International Encyclopaedia
of the Histories of Anthropology

Althabe, Gérard (1932-2004)

Coordinated by Monique Selim

IRD, France

Gérard Althabe (1932-2004) is a French anthropologist with multiple fieldwork experiences (Cameroon, Congo, Madagascar, Argentina, Romania, France). He joined ORSTOM (Office for Scientific Research in Overseas Territories, now known as IRD, Institute of Research for Development) in 1957 and was elected to the EHESS in 1979, when he founded a research team in urban and industrial anthropology training students and disciples. In Oppression et libération de l’imaginaire. Les communautés villageoises de la côte orientale de Madagascar (1969) and Les fleurs du Congo. Une utopie du lumumbisme (1972), he provides a critical study of colonial power, the process of national independence and relations of domination. Rejecting the division of anthropology into cultural areas, he argues for an anthropology that is committed to understanding contemporary, globalised processes. Very early in his career, he began to reflect on the epistemological device of ethnographic investigation and on the status of the anthropologist as a social and symbolic actor working in interaction in the field.

Keywords: French Ethnology | Anticolonialism | Decolonisation | 20th century | France | Romania | Congo | Cameroon | Madagascar | Argentina | Methodology | Colonial situation | Urban anthropology | Critical anthropology | Epistemology

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