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Truth in Motion The Recursive Anthropology of Cuban Divination by Martin Holbraad
  

Truth in Motion The Recursive Anthropology of Cuban Divination

Synopsis

Truth in Motion The Recursive Anthropology of Cuban Divination by Martin Holbraad

Embarking on an ethnographic journey to the inner barrios of Havana among practitioners of Ifa, a prestigious Afro-Cuban tradition of divination, Truth in Motion reevaluates Western ideas about truth in light of the practices and ideas of a wildly different, and highly respected, model. Acutely focusing on Ifa, Martin Holbraad takes the reader inside consultations, initiations and lively public debates to show how Ifa practitioners see truth as something not so much to be represented, but transformed. Central to this position is Holbraad's description of Ifa truth as a motile event that is forged in the ritual of divination, rather than a static state simply needing to be unveiled. Ifa truth, Holbraad shows, is to be conceived as something that moves, literally, and is transformed when different trajectories of meaning are made to collide. Going further, he brings this ethnographic analysis to bear on the discipline of anthropology itself, recasting conflicts of truth and the problem of otherness in anthropological inquiry as rooted not in epistemological differences but ontological ones - truth, he argues, does not simply appear in different forms but exists in them.

Reviews

Truth in Motion is very much an intellectual journey, a rigorous engagement with Cuban divination and theories of meaning. It is extremely original, innovative - indeed daring and radical - in its invitation to replace our entire bedrock of representational semantics (and its associated distinctions between words and objects, signifiers and signifieds, judgments and facts, substances and attributes, etcetera) with a more generative ontology of 'inventive definitions.
(Andrew Apter

, University of California, Los Angeles)


About the Author

Martin Holbraad teaches social anthropology at University College London. He is coeditor of Thinking Through Things: Theorising Artefacts Ethnographically and Technologies of the Imagination.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st June 2012

Author

Martin Holbraad

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Publisher

University of Chicago Press an imprint of The University of Chicago Press

Format

Hardback
328 pages

Categories

Social & cultural anthropology, ethnography

ISBN

9780226349206

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