Anthropologies of Revolution

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Igor Cherstich is a Teaching Fellow in Social Anthropology at University College London. He is coeditor of the special issue The Multiple Narratives of the Libyan Revolution, Middle East Critique.
Martin Holbraad is Professor of Social Anthropology at University College London. He is author of Truth in Motion: The Recursive Anthropology of Cuban Divination and coauthor of The Ontological Turn: An Anthropological Exposition.

Nico Tassi is Research Associate at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés in La Paz, Bolivia, and author of The Native World System: An Ethnography of Bolivian Aymara Traders in the Global Economy.

"With insightful references to cases around the world, Anthropologies of Revolution conceives revolutions as moments of cosmological transformation through which revolutionary subjects change their relations with themselves and with the worlds in which they live. The book advances a brilliant holistic theory that offers credibility and significance to the ways revolutions unfold in culturally specific practices without diminishing their political impact and universal aspirations."—Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, author of Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment

"This fascinating volume opens up new horizons in the study of revolutionary practice. The authors make a signal contribution by decentering analysis of revolutions away from Europe, the source of definitions and trajectories long regarded as normative. The contributors subject normative understandings of revolution to critical ethnographic enquiry, and in the process create new conceptual spaces to consider important but neglected themes such as ritual, gender, cosmology, temporality, and personhood. It is difficult to imagine a more important or original work."—David Nugent, author of The Encrypted State: Delusion and Displacement in the Peruvian Andes

"This book is an excellent, multiauthored foray into the world of revolution that, in a groundbreaking fashion, reconceptualizes what it means to be human in a context of rupture, transformation, and turmoil. It is a truly original (in all senses of the term) contribution to understanding the global and human condition of far-reaching political, social, and cosmological change."—Bjørn Enge Bertelsen, author of Violent Becomings: State Formation, Sociality, and Power in Mozambique


A free open access ebook is available upon publication. Learn more at

What can anthropological thinking contribute to the study of revolutions? The first book-length attempt to develop an anthropological approach to revolutions, Anthropologies of Revolution proposes that revolutions should be seen as concerted attempts to radically reconstitute the worlds people inhabit. Viewing revolutions as all-embracing, world-creating projects, the authors ask readers to move beyond the idea of revolutions as acts of violent political rupture, and instead view them as processes of societal transformation that penetrate deeply into the fabric of people’s lives, unfolding and refolding the coordinates of human existence.

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Anthropologies of Revolution
Forging Time, People, and Worlds
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University Presses
Anzahl Seiten
H229mm x B153mm x T14mm
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