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Rudge, Alice (2024) 'Divorcing the dead, sharing with Others: negotiating alterity at the edges of a Malaysian rainforest.' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. (Forthcoming)

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This article explores how people formulate alterity as a responsive endeavour as they seek to live well in a context of profound marginality at the edges of a Malaysian rainforest. It argues that Batek people often narrate, encounter, and enact alterity – drawing distinctions between themselves and Others – through and in relation to acts of sharing. By exploring a diverse set of instances in which decisions about how and whether to share produces moments of tension, this article investigates the conditions of alterity that underlie sharing's very possibility. This involves asking not only how alterity is produced among Batek people, but also how it is extended outwards, both to those Batek term gɔp (outsiders), and to the dead people who continue to intrude in their lives. Through tracing these everyday moments where alterities are worked out between Batek and gɔp, and the living and the dead, it becomes apparent that as people encounter often‐unpredictable Others, an attitude of what Renato Rosaldo calls ‘social grace’ comes to the fore. Retheorizing alterity in the light of ‘social grace’ demonstrates it to be a responsive, indeterminate process of managing detachment and connection through the immediacy of the diverse encounters and ruptures of everyday life.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Anthropology & Sociology
ISSN: 13590987
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2024 08:33
Funders: Leverhulme Trust

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