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(p.151) 20 Reconfiguration
The Power of the Between
University of Chicago Press

This chapter describes how the author's experience with cancer compelled him to reconsider what it meant to live anthropology. When he confronted the indeterminate reality of cancer diagnosis, treatment, and remission, his perception of the anthropological odyssey shifted. Faced with a disease that can be “managed” but not “cured,” he wondered about his obligations as an anthropologist. Should he continue to write “thickly” described stories? Should he continue to attempt to refine social theory? He now believes that one of the most important obligations of anthropologists is to use their skills to bear witness. In so doing they are compelled to tell stories about kinship as well as cancer that shed light on social realities.

Keywords:   cancer, social theory, anthropology, anthropologists

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