By Sy Montgomery
From the writer of The Soul of an Octopus and bestselling memoir The strong stable Pig, a publication that earned Sy Montgomery her prestige as some of the most celebrated flora and fauna writers of our time, Spell of the Tiger brings readers to the Sundarbans, an enormous tangle of mangrove swamp and tidal delta that lies among India and Bangladesh. it's the purely spot on the earth the place tigers typically devour people—swimming silently at the back of small boats at evening to tug away fishermen, snatching honey creditors and woodcutters from the wooded area. yet, in contrast to in different elements of Asia the place tigers are quickly being hunted to extinction, tigers within the Sundarbans are respected. With the ability of a naturalist and the spirit of a mystic, Montgomery finds the fragile stability of Sundarbans existence, explores the combo of worship and worry that gives tigers specified safety there, and unlocks a few impressive solutions approximately why humans liable to turning into prey may perhaps think of their predator a god.
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It would also seem to imply that the nineteenth-century usage of the term Kultur was so puzzlingly broad as to encompass conceptual polarities. “Civilization,” explained Wilhelm von Humboldt, Kroeber and Kluckhohn’s most important exemplar of this alternative tradition, “is the humanization of peoples in their outward institutions and customs, and the inner attitudes pertaining thereto. ”28 Yet only a certain lexical literalism could have led Kroeber and Kluckhohn to ignore the fact that, despite this apparent downgrading of Kultur in a deﬁnitional passage ripped from its context, Humboldt was indeed still working from within a more familiar form of the culture/ civilization dichotomy.
This transformation of the subjectivistic standpoint from the individual to the collective level may not be admissible in the strictly philosophical terms of Kant’s argument, but this should not blind us to the broader structural logic. pa r t t wo: t owa r d a t h e ory of concept for m ation In Defense of Raymond Williams None of this is to say that these diJerent forms of cultural discourse—anthropological and humanistic—are simply the same. After all, the speciﬁc modalities in which subjective autonomy has been conceived—as a characteristic of the individual or the social, the community or the state—must surely be signiﬁcant when we turn our attention to particular historical contexts.
46 While Herder embraced the diversity of peoples, this pluralism seems to have been inextricably bound to his providentialist attachment to a broadly Kantian understanding of culture. ”48 Such moments underline once again the continuity between—indeed, the near coevalness of—humanistic usages and usages that even Kroeber and Kluckhohn were able to recognize as protoanthropological. Whether used in the singular as a horizontal conceptual distinction within social process (for example, culture rather than economics), or as a vertical distinction between diJerent social groups (for example, Nuer culture), anthropological culture has always taken plurality and diversity as its deﬁning object.