29 May 2013

Article: "Common Nonsense: A review of Certain Recent Reviews of the Ontological Turn"

Article by Morten Axel Pedersen, Department of Anthropology, in Anthropology of this Century, Issue 5, October 2012.

The “ontological turn”
If the success of a new theoretical approach can be measured by the intensity of the passion and the amount of critique it generates, then surely the so-called “ontological turn” within anthropology and cognate disciplines qualifies as one.

Fair criticism?
As still more scholars and perhaps especially students express sympathy with some or all of its analytical aspirations, the larger and the louder becomes the chorus of anthropological sceptics expressing reservations about the project and its implications. But what is this “turn” really about, and how fair – and thus also how damaging – are the various critiques raised against it?

Review of reviews
With a view to addressing these and related questions, the aim this essay is to review certain recent reviews of the ontological turn with special emphasis on whether or not this theoretical method and ome of the most common critiques of it may themselves be said to rest on implicit meta-ontologies.

Read the entire article online at aotcpress.com