Michael Taussig

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A quote that best describes Michael Taussig's ways of learning, teaching and exploring ideas. "He is the innovator and most extreme practitioner of what he calls fictocriticism and what might fairly be described as gonzo anthropology. Blending fact and fiction, ethnographic observation, archival history, literary theory and memoir, his books read more like beatnik novels than sober analyses of other cultures." [1]

Born in 1940, Michael Taussig graduated from the University of Sydney with a medical degree and received his PhD. in anthropology from the London School of Economics and began his fieldwork in anthropology in 1969.

Taussig is distinctly known for his unconventional approach to the study of anthropology and his work being greatly influenced by the idea of commodity fetishism by Marx. [3]


Michael Taussig, the Life of An Anthropologist

Through Taussig's research he has comprised several books The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America, 1980 Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man : A Study in Terror and Healing, 1987 The Nervous System, 1992 Mimesis and Alterity; A Particular History of the Senses, 1993 The Magic of the State, 1997 Defacement: Public Secrecy and the Labor of the Negative, 1999 Law in a Lawless Land : Diary of a Limpieza in Colombia, 2003 My Cocaine Museum, 2004 Walter Benjamin's Grave, 2006

"My writing has spanned different things in roughly the following order; two books in Spanish for local people on the history of slavery and its aftermath, and books and articles in academic journals on the: 1) commercialization of peasant agriculture, 2) slavery, 3) hunger, 4) the popular manifestations of the working of commodity fetishism, 5) the impact of colonialism (historical and contemporary) on "shamanism" and folk healing, 6) the relevance of modernism and post-modernist aesthetics for the understanding of ritual, 7) the making, talking, and writing of terror, 8) mimesis in relation to sympathetic magic, state fetishism, and secrecy, 9) defacement (meaning iconoclasm), 10) a two week diary detailing paramilitary violence, 11)a study of exciting substance loaded with seduction and evil, gold and cocaine, in a montage-ethnography of the Pacific Coast of Colombia, 11) currently writing a book entitled "What Color is the Sacred?"." [4]

Michael Taussig's uses his research to see alternate reasonings behind situations that happen in common society. Analyzing the aspect thats are not commonly studied. For example, using Marx's ides of commodity fetishism Taussig would study the products produced through slavery and analyze the social relationships between the producers and products as non-existent, but how the products created social relationships between the slave masters and the people who consume the products slaves produced.

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Taussig says his job is an exercise in ‘‘cross fertilizing’’ ideas among science, art, storytelling and criticism. ‘‘It’s ultimately impossible to collapse these distinctions,’’ he says. ‘‘But I try.’’ [2]


The Nervous System

The Nervous System is Michael Taussig's composition of nine essays, giving insight into how the past is affecting the future using the idea of the processes of the biological Nervous System as a model of how the heirarchy of societies grasp and keep power. Defined: The nervous system is a network of specialized cells that communicate information about an animal's surroundings and itself. It processes this information and causes reactions in other parts of the body. Tuassig

Michael Tuassig: Relating to Modernity

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text in a paragraph where i talk about Michael Taussig's research on Latin American politics and society. Michael Taussig on "My Cocaine Museum"