Remotely global: village modernity in West Africa / Charles Piot. Bookmark: https ://; Physical Description. xiii, p. ; 24 cm. Remotely Global: Village Modernity in West remittances from wage workers and conspicu-. Africa. Charles Piot. Chicago: University of ous gifts from successful. Charles Piot revisits a remote West African village in postcolonial Togo; a site that has been treated by former anthropologists like Fortes and.

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Ethnographical globzl abound in the book as Piot remarkably covers a large spectrum of Kabre history and culture including their social relations, exchange system, rituals like initiations, gender ideologies, and house and homestead structures.

He problematizes the Eurocentric analytic frameworks i. He eventually destabilizes the classical assumptions of concepts such as tradition, modernity, globalization and cosmopolitanism. Kabres are originally from the north of Togo, however, the colonial rule mobilized them southward for labor, and since then, they have been migrating back and forth to the south shore for material gain with a feeling of rootedness in the north.

Ones who live in the south go back to charlex north frequently for rituals like initiations, and they also bring wealth to their northern families as a marker of their remotelly. The most visible gift imported fharles the south is cjarles tin roofs.

The reciprocity is the underlying logic of the cosmological, social and environmental world of Kabre. Piot elucidates that their exchange system of gift giving establishes and reifies the social relations. However, he warns us not to romanticize their solidarity reinforced through endless gift giving to one another.

The unspoken rules of gift exchange are also complex and situational. One of the most striking aspects of Kabre culture is undoubtedly their distinct way of engendering not only subjects but also domains, space, food, and labor.


Children are believed to be androgynous until their initiation to male or female adulthood. Gender is very fluid compared to the western cultures. That is, there are charle like moieties and spaces like homestead which are gendered, and thereby, create a spectrum in which one can be symbolically associated with the opposite gender.

Piot explains that gender being contextual formulates multiple identities with distinct social roles and alternating hierarchies:.

“Remotely Global: Village Modernity in West Africa” by Charles Piot | sitareist

Accordingly, Kabre strives to demarcate categories, mostly rejotely exchange and ritual, in almost all aspects of charlee lives including their cosmological, social and environmental worlds. They separate seasons, gendered activities, gendered spaces etc. Once boundaries are drawn between the demarcated sphere, everybody recognizes and fulfills their own part of social roles in ceremonies, cultivations, food preparations etc. However, it should be noted that, though Kabre employs binaries to separate, they see each part as complementary rather than oppositional to one another.

The complementary aspect of the binaries is directly linked with the Kabre understanding of the self.

Charles Piot: Remotely Global (ch. 1)

Thus, the action of a self is meaningful only in terms of its relation to an other, and to a difference…. Today, in the lives of the Kabre people, one can easily witness gloabl long history of both translocal and transnational encounters. Even though they have resisted to the colonial powers, and have remained largely to their local customs, they nonetheless embrace the innovations that they have gained through the encounter such as roads, schools, hospitals, cash crops, cars.

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The hybridity with so called modernity found even in such a remote place in West Africa at remogely destabilizes the perceived hegemony of modernity by multiplying it. Piot states once and again that. He not only puts modernity into question, he also problematizes his own western identity with its piog embeddedness to a certain tradition. His ethnography is genuinely marked by a high level of reflexivity that makes the process of knowledge production transparent enough that attempts to do justice to the actual players in the field.

The task of reflexivity in ethnograhy, ironically, is a yet another product of modernity. You are commenting using your WordPress.

Remotely Global: Village Modernity in West Africa

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Piot explains that gender being contextual formulates multiple identities with distinct social roles and alternating hierarchies: Twitter Facebook More Email. This entry was posted in rdmotelyreviewtheory and tagged postcolonial Togotradition and modernityWest Africa. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Email required Address never made public.

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