The Political Sociology and Anthropology of Evil: Tricksterology

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Routledge, 10 oct. 2019 - 224 pagini

This book offers a new approach to the problem of evil through an examination of the anthropological figure of the ‘trickster’. A lesser known and much more recent term than evil, the authors use the trickster to facilitate a greater understanding of the return of evil in the modern era. Instead of simply opposing ‘good’ and ‘evil’, the figure of the trickster is used to pursue the trajectories of similarities and quasi-similarities through imitation.

After engaging with the trickster as presented in comparative anthropology and mythology, where it appears in tales and legends as a strange, erratic outsider, the authors seek to gain an inside perspective of trickster knowledge through an examination of mythology and the classical world, including both philosophers and poets. The book then goes on to trace the trickster through prehistory, using archaeological evidence to complement the diverse narratives. In this way, and by investigating the knowledge and customs surrounding evil, the authors use the figure of the trickster to provide an unprecedented diagnosis of the contemporary world, where external, mechanical rationality has become taken for granted and even considered as foundational in politics, economics, and technologised science. The authors advance the idea that the modern world, with its global free markets, mass mediatic democracy and technologised science, represents a universalisation of trickster logic. The Political Sociology and Anthropology of the Evil will be of interest to scholars working in the fields of social theory, political anthropology and political sociology, as well as those interested in the ways in which evil can infiltrate reality.


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List of figures
Evil protoscientific methods for transformation
Creatures of the flux
The incommensurable
On methodology in tricksterology
Name index
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Despre autor (2019)

Agnes Horvath is a founding and chief editor of International Political Anthropology. She taught in Hungary, Ireland and Italy, and was affiliate visiting scholar and supervisor at Cambridge University. She is the author of Modernism and Charisma, the co-author of The Dissolution of Communist Power: The Case of Hungary and Walking into the Void: A Historical Sociology and Political Anthropology of Walking, and the co-editor of Breaking Boundaries: Varieties of Liminality, Walling, Boundaries and Liminality and Divinization and Technology: The Political Anthropology of the Subversive.

Arpad Szakolczai is professor of sociology at University College Cork, Ireland and previously taught social theory at the European University Institute in Florence. He is the author of Max Weber and Michel Foucault: Parallel Life-Works, Reflexive Historical Sociology, Sociology, Religion and Grace: A Quest for the Renaissance, The Genesis of Modernity, Comedy and the Public Sphere, Novels and the Sociology of the Contemporary, and Permanent Liminality and Modernity, and the co-author of Walking into the Void: A Historical Sociology and Political Anthropology of Walking and From Anthropology to Social Theory: Rethinking the Social Sciences.

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