Issue 14.3, August 1999

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Essay Excerpt

"Like nature, culture, and its glamorous sibling global, local is one of those deeply compromised words our language will not relinquish. So central to so many anthropological projects, it is unlikely to be transcended; instead it contin- ues to be both fought over and reinvigorated. In this article, I imagine the topog- raphy of what we might call a methodology of locality. In trying to understand how we can do our thinking about the local, I begin with a disarmingly transpar- ent question: How, in all its specificity, does this place that holds our attention come into being? Pursuing this puzzle provokes ripples of association that shape interpretation like contour lines on a map, destabilize naturalized binaries, and shadow the unruly series of concentric circles through which a place is tied into multiple worlds."

"Local Theory": Nature and the Making of an Amazonian Place"- Hugh Raffles