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They demonstrate her theoretical acuity in defining an approach that always places human experience first. As a result, she develops attractive, balanced, pragmatic views of culture, relativism, and the tendency in cultural anthropology, at least, to emphasize difference over the coherence of human experience in whichever culture and society it is engaged.


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They are exemplars and a test, as well, of just that approach which understands that common humanity is to be found anywhere, though complicated by distinctive cultural orientations to the expression of personhood. Publisher's Page.


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  • Resonance: Beyond the Words by Unni Wikan?
  • Managing editor. The book, though, is a journey through her unusually rich life as an anthropologist, forty years of study, with an extremely broad fieldwork experience covering poverty in Cairo, veiled women and male transvestites in Oman, rape and childbirth in Bhutan, and honor killings in Scandinavia.

    In the book Wikan takes us with her on a journey from the island in northern Norway where she grew up 8 , across the Middle East and Asia, and back again to Scandinavia, giving of her self while sharing her deep knowledge with us in an unusually generous and honest way. With three exceptions chapters 4, 9, and 11 the chapters consist of articles that have been published previously, most of them in various anthropological journals in the period , but Wikan wants to show the relevance of anthropology in a globalized world, and with her longtime broad cross-cultural experience she does this extremely well, joining the topics neatly together although a scholar working in the Greek environment might have wanted more updated material on shame and honor [cf.

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    Resonance: Beyond the Words

    These are important words in a world where unfortunately many scholars still cling to the opposite view. However, in the final chapter, Wikan admits she reaches the limit of her method, resonance: in a courtroom in Copenhagen after the honor killing of young Ghazala Khan, she cannot and will not resonate with the thought-feelings of the killers. Thus the concern is with morality and pragmatics, and implications for fieldwork method and anthropological representation. I advocate a focus on persons in lived situations, rather than discourse, and suggest that resonance is the crucial—and charitable—orientation that allows us to go beyond the words to engage people's compelling concerns.

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    Book Review: Resonance: Beyond the Words by Unni Wikan | LSE Review of Books

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