Serious games: Theory in anthropology since the 1980s

  • Aleksandar Bošković Department of Ethnology and Anthropology Faculty of Philosophy University of Belgrade The Institute of Social Sciences Belgrade
anthropological theories, ontological turn, relativism, particularism, ethnological theories, history of anthropology


The paper presents a critical overview of recent theories in anthropology, particularly following Ortner’s groundbreaking 1984 summary, as well as debates opened up by the Writing Culture symposium and the book that followed (Clifford and Marcus 1986). Beginning with Ortner’s theory of practice, the author presents basic elements of several theoretical currents that influenced anthropology’s development in the last few decades, with particular emphasis on the use of the concept of culture. Post-1980s years provided for increased visibility of other anthropologies, outside of traditional “centers” of anthropological knowledge (i.e. Anglo-American, French and German anthropologies).Some representatives of these traditions, together with certain modifications of structuralism, aided by representatives of the “deconstructionˮ movement (especially in France), additionally influenced the self-questioning in contemporary anthropology, leading gradually to what is sometimes referred to the “ontological turnˮ in contemporary anthropology, exemplified by the Brazilian anthropologist Eduardo Viveiros de Castro. Representatives of this “turn” also see themselves as successors of the theory of practice. The author points to some serious implications of this “turnˮ – including pushing anthropology into the realm of pseudo-science, and making it completely irrelevant for understanding and interpretation of the contemporary world.


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How to Cite
Bošković, Aleksandar. 2015. “Serious Games: Theory in Anthropology since the 1980s”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 10 (1), 19-41.