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The Concept of Indigeneity

by M Guenther, J Kenrick, A Kuper, E Plaice, T Thuen, P Wolfe, W Zips, A Barnard


Offers the comments of seven scholars on Alan Barnard's critique of Adam Kuper's (2003) attack on the notion of 'indigenous people.' Mathias Guenther suggests that the indigenous peoples debate raises concerns about the contrived nature of constituting & (re)inventing the identity & culture of 'indigenous people.' Justin Kenrick notes that the term 'indigenous peoples' helpfully highlights the commonality of hidden history but unhelpfully hides important dynamic differences. Adam Kuper argues that Barnard's essay intimates that anthropologists should subordinate their priorities to those of activists & slant their reports in order to support political programs. Evie Plaice argues that Barnard's attempt to separate legal from anthropological understandings of the term 'indigenous' is impractical while Trond Thuen agrees with Barnard that Kuper's accusations are misplaced & points out the need for anthropologists to focus instead on the shifting relationship between indigenous peoples & the governments & majorities in their countries. Patrick Wolfe focuses on the political nature of the debate over the category 'indigenous' & Werner Zips calls attention to some key legal issues that were missed in Barnard's repudiation of Kuper's polemic. A rejoinder by Alan Barnard addresses specific statements made by each commentator.

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