Life Within Limits Well-Being in a World of Want

ISBN-10: 0822349159
ISBN-13: 9780822349150
Edition: 2011
List price: $24.95 Buy it from $17.19
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Description: The sense that well-being remains elusive, transitory, and unevenly distributed is felt by the rich as well as the poor, and in all societies. To explore this condition of existential dissatisfaction, the anthropologist Michael Jackson traveled to  More...

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Book details

List price: $24.95
Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: Duke University Press
Publication date: 2/16/2011
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 248
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.75" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.792
Language: English

The sense that well-being remains elusive, transitory, and unevenly distributed is felt by the rich as well as the poor, and in all societies. To explore this condition of existential dissatisfaction, the anthropologist Michael Jackson traveled to Sierra Leone, described in a recent UN report as the "least livable" country in the world. There he revisited the village where he did his first ethnographic fieldwork in 196970 and lived in 1979. Jackson writes that Africans have always faced forces from without that imperil lives and livelihoods. Though these forces have assumed different forms at different times-slave raiding, warfare, epidemic illness, colonial domination, state interference, economic exploitation, and corrupt government-they are subject to the same mix of magical and practical reactions that affluent Westerners deploy against terrorist threats, illegal immigration, market collapse, and economic recession. Both the problem of well-being and the question as to what makes life worthwhile are grounded in the mystery of existential discontent-the question as to why human beings, regardless of their external circumstances, are haunted by a sense of insufficiency and loss. While philosophers have often asked the most searching questions regarding the human condition, Jackson suggests that ethnographic method offers one of the most edifying ways of actually exploring those questions.

Imagining Firawa
Fathers and Sons
Forty Days
Scenes from a Marriage
Smoke and Mirrors
Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World
The Reopening of the Gate of Effort
Something's Missing
The Politics of Storytelling
The Road to Kabala
Their Eyes Were Watching God
Albitaiya
The Year of Supernatural Abundance
Strings Attached
The Shape of the Inconstruable Question
Not to Find One's Way in a City
Coda
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index

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