Self Consciousness: An Alternative Anthropology of Identity


This text establishes the importance of the individual, emphasizing the need to understand individuals’ awareness of themselves and their creation of their own social contexts and conditions. Drawing comparatively on a wide range of ethnographic studies and areas of anthropology from around the world, it proposes that anthropological fields, such as culture, society and social relations should be approached from the self upwards. The work demonstrates how social processes such as ritual symbolism, organization, rhetoric, socialization, marriage, naming, ethnicity and cultural nationalism are varied according to the needs of the creative self, and how emphasizing attention to the particular, the individual, and to self consciousness can both inform and discipline the larger picture.