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The anthropological perspective of the world

The inductive method illustrated

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Dominique Desjeux

What connection can there be between the Corps des Mines in France in the 1960s, the exhumation of the dead in Madagascar and sorcery in the Congo in the 1970s, mass distribution in France, urban riots on suburban estates, DIY in the United States in the 1990s, the rise of the Chinese middle class, uses of the SMS in Poland, shopping in Denmark, the economic crisis of 2008 and the emergence of competitive convergence in the 21st century between the West and Asia, starting from the year 2000, etc.? And yet all of these parts of the daily life of consumers, companies, administrations and citizens are linked by the invisible thread of globalisation. All of this gains a sense when we observe that a new global middle class of consumers is in the process of emerging and transforming the whole interplay of social forces which traverse all societies.

This book presents an inductive method in action, as it has been put in practice in almost 50 years of qualitative investigations in fields, offices, trains, kitchens, bathrooms or living rooms, and in Europe, Asia, Africa, the United States and Brazil. The author promotes a new form of anthropology of modernity, showing that not everything in the life of society, the market, the family or the individual can be observed at the same time. The scale of observation needs to be changed in order to see things appear or disappear depending on the focal length chosen. Understanding the world requires mobile knowledge.

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