Carlo Severi: The Chimera Principle: An Anthropology of Memory and Imagination (2007/2015)

24 August 2015, dusan

“Anthropologist Carlo Severi’s The Chimera Principle breaks new theoretical ground for the study of ritual, iconographic technologies, and oral traditions among non-literate peoples. Setting himself against a tradition that has long seen the memory of people “without writing”—which relies on such ephemeral records as ornaments, body painting, and masks—as fundamentally disordered or doomed to failure, he argues strenuously that ritual actions in these societies pragmatically produce religious meaning and that they demonstrate what he calls a “chimeric” imagination.

Deploying philosophical and ethnographic theory, Severi unfolds new approaches to research in the anthropology of ritual and memory, ultimately building a new theory of imagination and an original anthropology of thought.”

First published as Le Principe de la chimère: Une anthropologie de la mémoire, Éditions Rue d’Ulm, 2007.

Translated by Janet Lloyd
Foreword by David Graeber
Publisher HAU Books, Chicago, 2015
Open access
ISBN 0990505057, 9780990505051
xxxiv+362 pages

Reviews: Stéphanie Leclerc-Caffarel (Gradhiva, 2010, FR), César Carrillo Trueba (Cuicuilco, 2008, ES), André Demarchi (Mana, 2009, BR-PT).