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Textures of the OrdinaryDoing Anthropology after Wittgenstein$
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Veena Das

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780823287895

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823287895.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Textures of the Ordinary

Veena Das

Fordham University Press

This chapter takes an important insight from Wittgenstein and Cavell that philosophical problems arise in the weave of life and argues that the anthropological tonality of their writing is an invitation for creating particular kinds of connections between philosophy, anthropology, and literature. The argument of the chapter is that the relation between anthropology and philosophy is not grounded in a search for better foundations for anthropology, achieved by launching an inquiry into the human as a general category, but rather by finding the human in engaging with the concrete in specific milieus. It is from within this perspective that ideas about the everyday, the ordinary, and the threats to the ordinary, whether in the form of large catastrophic events or in the form of recurring and repeated crises, are tracked in the neighborhoods in Delhi where the ethnographic work was located. One response to the threats to the everyday is shown to lie in the perfectionist ideas of generating an eventual everyday from the actual everyday rather than treating the skepticism that shadows everyday life as an extinguishable doubt.

Keywords:   actual, ethnography, eventual, human, image, life, ordinary, skepticism

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