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Culture and Authenticity Paperback – December 26, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1405124430 ISBN-10: 1405124431 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (December 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405124431
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405124430
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #193,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“This is a wonderful book, illuminating a phenomenon that is of vital import for modern man's sense of identity. Wise and witty, Culture and Authenticity is anthropology at its very best.”
Sudhir Kakar, INSEAD, Fontainbleau, France

“No concept is more defining of the paradox of modernity than authenticity. In this lucid text Lindholm, from a stance of anthropological respect, proves an ideal guide to its myriad consequences.”
Daniel Miller, University College London

“Through a wealth of examples Charles Lindholm probes the cultural currency of ‘authenticity,’ how individuals and groups invest in goods and values as diverse as authentic food, authentic art, music and dance, or authentic roots and national identities. This is a stimulating and suggestive foray in psychological anthropology.”
Michael Donnelly, Bard College


“Lindholm brings a sharp sense of history, the full range of the best contemporary anthropology, and a quick wit to the topic of culture and authenticity, in this very readable and thoughtful book.”
Richard Wilk, Indiana University


“During the past two decades, the issue of identity, its politics, the search for authenticity and roots has become explosively present on a world scale. This book is the first to my knowledge to have directly taken up the question of the nature of authenticity in anthropology and among the people that anthropologists study. It is a timely as well as systematic discussion of one of the crucial issues of our time. The book should be required reading for researchers and students alike.”
Jonathan Friedman, Lund University

“In this beautifully written and accessible book, Charles Lindholm, a renowned anthropologist, dares to bring us back to the days of a broad comparative study of culture. Lindholm provides an insightful, sweeping account of authenticity across time and space, in chapters that cover a wide range of topics, such as art, cuisine, ethnicity, citizenship, and religious fundamentalism. The underlying message of this important book is that the reports of the death of the authentic in the post-modern world have been greatly exaggerated. Dramatic social change and globalization have only intensified the on-going human quest for tradition and the elusive anchors of home and hearth.”
Roy Richard Grinker, George Washington University

Review

“This is a wonderful book, illuminating a phenomenon that is of vital import for modern man's sense of identity. Wise and witty, Culture and Authenticity is anthropology at its very best.”
–Sudhir Kakar, INSEAD, Fontainbleau, France

“No concept is more defining of the paradox of modernity than authenticity. In this lucid text Lindholm, from a stance of anthropological respect, proves an ideal guide to its myriad consequences.”
–Daniel Miller, University College London

“Through a wealth of examples Charles Lindholm probes the cultural currency of ‘authenticity,’ how individuals and groups invest in goods and values as diverse as authentic food, authentic art, music and dance, or authentic roots and national identities. This is a stimulating and suggestive foray in psychological anthropology.”
–Michael Donnelly, Bard College

“Lindholm brings a sharp sense of history, the full range of the best contemporary anthropology, and a quick wit to the topic of culture and authenticity, in this very readable and thoughtful book.”
–Richard Wilk, Indiana University

“During the past two decades, the issue of identity, its politics, the search for authenticity and roots has become explosively present on a world scale. This book is the first to my knowledge to have directly taken up the question of the nature of authenticity in anthropology and among the people that anthropologists study. It is a timely as well as systematic discussion of one of the crucial issues of our time. The book should be required reading for researchers and students alike.”
–Jonathan Friedman, Lund University

“In this beautifully written and accessible book, Charles Lindholm, a renowned anthropologist, dares to bring us back to the days of a broad comparative study of culture. Lindholm provides an insightful, sweeping account of authenticity across time and space, in chapters that cover a wide range of topics, such as art, cuisine, ethnicity, citizenship, and religious fundamentalism. The underlying message of this important book is that the reports of the death of the authentic in the post-modern world have been greatly exaggerated. Dramatic social change and globalization have only intensified the on-going human quest for tradition and the elusive anchors of home and hearth.”
–Roy Richard Grinker, George Washington University --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


More About the Author

Personal Life

I was born in 1946 in Mankato Minnesota. My father was a civil servant and we changed locations approximately every four years, mostly remaining in the midwest. This lack of stability was a major part of my attraction to anthropology. I attended East Denver High School. When I graduated, I was fortunate to be admitted to Columbia College in New York City. I couldn't have had a better undergraduate experience, despite the riots that closed the school down when I graduated in 1968. I then won a traveling fellowship to study brush technique in Japan. However, I never did make it to Japan, and instead spent the next few years traveling in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, and the West Indies. I met my wife Cherry in Jamaica in 1972, returned to New York, and in 1973 I won a scholarship to study Anthropology at Columbia. In 1977, Cherry and her daughter Michelle accompanied me on my doctoral fieldwork with the Swat Pukhtun in Northern Pakistan. I earned my doctorate in 1979 and taught at Columbia and Barnard until 1983. I then held a joint appointment in the Committee on Social Studies and the Department of Anthropology at Harvard, where I remained until 1990. Since then I have been the University Professor of Anthropology at Boston University.

Research

My research uses detailed case studies to extend, test, and integrate sociological and psychological theory. My first book, Generosity and Jealousy (1982) was based on my original research in Swat. In it, I demonstrated that the constricted social structure of Swati society, coupled with scarcity of resources, impelled its members toward relationships of rivalry and antagonism. However, this hostility was balanced by an ethic of ritualized hospitality and idealized friendship. I argued that these were symbolic and psychic manifestations of fundamental inclinations to attachment that were precluded by the objective circumstances of the larger system. As the people of Swat say, "Where there is much warfare, there is much generosity."

My next book, Charisma (1990), synthesized a wide range of theory in order to construct a base for the study of idealization. This base was then applied to the Hitler movement, the Manson Family, the Jim Jones cult, and shamanistic religions. Among other things, the book showed that modern charismatic collectives are more compelling and encompassing, as well as more distorted and destructive, under contemporary circumstances of alienation than was the case in premodern social systems. I returned to this topic in the volume I edited in 2013 entitled The Anthropology of Religious Charisma: Ecstasies and Institutions.

I also published several articles comparing the structure and experience of romantic love with that of charisma, arguing for a more culturally nuanced view of romantic idealization as a specific cultural form of the human search for transcendence, rather than simply a disguise for a genetically programmed mating strategy.

in my textbook Culture and Identity (2007) I expanded my approach to develop a multi-dimensional psychological anthropology based on the dialectical interpenetration of three levels of human experience: the personal/psychic level best grasped through a modified version of psychoanalysis; the institutional/structural level best understood via historical and sociological inquiry; and the level of meaning construction, which connects the personal and the social through the elaboration of symbolic systems and ritual analysis. This level is the locus for anthropological analysis. I illustrated my approach in chapters on the construction of the self, the evolution of cognitive anthropology, the anthropology of emotion and the anthropology of marginalization and charisma, as well as case studies of love and culture, and of American identity. The use of multidisciplinary approaches applied to case studies was followed again in Culture and Authenticity (2007), where the contemporary quest for "the really real" was explored in the realms of art, cuisine, dance, adventure, nationalism, ethnicity, and other collective and personal arenas,

Meanwhile, the writings derived from the Swati fieldwork moved in a number of different directions, some of them captured in essays collected in Frontier Perspectives (1996). One project compared the political implications of kinship structures in the Middle East and Central Asia. Another focus was on the various strategies utilized in reconciling ideologies of egalitarianism with the realities of authority. Research on this contradiction led to consideration of the historical permutations of structural and ideological tensions endemic to other purportedly egalitarian societies in the Middle East (a theme extensively developed in The Islamic Middle East 2002) and to comparative research on egalitarianism and the validation of command in the United States (Is America Breaking Apart? 1999 - written with J.A. Hall). Extending this line of thought, another book (The Struggle for the World 2010 - written with J.P. Zuquete) compared modern utopian "aurora movements" ranging from the leftist Zapatistas and rightist supporters of Le Pen to New Age ravers and Slow Food activists. Despite their vast differences, all of these movements seek new, purified identities and have a polarized vision of the universe. Old contrasts between left and right are blurred and even erased in this shared quest.

In sum, my research, though often built upon exotic or extreme material, always aims to bring anthropological insight into the existential dilemmas of modern life, where, as Marx said, "all that is solid melts into air." My present interests include the continuing my study of the anthropology of emotion as well as writing a life history narrative based on the autobiography of one of my Swati friends. And spending as much time on the beach as possible

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Richard R. Wilk on July 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book explains clearly and concisely, with humor and wit, the things that scholars have discovered about 'authenticity' over the last fifty years. The things of the world do not 'naturally' fall into two categories of authentic and fake. We create the categories and we put things in them, and there are many kinds of ways for things to become 'authentic' in some sense of the word.
I work with many people in the contemporary food movement on issues of health, environment and social justice. People want a lot more from their food these days besides taste and a nice label. But they also want food to be authentic, and that term gets thrown into the mix without much thought about what it means. Sometimes ambiguous words help people find some common ground when they really don't agree on things at all. And this usually leads to trouble in the future. I really wish more people would read this book; in the food movement, as well as in the art world, in the antique business, in real estate, and a whole host of other occupations that regularly deal with putting value on things on the basis of their authenticity.
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