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Social Anthropology

The group for debates in anthropological theory (GDAT)

This group aims to generate stimulating discussions on anthropological theory through a debate format.

Save the date

The 2017 GDAT debate will be held in Manchester on Saturday, the 14th of October 2-6pm. The motion to be debated is:

Violence and violation are at the heart of racism

Pnina Werbner and Christopher (Kit) Davis will be proposing the motion

Pete Wade and John Hartigan will be opposing it.

Renold Building, rooms C002 and C015. View map.

Everyone welcome!

Any questions, contact 

Soumhya Venkatesan
Senior Lecturer in Anthropology
University of Manchester

Previous debates

  • 1988  Social Anthropology is a generalizing science or it is nothing
  • 1989  The concept of society is theoretically obsolete
  • 1990  Human worlds are culturally constructed
  • 1991  Language is the essence of culture
  • 1992  The past is a foreign country
  • 1993  Aesthetics is a cross-cultural category
  • 1995  Advocacy in anthropology
  • 1996  Cultural studies will be the death of anthropology
  • 1997  In anthropology, the image can never have the last say
  • 1999  The right to difference is a fundamental human right
  • 2008  Ontology is just another word for culture
  • 2009  The anthropological fixation with reciprocity leaves no place for love
  • 2010  The task of anthropology is to invent relations. Published in Critique of Anthropology March 2012 vol. 32 no. 1 43-47. doi: 10.1177/0308275X11430873
  • 2011  Non-dualism is philosophy not ethnography. Published in Critique of Anthropology September 2013 vol. 33 no. 3 300-360. doi: 10.1177/0308275X13490310
  • 2012  The concept of neoliberalism has become an obstacle to the anthropological understanding of the twenty-first century
  • 2013  There is no such thing as the good
  • 2015  Attention to infrastructure offers a welcome reconfiguration of anthropological approaches to the political

Debate publication

  • The first six debates (1988-1993) are available as a book, Key Debates in Anthropology, edited by Tim Ingold (Routledge, 1996).
  • The 2010 debate will be published in Critique of Anthropology in Spring 2012.
  • 2012: published in JRAI, 2015 21(4): 911-923
  • 2013: published in Critique of Anthropology, 2015 35(4): 430-480
  • 2015: published in Critique of Anthropology, January 2016 (Online First): 


Dr Soumhya Venkatesan


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