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Energopower and Biopower
Introduction by Dominic Boyer
Volume 87, #2
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“There is Something”: Charlie Galibert’s Corsica
Matei Candea, University of Cambridge
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Corsica writes itself alone, alone it reads itself. Where am I on this Moebius strip, where I can guess the time that trembles under the transparent skin of the island, and where I can see, on this same skin, the prosaic and magical theater of a thousand emotional tattoos, other forms and forces of existence, a scene upon a scene, upon which play the flaming shadows of the villagers as, sunlike, they stand upright and yet incline towards the mystery? Qualcosa c’hè [there is something]. —Charlie Galibert (2004b:145)
French anthropologist Didier Fassin has recently complained that the “predominant epistemological position” of his discipline in France remains oriented towards remoteness and structure, leaving “little space for the ethnography of nearby, heterogeneous, changing societies” (2006:2). Charlie Galibert’s evocative studies of the Corsican village of Sarrola-Carcopino (see especially 2004a, 2004b, 2008) produce a welcome disturbance to this intellectual landscape. Galibert’s work engages with Corsica, France’s most prominent “internal other,” not as a structural invariant, but as a complex, heterogeneous, and shifting historical entity. While his principal focus is on one village, Galibert’s work radically reshuffles the venerable tradition of community studies, crafting a complex and multi-vocal account which doubles up as a powerful anthropological meditation on identity, difference, and place.