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Book review: Culture Contact in Evenki Land. A Cybernetic Anthropology of the Baikal Region , written by Tatiana Safonova & István Sántha

Book review: Culture Contact in Evenki Land. A Cybernetic Anthropology of the Baikal Region ,... Culture Contact in Evenki Land. A Cybernetic Anthropology of the Baikal Region. Leiden-Boston: Global Oriental, Inner Asia Series. 2013. 184 pp. Hardback €90. ISBN: 978-90-04-23306-5 The French novelist Charles Dantzig said that if life submitted its manuscript to a publisher, it would be turned down. According to him, life has no form and it is the author’s duty to give life an acceptable shape. Of course, anthropologists are not novelists, and the best bet for most of them is to assume that human life has enduring forms or, to use Bateson’s cybernetic language, ‘patterns that connect’, apparently random events observed in an ever-flowing stream of life. Anthropologists must be more or less confident of their ability to reveal these patterns and make them understandable to their readers. Although I remain unconvinced about the cybernetic fate of the universe which underlies the writing of this book, as a theoretical framework, the form it has given to Tatiana Safonova and István Sántha’s monograph is stunning. Culture Contact in Evenki Land. A Cybernetic Anthropology of the Baikal Region should leave no anthropologist indifferent; many times while reading the book I found myself arguing with an imagined Tatiana or István and, more http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Inner Asia Brill

Book review: Culture Contact in Evenki Land. A Cybernetic Anthropology of the Baikal Region , written by Tatiana Safonova & István Sántha

Inner Asia , Volume 16 (1): 215 – Aug 19, 2014

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
Subject
Book Reviews
ISSN
1464-8172
eISSN
2210-5018
DOI
10.1163/22105018-12340011
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Culture Contact in Evenki Land. A Cybernetic Anthropology of the Baikal Region. Leiden-Boston: Global Oriental, Inner Asia Series. 2013. 184 pp. Hardback €90. ISBN: 978-90-04-23306-5 The French novelist Charles Dantzig said that if life submitted its manuscript to a publisher, it would be turned down. According to him, life has no form and it is the author’s duty to give life an acceptable shape. Of course, anthropologists are not novelists, and the best bet for most of them is to assume that human life has enduring forms or, to use Bateson’s cybernetic language, ‘patterns that connect’, apparently random events observed in an ever-flowing stream of life. Anthropologists must be more or less confident of their ability to reveal these patterns and make them understandable to their readers. Although I remain unconvinced about the cybernetic fate of the universe which underlies the writing of this book, as a theoretical framework, the form it has given to Tatiana Safonova and István Sántha’s monograph is stunning. Culture Contact in Evenki Land. A Cybernetic Anthropology of the Baikal Region should leave no anthropologist indifferent; many times while reading the book I found myself arguing with an imagined Tatiana or István and, more

Journal

Inner AsiaBrill

Published: Aug 19, 2014

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