One does not need much anthropology to join the struggle against the political domination and economic exploitation of indigenous peoples across the world. It should be enough to be a tolerably informed and reasonably decent person. Conversely, no amount of anthropological relativism and old-hand professional skepticism can serve as an excuse for notjoining that struggle.
Second, the idea of an ontological self-determination of peoples should not be confused with supporting ethnic essentialization, Blut und Boden primordialism, and other forms of sociocultural realism. It means giving the ontological back to “the people,” not the people back to “the ontological.” The politics of ontology as self-determination of the other is the ontology of politics as decolonization of all thought in the face of other thought—to think of thought itself as “always-already” in relation to the thought of others.
Third, the idea of the self-determination of the other means that a fundamental principle of anthropologists’ epistemological ethics should be, always leave a way out for the people you are describing. Do not explain too much, do not try to actualize the possibilities immanent to others’ thought, but endeavor to sustain them as possible indefinitely (this is what “permanent” means in the phrase, “permanent decolonization of thought”), neither dismissing them as the fantasies of others, nor by fantasizing that they may gain the same reality for oneself. They will not. Not “as such,” at least; only as-other. The self-determination of the other is the other-determination of the self.
The Economy of Desire Patheos (blog) Bell's thesis is underwritten by a guided conversation between Deleuze, Foucault, and Augustine. From Deleuze, Bell takes the idea of Desire as the motive power of human action.
"Imagine you're a rice plant. What do you want? You want to grow up and make babies before the insects who are your predators grow up and make babies to eat your tender shoots. So you divide your energy between growing as quickly as you can and producing toxins in your leaves to repel pests. Now let's say you're a researcher trying to wean the Californian farmer off pesticides. You're breeding rice plants that produce more alkaloid toxins in their leaves. If the pesticides are applied externally, they count as chemicals - and large amounts of them find their way into the bodies of illegal immigrants from Mexico who are hired to pick the crop. If they're inside the plant, they count as natural, but they may find their way into the bodies of the consumers who eat the rice."
A 2012 interview with the Italian philosopher, who expresses his views on the economic crisis, capitalism as a religion (Benjamin), the role of history in European cultural identity, “bio-politics”, the “state of exception”, and the fate of...
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