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Two is Infinite, Gender is Post-Social in Papua New Guinea

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This paper reads the works of Jacques Lacan and Gilles Deleuze through the anthropological imperative of “multinaturalism” (E. Viveiros de Castro) – a counter-proposal to multiculturalism. Multinaturalism, as I interpret, posits the body as the limit-point of a “fault-line,” where the “impossibility” of both sexual and species relation is given an expression. The fault-lining body, in this view, is a sexed body. The twoness of a sexed body, in turn, inscribes none other than the self-generative nature of socius: how “culture” auto-affectively gives itself the appearance of “nature,” by enfolding the latter into it. Seen this way, the works of Lacan and Deleuze show an impressive fidelity to the anthropological imperative of capturing the self-generative “miracle” (G. Bataille) of socius as it is frequently encountered in non-Western societies. Detailed in the current paper is a case from Melanesia, reported by Marilyn Strathern. I further argue in conclusion that to think multinaturally is to relinquish all either/or logic, which includes the one in the following title by Peter Hallward: “You Can’t Have it Both Ways: Deleuze or Lacan.”

Keywords: infinity; limit; multinaturalism; species relation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Anthropology,University of Minnesota, 95 Humphrey Center 301 19th Ave. S.Minneapolis,MN 55455, USA

Publication date: June 1, 2012

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