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© 2020

A Post-Exotic Anthropology of Soqotra, Volume I

A Mesography of an Indigenous Polity in Yemen

Book

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-lxv
  2. Eco-Socio-Economic Disarticulation: Waning Pastoral Community

  3. Political Incorporation: Constitution of a Sub-National Polity

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 225-225
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 347-407

About this book

Introduction

“Dr. Serge D. Elie’s remarkable tour de force is both a rich multi-layered ‘mesographic’ narrative about Soqotran and Yemeni communal polities in constant transition and a stunning rebuttal to Eurocentric conventions of knowledge production. By advocating a new ‘ethic of reciprocity,’ A Post-Exotic Anthropology of Soqotra offers a rich ‘portrait’ of the necessarily co-dependent, decades-long relationship between scholar and indigenous collaborators. By advocating moving beyond the ‘West-Rest Antinomy’ so prevalent in the discipline, Dr. Elie promises readers a vital curative to generations of anthropology of Yemen.”

—Isa Blumi, Associate Professor, Department of Asian, Middle Eastern, and Turkish Studies, Stockholm University, Sweden, and author of Destroying Yemen: What Chaos in Arabia Tells Us about the World (2018)

This two-volume book offers a panoramic explanatory narrative of Soqotra Island’s rediscovery based on the global significance of its endemic biodiversity. This rediscovery not only engendered Soqotra’s protective environmental supervision by United Nations agencies, but also the intensification of its bureaucratic incorporation and political subordination by Yemen’s mainland national government. Together, the two volumes provide a “total” community study based on an historically contextualized and analytically detailed portrait of the Soqotran community via a multi-layered narrative the author terms a “mesography.” The first volume, A Post-Exotic Anthropology of Soqotra, Volume I: A Mesography of an Indigenous Polity in Yemen, situates the author’s study within the emergent configuration of the structures of knowledge production in the social sciences before moving onto a systematic identification of the constitutive aspects, pivotal vectors, and historical contexts of Soqotra’s transitioning polity. The second volume, A Post-Exotic Anthropology of Soqotra, Volume II: Cultural and Environmental Annexation of an Indigenous Community, explores how cultural modernization in the light of environmental annexation transforms communal possibilities, development models, environmental values, conservation priorities, cultural practices, economic aspirations, language preferences, livelihood choices, and other key social norms. The two volumes lay the social scientific foundations for the study of Soqotrans as an island-based indigenous community.

Keywords

Socotra Republic of Yemen Indian Ocean Red Sea UNESCO World Heritage Site total community political incorporation indigenous community conservation development mesography

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Kuala LumpurMalaysia

About the authors

Serge D. Elie holds a D.Phil. in Social Anthropology from the University of Sussex, UK. He is a former policy research consultant and former development professional at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). He is currently an independent scholar engaged in the practice of a post-exotic anthropology that relies on mesography as an alternative method to ethnography. His interests include state-community relations, development and environment articulation, communities in transition, state and polity formation processes, pastoralism, research method development and theory formation practices. 


Bibliographic information

Reviews

“Dr. Serge D. Elie’s remarkable tour de force is both a rich multi-layered ‘mesographic’ narrative about Soqotran and Yemeni communal polities in constant transition and a stunning rebuttal to Eurocentric conventions of knowledge production. By advocating a new ‘ethic of reciprocity,’ A Post-Exotic Anthropology of Soqotra offers a rich ‘portrait’ of the necessarily co-dependent, decades-long relationship between scholar and indigenous collaborators. By advocating moving beyond the ‘West-Rest Antinomy’ so prevalent in the discipline, Dr. Elie promises readers a vital curative to generations of anthropology of Yemen.”

—Isa Blumi, Associate Professor, Department of Asian, Middle Eastern, and Turkish Studies, Stockholm University, Sweden, and author of Destroying Yemen: What Chaos in Arabia Tells Us about the World (2018)