Twilight Zone Anthropologies: The Case of Central Europe

Michal Bukowski


This article aims at contributing to the discussion on the global hierarchies of knowledge and flows of anthropological ideas. Anthropologists perceive themselves as advocates of an egalitarian ethos. Nevertheless, for various interrelated reasons, the discipline of anthropology is divided into privileged and underprivileged regions. Cross-cutting disparities find expression in such notions as center and periphery, Global South and North and, last but not least, East and West. Central and Eastern European anthropology, which was already diversified under communist regimes, has become even more varied in the postsocialist period. Despite this it is often perceived by metropolitan anthropologies as a provincial enterprise burdened by paradigms from the past. These intricate power relations are described and the pecking order of different systems of knowledge questioned. By referring to selected achievements of anthropologists in Central Europe, the intellectual and innovative potential of twilight zone anthropologies is promoted.

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