Issue 12.1, February 1997

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Essay Excerpt

"During the past couple of decades, anthropologists have begun to understand the extent to which cultural criticism—particularly critiques that stress the constructedness of culture and tradition—runs political risks. As the title of a provocative essay by Jean Jackson asks, "Is there a way to talk about making culture without making enemies?" (1989). And an emerging literature makes patently clear that anthropological studies focused on nationalist ideologies face special challenges in this regard (see, for example, Handler 1993; Linnekin and Poyer 1990). The present essay, which is intended to complement other recent analyses of the reproduction of essentialist and masculinist notions in ostensibly antiracial and anticolonial discourse in the Caribbean (Segal 1994; Williams 1991; Yelvington 1995), offers a reading of some important recent texts from Martinique, which it attempts to historicize and contextualize ethnographically."

From "Shadowboxing in the Mangrove" by Richard Price and Sally Price