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Abstract

This article considers the legacies of Jacques Derrida in and for Anglo-American sociocultural anthropology. It begins with a survey of Derrida's own engagement with themes that have historically been foundational to the field: () the critique of sign theory and, with it, the questions of language and law in Lévi-Straussian structuralism; () the question of the unconscious; () the critique of the performative and its consequences for the idea of ritual; () the rereading of Marcel Mauss's concept of the gift, and of economy more generally; and () the analysis of the metaphysical basis of law, in both religious and ostensibly secular formations. It then considers the state of the field at the time when it was being infused with different forms of poststructuralism and explores the competing claims made by these discourses in relation to deconstruction. Finally, after tracing the convergences and divergences between Derridean deconstruction and theory in sociocultural anthropology, it treats two main examples of works produced against and under the influence of Derrida's thought, respectively.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.anthro.36.081406.094357
2007-10-21
2024-06-15
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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.anthro.36.081406.094357
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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