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The sword, the sponge, and the paradox of performativity: some observations on fate, luck, financial chicanery, and the limits of human knowledge

Graeber, David (2012) The sword, the sponge, and the paradox of performativity: some observations on fate, luck, financial chicanery, and the limits of human knowledge. Social Analysis, 56 (1). pp. 25-42. ISSN 0155-977X

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Abstract

Terms such as 'fate' and 'luck' are ways of talking about the ambiguities and antinomies of temporal existence that all humans, even social theorists, have to confront in one form or another. Concepts that include mana, śakti, baraka, and orenda might best be considered as grappling with the exact same paradoxes. Nor should we assume that social scientific approaches are necessarily more sophisticated. Current discourse on 'performativity', for instance, seems in certain ways rather crude when compared to the Malagasy concept of hasina (usually translated as 'sacred power'), which takes on the same dilemma—what I call the 'paradox of performativity'—in a far more nuanced way.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://journals.berghahnbooks.com/sa/
Additional Information: © 2012 Beghahn Journals
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Sets: Departments > Anthropology
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2013 15:34
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2019 01:40
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/53224

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