© 2016

Critical Anthropological Engagements in Human Alterity and Difference

  • Bjørn Enge Bertelsen
  • Synnøve Bendixsen

Part of the Approaches to Social Inequality and Difference book series (ATSIAD)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Vistas

  3. Materialities

  4. Politics

  5. Back Matter
    Pages 295-312

About this book


This book explores how one measures and analyzes human alterity and difference in an interconnected and ever-globalizing world. This book critically assesses the impact of what has often been dubbed ‘the ontological turn’ within anthropology in order to provide some answers to these questions. In doing so, the book explores the turn’s empirical and theoretical limits, accomplishments, and potential. The book distinguishes between three central strands of the ontological turn, namely worldviews, materialities, and politics. It presents empirically rich case studies, which help to elaborate on the potentiality and challenges which the ontological turn’s perspectives and approaches may have to offer.


critical anthropological engagements anthropology alterity cultural studies anthropology of politics

Editors and affiliations

  • Bjørn Enge Bertelsen
    • 1
  • Synnøve Bendixsen
    • 2
  1. 1.University of BergenBergenNorway
  2. 2.University of BergenBergenNorway

About the editors

Bjørn Enge Bertelsen is Associate Professor in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Bergen, Norway. 

Synnøve Bendixsen is Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Bergen, Norway, and Head of International Migration and Ethnic Relations at Uni Research Rokkansenteret, Norway. 

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Critical Anthropological Engagements in Human Alterity and Difference
  • Editors Bjørn Enge Bertelsen
    Synnøve Bendixsen
  • Series Title Approaches to Social Inequality and Difference
  • Series Abbreviated Title Approaches to Social Inequality and Difference
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-40474-5
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-82112-2
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-40475-2
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIV, 312
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Social Anthropology
    Cultural Studies
    Cultural Anthropology
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“‘The ontological turn’ has been celebrated as a Copernican revolution and a full realisation of the critical potentials of anthropology, but it is simultaneously being dismissed as a kind of ahistorical, misguided, self-defeating narcissism. This excellent volume is something of a landmark in that it avoids polarisation in its nuanced discussions of the possible implications of ‘ontology’ for anthropology, encouraging their readers to expand their intellectual horizons rather than patrolling the borders.” (Thomas Hylland Eriksen, University of Oslo, Norway)

“This volume is, as it were, an ‘ontology of the ontological turn’ in a time when we are discussing what, indeed, ontology offers anthropology: is it a methodology, a heuristics, a theory, a philosophy—everything, or actually none of the above? Bertelsen and Bendixsen tackle this issue head on, choosing one specific angle: the classic, foundational concepts of alterity and difference and perform a grounded discussion of some of the main protagonists of the turn.” (Ruy Llera Blanes, Institute of Heritage Sciences, Spain)