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1. The Cosmic Vortex and Don Handelman’s Anthropological Vision: A Personal View

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Chapter Summary

The idea of craft instead of method communicates Don Handelman's distinctive style. Handelman combines a highly intuitive feeling and sensitivity for the ethnographic materials that he works with, with a thoroughgoing concern to rigorously establish the analytical and objective force of his arguments and discoveries. Goffman's orientation stresses the mechanics of interactive techniques in social performance. The author refers to the analyses where the interests, emotions, and senses of the beings in myth and the divine and human participants in rite are vital in the design of the action. This chapter can be read as an indirect critique of Dumont or perhaps, more accurately, as opening up a space of analytical interpretation of Hindu ethnography between Dumont and his critics. Handelman's approach is in a continual process of adjustment and building as he encounters new phenomena.

Keywords: anthropological vision; Don Handelman; Dumont; Goffman; Hindu ethnography; holism



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