Handbook of Political Anthropology
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Handbook of Political Anthropology

Edited by Harald Wydra and Bjørn Thomassen

This Handbook engages the reader in the major debates, approaches, methodologies, and explanatory frames within political anthropology. Examining the shifting borders of a moving field of enquiry, it illustrates disciplinary paradigm shifts, the role of humans in political structures, ethnographies of the political, and global processes. Reflecting the variety of directions that surround political anthropology today, this volume will be essential reading to understanding the interactions of humans within political frames in a globalising world.
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Chapter 2: On the mimetic turn in the social sciences

Roberto Farneti


Mimetic perspectives in the social sciences comprise attitudes and insights derived from mimetic theory, a novel attempt to reframe the terms of our discourse on the nature and facts of human sociability. These perspectives help reframing a number of canonical problems in the social sciences, such as the nature of social bonds and the reasons or causes of conflict. They affect the ways we build historical sequences and lines of developments, for each innovation promotes efforts to find the hidden premises to current standards. And finally, mimetic insights disturb the relations among disciplines, which in the social sciences are clumped together in hierarchical systems that have never really been challenged. This article reviews the impact of mimetic explanations on this discourse, on the assumption that this impact may help animate a political anthropology that straddles realms and discourses, and provides a new conceptual horizon for the study of political phenomena.

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