An Anthropology beyond Culture and Society: An Anthropology beyond Culture and Society: Interview with Christina Toren

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The interviewed person in this issue is the anthropologist Christina Toren. Christina is Australian by birth, she graduated in Psychology from University College London and gained her Ph.D in Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics. Currently, she holds a professorial chair at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.
Her interest in human beings’ complexity and variance took her to study the processes whereby we become who we are. Through a constant interface between Psychology and Anthropology and extensive use of data from her fieldwork in Fiji, Christina has enormously contributed to studies on kinship, hierarchy, rituals, religious conversion and epistemology. She has also been amongst the researchers responsible for legitimating the inclusion of children as informants, alongside adults, and an ethnographic focus on children’s ideas, which has begun to be considered as a proper anthropological object of study.
Toren also has formulated important critiques of the use of concepts like culture and society in Anthropology. According to her, when we argue in terms of culture, we are necessarily invoking the nature-culture dualism and, taking this opposition as given, we are unable to make our informants’ categories work analytically in our ethnographies. Among other contemporary anthropologists working in British universities such as Marilyn Strathern and Tim Ingold, Toren makes her own critical effort to dismantle the objectification of society as a taken for granted reality. These are some of the issues discussed in this interview.
Christina Toren is also member of the Editorial Council of Revista Habitus, and had given us this interview by e-mail on May 2013. For a greater view of her work and researches, visit:
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-189
Number of pages12
JournalRevista Habitus
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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