author, the reception of his thesis appears rather ambivalent. If on the one hand the anticipatory character and originality within the field of ethnological studies are decisively underlined, on the other hand these theses are considered “insufficient” (Gallini), “not entirely satisfactory” (Laternari), for certain aspects “outdated” (Lombardi Satriani) compared to the debate of the late '70s. A renewed interest for De Martino’s perspective starts in the early ’80, following the debates about the nature of anthropological knowledge and the diffusion of hermeneutic and “reflexive” perspectives. In this phase De Martino is presented as a pioneer of anti-naturalistic tendencies in anthropology, and its “critical ethnocentrism” as an interesting and heterodox path in anthropological thinking, from which contemporary anthropological debates can usefully borrow. Different reinterpretations aiming at transposing De Martino’s epistemological perspective into contemporary debates have, nonetheless, always found difficult to reconcile its alleged modernity with its root in idealistic historicism.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11586/230482
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