From the Margins

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Essay Excerpt

How can anthropology benefit from cultural studies and cultural studies benefit from anthropology? One area in which these two scholarly trajectories work best together is in theorizing the interface of local and global frames of analysis. The challenge here is to move from situated, that is "local," controversies to widely circulating or "global" issues of power and knowledge and back, as this allows us to develop understandings of the institutions and dialogues in which both local and global cultural agendas are shaped. This essay is about margins as a conceptual site from which to explore the imaginative quality and the specificity of local/global cultural formation. Margins here are not a geographical, descriptive location. Nor do I refer to margins as the sites of deviance from social norms. Instead, I use the term to indicate an analytic placement that makes evident both the constraining, oppressive quality of cultural exclusion and the creative potential of rearticulating, enlivening, and rearranging the very social categories that peripheralize a group's existence (279).

Tsing, Anna. "From the Margins." Cultural Anthropology 9.3(1994): 279–297.

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