Wielka masakra kotów, symboli i antropologii historycznej
The Great Cat Massacre, Symbolism and historical anthropology
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Robert Darnton’s book is one of the most faithful applications of the semiotic method to a study of unfamiliar symbolic forms that use Geertz’s thick description. in particular, it was Geertz’s interpretation of Balinese cockfights that became a model for Darnton’s interpretation of the Great Cat Massacre on a certain street in Paris in the 1730s. the criticism levelled at this famous book by J.W. Fernandez (an anthropologist), D. LaCapra (ideas historian) and R. Chartier (historian) is a reprise of the earlier criticism of Geertz by cultural anthropologists. it is also, mainly an “external criticism”, which is to mean it is levelled from the post-structuralist, or even post-humanistic positions. attempts to correct Darnton by redirecting the focus from the “native’s point of view” (of the participants in “the great cat massacre”) to the “cat’s point of view” as LaCapra would have wanted (which amounts to freshening the historical anthropology – according to Domańska – by tying it with another “turn” i.e. post-humanism) may lead to (and this is well worth investigating) “the massacre of historical anthropology”.
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