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Social Anthropology

Anonymous Introductions: Identity and Belonging in Corsica


This article starts from an ethnographic puzzle: why do first encounters between strangers in a village in the north of Corsica often not include the interlocutors’ names? This puzzle is unpacked with the help of recent work on the anthropology of belonging, combined with selected insights from French sociologist Gabriel Tarde. What starts off as an account of relationality and personhood in Corsica becomes a reconfiguration of anthropology’s approach to identity and difference, through the prism of Tarde’s call to replace the problematic of ‘Being’ with an examinations of ways of ‘having’. ‘Anonymous introductions’, which bracket the question of personal identity in order to make connections emerge, are considered as a model for a reconfigured anthropological heuristic. Candea, M. 2010. 'Anonymous Introductions: Identity and Belonging in Corsica'. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 16(1), 119-137.

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