On the anthropology of the contemporary: Addressing concepts, designs, and practices
Between 2007 and 2014, on his own and in association with Gaymon Bennett and Anthony Stavrianakis, Paul Rabinow has been devoted to the development of an “anthropology of the contemporary.” The project is widely recognized as being original, stimulating, and provocative, within and outside of the disciplinary corridors of anthropology. Only spotty attention has been paid, however, to the overarching integrity of the complex spiral of figuration and refiguration through which it has unfolded. Even less attention has been paid to the overarching integrity of the works that Rabinow inaugurated and has continued to pursue throughout his career—from an original and frequently cited formulation of the relation between tradition and modernity through his more recent articulations of the anthropology appropriate to the relation between modernity and the contemporary. Severally and jointly, the contributors to this forum give attention to both. Anthony Stavrianakis joins Rabinow in a response that engages these contributors, taking the opportunity thus provided to address criticism and to elaborate and to refine an anthropology of the contemporary as they currently understand it to be.