Of Headhunters and Cannibals: Migrancy, Labor, and Consumption in the Mawri Imagination

Essay Excerpt

Contributors to the growing anthropological literature on globalization and modernity may have yet to agree on a satisfactory definition of what "being modern" entails, but one thing is widely shared: modernizing social forces have not reduced the world to sameness. We are now familiar with the argument that modernity is "decisively large, irregularly self-conscious and unevenly experienced" (Appadurai 1996:3)—in other words, unavoidably plural. Constantly and everywhere reinvented in contrast to that other slippery concept, tradition, modernity "has come to circulate, almost worldwide, as a metaphor of new means and ends, of new materialities and meanings" (Comaroff and Comaroff 1993: xiii). While the term itself may not withstand analytical scrutiny when dislodged from an evolutionary narrative, the diverse and multidimensional processes it seeks to describe are real enough. The impact of such processes on local and translocal identities and communities has been richly documented (Appadurai 1996; Apter 1993; Auslander 1993; Bastian 1993; Gould 1997; Latour 1993; Miller 1994, 1995; Pigg 1996; Pred and Watts 1992; Shaw 1997) (84-85).

From: Masquelier, Adeline. "Of Headhunters and Cannibals: Migrancy, Labor, and Consumption in the Mawri Imagination." Cultural Anthropology 15.1(2000): 84–126.

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