The SYMPOSIUM book club was a monthly open-access reading group for artists, researchers and anyone interested in the intersections between art practice and critical theory. Everyone was welcome to propose a text and facilitate the reading group.
We’ve selected Writing against Culture (1991) by Lila Abu-Lughod for our second reading. This discussion will be chaired by OmarJoseph Nasser-Khoury.
DOWNLOAD: Abu-Lughod, Lila (2006/1991). Writing against Culture. In Anthropology in Theory: Issues in Epistemology, Henrietta Moore and Todd Sanders ed. Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 466–479.
In this academic text, Lila Abu-Lughod unpacks the pitfalls of anthropological methods of research and analysis, which often construct generalised and over-simplified assumptions based on cultural difference.
Abu-Lughod proposed three different strategies of “writing against culture” to counter ethnographic accounts of the time, which presented culture as something that is static, discrete, homogeneous and coherent, ignoring the cross-over between societies, social and cultural change, subjectivity and everyday contradictions.