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April 2021, Week 3


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Alexander Monea <[log in to unmask]>
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Alexander Monea <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 21 Apr 2021 17:35:59 +0000
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Towards a Dialogical Anthropology: For David Graeber

Call for Papers


Guest Editors:

Andrej Grubačić, California Institute of Integral Studies

Žiga Vodovnik, University of Ljubljana

Commenting on the role of anthropology, James C. Scott wrote that anthropology should be viewed as a »natural partner« of other social sciences. It complements them powerfully by adding the »phenomenology of lived experience by explaining how people understand and describe why they do what they do«. Social sciences can't afford to ignore dialogical encounters between explanations of an outside observers and those whose actions are being observed. Doing research otherwise would, according to Scott, mean »social science behind the backs of actors«.

David Graeber (1961–2020) was one of the most important anthropologists of our time, whose works not only contributed to what might be called »dialogical anthropology«, but (re)defined it. Anthropology was, for David, a catalogue of possibilities, and the practice of dialogue was the beginning of any meaningful anthropological, philosophical, or political interaction. His first book, Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value, has changed the way we theorize value. Inspired by the work of his late mentor Terry Turner and his lifelong intellectual inspiration, the French anthropologist Marcel Mauss, this book has showed us the way the way beyond formalist/substantivist debates and offered an exciting synthesis between Marx and Mauss. His book Fragments of An Anarchist Anthropology, was a genre-making work that helped establish anarchist anthropology as a legitimate field of inquiry. In this vein, his “activist” books  Possibilities, Revolutions in Reverse, and Direct Action: An Ethnography have announced  both David’s “dialogical relativism” and the entire genre of militant ethnography, or a collaborative study of social movements »from within «. A few years after he was sent into academic exile in England, in 2011, he published one of the classic works of Anthropology, Debt: The First 5,000 Years. His later books Lost People (his landmark fieldwork in Madagascar, and perhaps his finest ethnography), On Kings (with Marshall Sahlins), The Democracy Project, The Utopia of Rules, and Bullshit Jobs were superb and original. When he died, David Graeber just completed his most recent book, The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity.  It is not by accident that this last book was written in dialogue with his friend David Wengrow.  David was very fond of the title, as well as of its eloquent disruption of some of the most entrenched assumptions of historical social science.

For a special issue of Anthropological Notebooks, entitled »Towards a Dialogical Anthropology: For David Graeber«, we invite manuscripts from anthropological and related fields addressing the following aspects of Graeber’s scholarship:

o   Theory of value in (and beyond) Anthropology

o   Origins of social inequality

o   Theory of the state

o   (Re)thinking democracy

o   A theory of non-state spaces

o   Money, debt, finance

o   Critical realism and the problem of freedom

o   Gift, communism, and mutual aid

o   New anarchism and global social movements

o   Marcel Mauss revisited

o   Freedom and care

o   Hierarchy and bureaucracy

o   Doing ethnography: research as a gift

o   Divine kingship and the problem of sovereignty

o   Work (and how can we get rid of it)

Please submit your proposal, including a title, abstract (max 300 words) and 4-6 keywords to the guest editors at [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]> and [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]> including ‘ABSTRACT SUBMISSION – DAVID GRAEBER’ in the email subject field.

If your proposal is accepted, we will ask you to supply the article following the Anthropology Notebooks author guidelines, of 6,000-8,000 words in length in MS Word .docx, Adobe .pdf or compatible format. All papers will undergo a double-blind peer review.

Deadline for submitting paper proposals: May 20, 2021. Proposals should be sent to [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]> and [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>

Information on acceptance: June 1, 2021

Deadline for submitting papers: September 1, 2021

Review and resubmission period: November 2021

Expected publication: December 2021


Graeber, David. 2001. Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value: The False Coin Of our Own Dreams. New York: Palgrave.

———. 2004. Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology. Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press.

———. 2007. Possibilities: Essays on Hierarchy, Rebellion, and Desire. Oakland: AK Press.

———. 2007. Lost People: Magic and the Legacy of Slavery in Madagascar. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

———. 2007. Possibilities: Essays on Hierarchy, Rebellion, and Desire. Oakland: AK Press.

———. 2009. Direct Action: An Ethnography. Oakland: AK Press.

——— .2011. Revolutions in Reverse: Essays on Violence, Art, and Imagination. New York: Autonomedia.

———. 2011. Debt: the first 5,000 years. New York: Melville House.

———. 2013. The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement. London: Random House.

———. 2015. The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy. Brooklyn: Melville House.

———. 2017. Graeber, David, Marshall David Sahlins. On Kings. Chicago: HAU Books.

———. 2018. Bullshit Jobs: A Theory. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Anthropological Notebooks is the official journal of Slovenian Anthropological Society. The journal is published in English, it has an international editorial board, it is peer reviewed, and it is abstracted and indexed in international bibliographic databases (e.g. SSCI, Scopus, ERIH, IBSS, etc.).

Redni profesor / Professor
Fakulteta za družbene vede / Faculty of Social Sciences
Univerza v Ljubljani / University of Ljubljana
Kardeljeva ploscad 5, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
P: +386 (1) 5805 207
F: +386 (1) 5805 101

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