This piece answers responses by Bruce Kapferer, Annemarie Mol, and Morten Pedersen to the author's article “Binary License,” appearing in the Common Knowledge symposium on “comparative relativism.” She emphasizes that, whatever contributions to theory may be attributed to her (for example, the concept of the “partible person”), her work is mainly descriptive and centered on Melanesia. She makes no objection to discussing generally applicable principles, or to finding unity in diversity—saying only that she is somewhat wary of them and, instead, mainly reports her findings about particular cultures in detail. Her conclusion is that, when theoretical expectations are in tension with observed particulars, though a “bifurcation” may well come to light, “bifurcation is nothing to be ashamed of.”

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.