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December 04 , 2007

In the Event

Toward an Anthropology of Generic Moments


Events are "generative moments" in at least three senses: events are created by and condense larger-scale social structures; as moments, they spark and give rise to new social processes; in themselves, events may also serve to analyze social situations and relationships. Based on ethnographic studies from around the world-varying from rituals and meetings over protests and conflicts to natural disasters and management-this volume analyzes generative moments through events that hold the key to understanding larger social situations. These events-including the Ashura ritual in Bahrain, social cleavages in South Africa, a Buddhist cave in Nepal, drought in Burkina Faso, an earthquake in Pakistan, the cartoon crisis in Denmark, corporate management at Bang & Olufsen, protest meetings in Europe, and flooding and urban citizenship in Mozambique-are not simply destructive disasters, crises, and conflicts, but also generative and constitutive of the social.

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