Truth in Motion The Recursive Anthropology of Cuban Divination

by Martin Holbraad

Truth in Motion The Recursive Anthropology of Cuban Divination Synopsis

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.

Truth in Motion The Recursive Anthropology of Cuban Divination Press 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)

Book Information

ISBN: 9780226349206
Publication date: 12th June 2012
Author: Martin Holbraad
Publisher: University of Chicago Press an imprint of The University of Chicago Press
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 328 pages
Categories: Social & cultural anthropology, ethnography,

About Martin Holbraad

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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