[URBANTH-L]Response from Doug Feldman

bvergara at sfsu.edu bvergara at sfsu.edu
Thu May 5 08:29:25 EDT 2005

>From dfeldman at brockport.edu:

Hi Virginia,

Certainly, I have no disagreement with the view that not all facts are accurate
facts.  We need new theoretical perspectives or conceptualizations to
re-evaluate our facts, rather than accepting them uncritically at face value. 
And certainly, understanding power differentials in our world today is
important.  But critical anthropology theory, cultural materialism, and conflict
theory are ways of understanding the role of the political economy without
having to resort to postmodernism.  

The problem I have with postmodernism is its hyper-relativism and its false
presumption that there is no reality out there.  The truth is (oops -- sorry for
using a postmodernist obscenity!); the truth is that there is a reality out
there.  As an applied medical anthropologist, I have been very eclectic in using
different theoretical perspectives and various methodological approaches.  But
as far as I can see, postmodern theory is not just another useful building block
in anthropological theory and method.  Rather, to me, it is more like a hand
grenade ready to go off and destroy the rubric of anthropology at any moment.


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