The longing for authenticity, on an individual or collective level, connects the search for external expressions to internal orientations. What is largely referred to as production of authenticity is a reformulation of cultural values and norms within the ongoing process of modernity, impacted by globalization and contemporary transnational cultural flows. This collection interrogates the notion of authenticity from an anthropological point of view and considers authenticity in terms of how meaning is produced in and through discourses about authenticity. Incorporating case studies from four continents, the topics reach from art and colonialism to exoticism-primitivism, film, ritual, and wilderness. Some contributors emphasize the dichotomy between the academic use of the term and the one deployed in public spaces and political projects. All, however, consider authenticity as something that can only be understood ethnographically, and not as a simple characteristic or category used to distinguish some behaviors, experiences, or material things from other less authentic versions.
Thomas Fillitz is both Associate Professor of Social Anthropology and Director of the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropologyat the University of Vienna. He has been a visiting professor at the Universite des Sciences et Technologies Lille-1 (2001, 2003), at the Universite Lumiere Lyon-2 (2008), and at Universite Paris Descartes (2011). He has published Zeitgenosssische Kunst aus Afrika. Vierzehn Kunstler aus Cote d'Ivoire und Benin (2002) and many other articles and book chapters. A. Jamie Saris is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Anthropology at the National University of Ireland-Maynooth and Co-Chair of the Combat Diseases of Poverty Consortium. He has been working more than fifteen years in medical and psychological anthropology in Ireland, North America and Africa. For the past five years, he has focused on issues connected to poverty and structural violence in European cities, especially Dublin. He sits on the editorial board of Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry and was previously the Editor of The Irish Journal of Anthropology.
Acknowledgements List of Illustrations Introduction: Authenticity Aujourd'hui Thomas Fillitz and A. Jamie Saris PART I: AUTHENTICITY AND AUTHENTICATING Chapter 1. Revisiting "Culture, Genuine and Spurious:" Reflections on Icons and Politics in Ireland A. Jamie Saris Chapter 2. Deceptive Tentacles of the Authenticating Mind: on Authenticity and Some Other Notions that are Good for Absolutely Nothing Rajko Mursic PART II: MORAL DISCOURSES OF AUTHENTICITY Chapter 3. Authentic Wilderness: The Production and Experience of Nature in America Lawrence J. Taylor Chapter 4. The Moral Economy of Authenticity. And the Invention of Traditions in Franche-Comte (France) Jean-Pierre Warnier Chapter 5. Oh, That's So Typical!" Discussing Some Spanish "Authentic" Essential Traits Jorge Grau Rebollo PART III: AUTHENTICITY: POPULAR AND ACADEMIC DISCOURSES Chapter 6. Is Form Really Primary or, What Makes Things Authentic? Sociality and Materiality in Afro Brazilian Ritual and Performance Inger Sjorslev Chapter 7. Cultural Search for Authenticity: Questioning Primitivism and Exotic Art Paul Van der Grijp Chapter 8. Wooden Pillars and Mural Paintings in the Saudi Southwest: Notes on Continuity, Authenticity, and Artistic Change in Regional Traditions Andre Gingrich Chapter 9. True to Life: Authenticity and the Photographic Image Marcus Banks PART IV: ENTANGLED SPACES OF AUTHENTICITY Chapter 10. Questions of Authenticity and Legitimacy in the Work of Henri Gaden (1867-1939) Roy Dilley Chapter 11. Constructing Culture Through Shared Location, Bricolage and Exchange: the Case of Gypsies and Roma Judith Okely Chapter 12. Cultural Regimes of Authenticity and Contemporary Art of Africa Thomas Fillitz Notes on Contributors Index