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Laying Claim to Authenticity: Five Anthropological Dilemmas

From: Anthropological Quarterly
Volume 86, Number 2, Spring 2013
pp. 337-360 | 10.1353/anq.2013.0032

Abstract

Abstract:

The introduction to this special collection examines five dilemmas about the use of the concept of authenticity in anthropological analysis. These relate to 1) the expectation of a singular authenticity "deep" in oneself or beyond the surface of social reality, 2) the contradictions emerging from the opposition of authenticity with inauthenticity, 3) the irony of the notion of invention of tradition (which deconstructs, but also offends), 4) the criteria involved in the authentication of the age of objects (with a consideration of their materiality), and 5) authenticity's simultaneity, its contemporaneous multiple conceptualizations in context. I argue for a perspective on the study of authenticity that acknowledges the simultaneous co-existence of more than one parallel manifestation of authenticity in any given negotiation of the authentic.



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