1932

Abstract

“Imitation” in contemporary anthropology comprises numerous topics whose relations have seldom been explored. In surveying mimetic phenomena that range from television parodies to postural mirroring, I offer reflections designed to stimulate exploration of “mimetic practice.” The review encourages work at the nexus of sociocultural and linguistic anthropology, for without appreciating the communicative specificities of mimetic practice, one can neither narrate nor theorize adequately what mimesis does, and thus is. I chart directions in research by drawing out underappreciated findings from the ethnographic record, such as those that show that mimesis is not a matter of two-ness, as the original–copy binary suggests; that communicative dissonance often helps actors recognize when mimesis is in play and what action(s) it involves; that mimetic practice suffers (and sometimes benefits) from various instabilities (e.g., what is imitated, who imitates whom); and that reflexivity helps create, stabilize, and alter mimetic practices and projects.

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2014-10-21
2024-06-23
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