A dialog about a new meaning of symmetric anthropology

A dialog about a new meaning of symmetric anthropology application/pdf icon

"A Dialog About a New Meaning of Symmetric Anthropology (with Carolina Miranda)." In Comparative Metaphysics - Ontology after Anthropology, edited by Pierre Charbonnier, Gildas Salmon and Peter Skafish, 327-45. London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017


CM: still I am infinitely far from granting any symmetry between poor and rich, the victims and the profiteers of the capitalistic land grab!
BL: But would you really disagree that it would be possible to detect a sort of inverse history at work here? At the beginning of Middle Ground, remember, we are in the 16th century, you see how weak are the envoys of the Kings of England and France, they have to parley their ways through nations that are still powerful (whenever English and French think they are strong enough so that they don’t need to negotiate, they are roundly defeated!). Two centuries later, there is no need to discuss at all: the Indians have been literally pushed aside.
CM: So?
BL: So what I am hinting at with this new version of symmetric anthropology is that, because of the ecological mutation, three centuries later, we are now bound to observe a reversal that I take to be exactly symmetrical to White’s narrative: the Old Empires so to speak, are so much weakened, so much taken aback, that they have to negotiate anew, and are looking everywhere for cues on how to cope! Those who were doing the colonization now exclaim: “Ah that’s what you meant by having your culture broken down” and those on the receiving end of the colonization sigh back: “Ah! may be, finally you will now understand”.
CM: Bruno, Bruno nothing of what you say works here. Where have you seen a negotiation going on? What chance had, for instance, the Fuegans to negotiate? In 50 years they have been wiped out. All of them. To the last canoe. Who is sent as a diplomat? Guns, microbes, greed, an abominable landgrab. Diplomacy? This is a sickening idea really.