The Kuranko: Dimensions of Social Reality in a West African Society

Hurst: London, 1977

I share the view of Merleau-Ponty, that the process of “joining objective analysis to lived experience is perhaps the most proper task of anthropology, the one that distinguishes it from other social science.”

In this ethnographic study of the Kuranko of northeast Sierra Leone, Michael Jackson critiques structural-functional emphases on social order, and turns his attention from collectivities, polities, rules and roles to the ritualized dynamics and micropolitics of interpersonal relations in everyday life.  Drawing on Sartre’s existentialism and Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology, he explores the antinomian impulse to create disorder, flout routine, transgress boundaries, and tap into the forces of the wild as if these were necessary, rather than inimical, to the viability of individual lives and the integrity of local communities.

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