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Ripensare il paleolitico

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David Graeber, antropologo, militante, anarchico, racconta su The Guardian come il progresso in discipline quali l’archeologia preistorica e l’antropologia sta radicalmente modificando l’immagine che abbiamo dell’alba dell’uomo moderno dopo l’ultima glaciazione.

In particolare, non reggono più le teorie evolutive lineari, poiché quel che è effettivamente successo in quei lontani millenni è molto più complesso e variegato di quel che appare. E gli uomini di allora erano primitivi, non rozzi o stupidi.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many in Europe and North America believed that “primitive” folk were not only incapable of political self-consciousness, they were not even capable of fully conscious thought on the individual level – or at least conscious thought worthy of the name. They argued that anyone classified as a “primitive” or “savage” operated with a “pre-logical mentality”, or lived in a mythological dreamworld. At best, they were mindless conformists, bound in the shackles of tradition; at worst, they were incapable of fully conscious, critical thought of any kind.

Nowadays, no reputable scholar would make such claims: everyone at least pays lip service to the psychic unity of mankind. But in practice, little has changed. Scholars still write as if those living in earlier stages of economic development, and especially those who are classified as “egalitarian”, can be treated as if they were literally all the same, living in some collective group-think: if human differences show up in any form – different “bands” being different from one another – it is only in the same way that bands of great apes might differ. Political self-consciousness among such people is seen as impossible.

Immagine: Wikipedia


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