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Dam Epilogue: The Textual Person

Dam Epilogue: The Textual Person

(p.218) Dam Epilogue: The Textual Person
Anthropological Knowledge, Secrecy and Bolivip, Papua New Guinea
Tony Crook
British Academy

Angkaiyakmin notions of a person's efficacy circulating beyond themselves and combining with others is used in this chapter as a vantage point on anthropological interpretative artefacts, and the section argues that these contemporary aesthetics of anthropological knowledge-making produce interpretative forms after a particular understanding of subjectivity and personhood. The chapter specifically compares the capacities of Bolivip and anthropological knowledge-practices, and considers how each form of knowledge adheres to a powerful aesthetic that is taken for granted by the respective practitioners. Recognition and currency for artefacts – the capacity to animate analytic and social relations in others – is governed by exhibiting this demanding aesthetic form. The chapter then addresses the insights from Bolivip knowledge-practices to anthropological knowledge-practices: by adopting the vantage point of ‘the textual person’, the aesthetic principles through which anthropological knowledge is given form are outlined, and the means by which anthropologists circulate parts of themselves to others – their efficacy and ‘relations’ – are examined. The ‘textual person’ figure makes explicit the form of subjective relationality that informs anthropological interpretation.

Keywords:   Angkaiyakmin notions, Bolivip, textual person, anthropological interpretative artefacts, contemporary aesthetics, anthropological knowledge-practices

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