In the 1970s, anthropology began to examine its role in the establishment and expansion of colonial rule in non-Western societies and its continuation in new forms of economic and political domination exerted by the West after the disbanding of colonial administrations. Said’s book Orientalism (1978) proved to be immensely influential in this context. Today, globalization has emerged as the domain in which anthropologists critically recast their relationship to the post-colonial field. Anthropologists increasingly study the cultural effects of the worldwide diffusion of commodities, technologies and media products, as well as the increase of immigration and other forms of transnational mobility. Faced with a surge of greatly increasing cultural diversity worldwide as a consequence of these intensified exchanges, anthropology has been forced to revise its earlier notion that globalization would inevitably bring about a culturally homogenized world. This article addresses the concept of the pluralization of modernities, explores its potential for interdisciplinary research agendas, and also inquires into problematic assumptions underlying this new theoretical approach.1
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