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The murderous civilisation: anarchist geographies, ethnography and cultural differences in the works of Elie Reclus

ContributorsFerretti, Federico
Published inCultural geographies, vol. 24, no. 1, p. 111-129
Publication date2017
Abstract

This paper, based on primary sources, addresses the early anarchist ethnography of Élie Reclus (brother of the more famous French geographer Élisée Reclus), placing it in the context of anarchist geographers' elaboration of the theory of mutual aid, as well as in the construction of a scientific discourse opposed to racism, colonialism and Eurocentrism recently addressed by international literature on this group. Drawing on the double critical frame of present-day anarchist anthropologies and cultural geographies addressing the debates on otherness, postcolonialism and differences, this paper analyses an early but radical attempt to build a scientific discourse on empathy and understanding of different cultural standpoints in the political context of an explicit denunciation of colonial crimes by all nations of European culture, as well as scientists' complicity therein. I argue that European science at the time of imperialism and evolutionism was not a homogeneous field, but a battlefield where heterodox and nonconformist thinkers tried to develop different discourses in order to build cultures of solidarity linked to a consistent political action.

Keywords
  • Reclus brothers
  • Anarchist geographies
  • Anarchist anthropologies
  • Anti-colonialism
  • Otherness
Citation (ISO format)
FERRETTI, Federico. The murderous civilisation: anarchist geographies, ethnography and cultural differences in the works of Elie Reclus. In: Cultural geographies, 2017, vol. 24, n° 1, p. 111–129. doi: 10.1177/1474474016662293
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Identifiers
ISSN of the journal1474-4740
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