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Ontology, ‘hauntology’ and the ‘turn’ that keeps anthropology turning

Argyrou, Vassos


Vassos Argyrou


© 2016, © The Author(s) 2016. Twentieth-century anthropology has been operating with the assumption of one nature and many cultures, one reality experienced and lived in many different ways. Its primary job, therefore, has been to render the otherness of the other understandable, to demonstrate that although different it is also the same; in short, to show that although other, others are people like us. The latest theoretical paradigm, known as the ‘ontological turn’, appears to reverse this assumption and to posit many natures and one culture. Whether it does in fact reverse it and constitutes a meta-ontology, as critics have pointed out, or it is only a heuristic, methodological device, as some of the proponents of the ‘turn’ have recently argued, the contention of my article is the same: first, this move – the ontological – is made in the hope of doing a better job in redeeming otherness than earlier anthropological paradigms; second, it fails as they did – in the same way and for the same reasons.


Argyrou, V. (2017). Ontology, ‘hauntology’ and the ‘turn’ that keeps anthropology turning. History of the Human Sciences, 30(1), 50-65.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 14, 2016
Online Publication Date Dec 28, 2016
Publication Date Feb 1, 2017
Deposit Date Jul 20, 2016
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal History of the human sciences
Print ISSN 0952-6951
Electronic ISSN 1461-720X
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 30
Issue 1
Pages 50-65
Keywords Anthropological theory, ‘Ontological turn’, ‘Hauntology’
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Author's accepted manuscript of article published in: History of the human sciences, 2017, v.30, issue 1.


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