An essay (or experiment) in the anthropology of the individual

2015. 17 Abb.; 329 S.
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Anthropology does not usually select a person and try to empirically research, describe, analyse and explain their present life. However, this is the main objective pursued in this book. The field subject who becomes a theme in it is Musa, a Hausa peasant from Niger. This study thus provides an account of his present life and tries to explain it by drawing on the literature on peasants and on Islam in the region. This book also tries to show that the study of individuals »as such« is a topic for anthropology which deserves more attention. It argues that anthropology could benefit from an explicit discussion of the notion of the individual by providing more differentiated accounts of individuals as it tries to contribute to a development of an appropriate notion of the individual for anthropology. Furthermore, it makes the point that the study of individuals contributes to a better understanding of the interrelationship between different social fields, e.g. religion and economy.



A. The Research Site. Kimoram

Niger: Climate, Ethnic Groups, Administrative Structures – The Canton de Garin Gabas, the Chef de Canton, Maire and Headmen – Kimoram

B. The Research Process

Methods for the Study of Individuals: Participant Observation and Shadowing – The Theories in the Researcher's Mind – Interaction with Field Subjects

C. Musa. Daily Life in Kimoram

Musa. Household and Family – Musa's Life History – Daily Routine – People Close and Distant

D. Musa. Relationships and Activities

Mariama – The Children – The Father – Other Household Members – Kin and Affines – The Village, Friends and Relations in the Wider Region – Labour Migration – Religion and Magic

E. Who is Musa?

Desires – Social Relations – Values – Some Tentative Remarks on Reasoning and Planning – Mood – Self-Image and Relationship with Himself

F. Actor. Person. Individual: Theoretical Aspects

Tugendhat's Theory of the Person – Anthropological Studies – Theoretical Authors – Michael Jackson's Existential Anthropology – And this Book?

G. Explaining Musa's Life

Peasant Societies – Individuals in Peasant Studies – Islam in the Region – Individuals and the Interaction of Societal Fields

H. Summary



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