Phone: +47 55 58 92 47
Visiting address: Fosswinckelsgt. 6
Born: Sydney, Australia
Education: B.A. University of Sydney 1963, PhD University of Manchester 1969
Academic Positions: Commonwealth Scholar & Research Affiliate, Rhodes Livingstone Institute (later Institute For African Studies), Zambia 1963-1966; Lecturer, Senior Lecturer , University of Manchester 1966-1973; Foundation Professor, University of Adelaide 1973-1985; Professor, University College London 1985 -1996; Foundation Professor, James Cook University 1996 - 1999, Professor, University of Bergen 1999 to date.
Kapferer has held Fellowships at Center For Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, Palo Alto; Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies, Wassenaar; Institute For Advanced Studies, Hebrew University; and Centre for Cultural Research, Aarhus. He has held posts of Visiting Professor at University of California, Los Angeles; University of Stockholm; University of Copenhagen, and University of Goteborg.
Fieldwork: Zambia (rural Bisa, miners and commercial workers) 1963-1966; Sri Lanka (Buddhist healing rites, nationalism and violence) 1972 and continuing; Australia (Australian Aborigines, White Australian nationalism, state forms) 1974 to date; Globalisation (specific reference to Sri Lanka, Kerala (India), South Africa) 1998 to date.
Current research: Ritual and the structure of healing among Sinhalese Buddhists. A major concern is with the theory of ritual. Comparative research is being conducted among teyyam specialists in northern Kerala. A major current concern is in the dynamics of ancient and modern state forms with particular reference to contemporary global processes. Comparative research is being conducted in India, Sri Lanka, South Africa and in Australia with particular attention to nationalism, violence, shifts in bureuacratic and corporate structures, NGOs etc.
Regional focus: Sri Lanka, India, South Africa, Zambia, Australia
Thematic focus: urbanization, ethncity and violence, comparative state formation, ritual and symbolic action, theoretical issues in anthropology.
2011. Legends of People, Myths of State. Violence, Intolerance and Political Culture in Sri Lanka and Australia. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books. [Edited edition with contributions from also David Rampton, Roshan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Rohan Bastin and Barry Morris.]
1998 . Legends of People, Myths of State. Violence, Intolerance and Political Culture in Sri Lanka and Australia. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press.
1997. The feast of the sorcerer. Practices of Consciousness and Power. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.
1991 . A celebration of demons Exorcism and the Aesthetics of Healing in Sri Lanka. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
1972. Strategy and Transaction in an African Factory. Manchester: Manchester, University Press.
1967. Co-operation, leadership and village structure. A preliminary economic and political study of ten Bisa villages in the northern province of Zambia. Lusaka: University of Zambia.
1966. The Population of a Zambian Municipal Township. Communication I. Lusaka: Institute for Social Research.
2012. [with Angela Hobart] Contesting the state. The dynamics of resistance and control. Oxford: Sean Kingston Publishing.
2010. [with Annelin Eriksen and Kari Telle] Contemporary Religiosities. Emergent Socialities and the Post-Nation-State. New York og Oxford: Berghahn Books.
2009. [with Bjørn Enge Bertelsen] Crisis of the state. War and Social Upheaval. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books.
2005. Oligarchs and Oligopolies. New York og Oxford: Berghahn Books.
2005. The Retreat of the Social: The Rise and Rise of Reductionism. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books.
2005. [with Angela Hobart] Aesthetics in Performance: Formations of Symbolic Construction and Experience. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books.
2004. State, Sovereignty, War: Civil Violence in Emerging Global Realities. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books.
2004. The World Trade Center and Global Crisis: Critical Perspectives. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books.
2002. Beyond Rationalism: Rethinking Magic, Witchcraft and Sorcery. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books.
2002. [with Georges Papigny] Tovil. Exorcismes therapeutiques bouddhistes. Paris: Editions DesIris.
1987. Power, process and transformation. Essays in memory of Max Gluckman. Special issue of Social analysis, vol. 22.
1979. The Power of ritual : transition, transformation and transcendence in ritual practice. Special issue of Social analysis, vol. 1
1976. Transaction and meaning. Directions in the anthropology of exchange and symbolic behavior. Philadelphia: Institute for the Study of Human Issues.
Chapters in books
2012. [with Christopher Taylor] Introduction: Forces in the production of the state, in Bruce Kapferer and Angela Hobart (eds) Contesting the state. The dynamics of resistance and control. Oxford: Sean Kingston Publishing, pp. 1-19.
2012. [with Roshan de Silva Wijeyeratne] Post-war realities in Sri Lanka: From the crime of war to the crime of peace in Sri Lanka?, in Bruce Kapferer and Angela Hobart (eds) Contesting the state. The dynamics of resistance and control. Oxford: Sean Kingston Publishing, pp. 147-160.
2011. Louis Dumont and a holist anthropology, in Ton Otto and Nils Bubandt (eds) Experiments in holism. Theory and practice in contemporary anthropology. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 187-208.
2010. From the crime of war to the crime of peace, in Ana Pararajasingham (ed.) Sri Lanka: 60 Years of 'Independence' and Beyond. Emmenbrucke, Switzerland: Centre for Just Peace and Democracy, pp. 182-191
2009. [with Bjørn Enge Bertelsen] Introduction: The Crisis of Power and Reformations of the State in Globalizing Realities, in Bruce Kapferer and Bjørn Enge Bertelsen (eds) Crisis of the state. War and Social Upheaval. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, pp. 1-26.
2008. Afterword: Cosmologies, in Marianne Lien and Marit Melhus (eds) Holding Worlds Together. New York and Oxford: Berghahn, pp 185-198.
2007. Egalitarianism, in Michael Flood et al (ed.) International encyclopedia of men and masculinities. Oxford: Routledge, pp. 167-168.
2007. Max Gluckman, in Clark, David Scott (ed.) Encyclopedia of Law & Society. American and Global Perspectives. Los Angeles: Sage publications.
2006. Virtuality, in Jens Kreinath, Jan Snoek and Michael Stausberg (eds) Theorizing Rituals, Volume 1: Issues, Topics, Approaches, Concepts. Leiden and Boston: Brill, pp. 671-684.
2006. Dynamics, in Jens Kreinath, Jan Snoek and Michael Stausberg (eds) Theorizing Rituals, Volume 1: Issues, Topics, Approaches, Concepts. Leiden and Boston: Brill, pp. 506-522.
2006. [with Barry Morris] Nationalism and neo-populism in Australia: Hansonism and the politics of the New Right in Australia, in Andre Gingrich and Marcus Banks (eds) Neo-nationalism in Europe and Beyond: Perspectives From Social Anthropology. New York og Oxford: Berghahn Books, pp. 248-270.
2006. Situations, crisis, and the anthropology of the concrete. The contribution of Max Gluckman, in T.M.S. Evens and D. Handelman (eds) The Manchestes school. Practice and ethnographic praxis in anthropology. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, pp. 118-155.
2006. Coda. Recollections and refutations, in T.M.S. Evens and D. Handelman (eds) The Manchestes school. Practice and ethnographic praxis in anthropology. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, pp. 118-155.
2005. Oligarchic Corporations and New State Formations, in Bruce Kapferer (ed.), Oligarchs and Oligopolies. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, pp. 1-23
2005. Mask and Face in Sinhala Exorcism, in D. Shulman (ed.) Masked Ritual and Performance in South India: Dance, Healing and Possession. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, pp. 72-88.
2005. Sorcery and the Beautiful. A Discourse on the Aesthetics of Ritual, in Angela Hobart and Bruce Kapferer (eds), Aesthetics in Performance: Formations of Symbolic Construction and Experience. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, pp. 129-160.
2005. The Social Construction of Reductionist Thought and Practice, in Bruce Kapferer (ed.) The Retreat of the Social: The Rise and Rise of Reductionism. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, pp. 1-18.
2005. Foreword, in Christian Krohn-Hansen and Knut Nustad (eds) State Formation: Anthropological Perspectives. London: Pluto Press, pp. vii-xii.
2004. Ritual Dynamics and Virtual Practice. Against Representation and Meaning, in Don Handelman and Galina Lindquist (eds) Ritual in its own right: Exploring the dynamics of transformation. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, pp. 35-54.
2004. Introduction. Old permutations, new formations? War, state, and global aggression, in Bruce Kapferer (ed.) State, Sovereignty, War: Civil Violence in Emerging Global Realities. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, pp. 1-15.
2004. Ethnic Violence and the Nationalism of Destruction in Sri Lanka, in Dinah Shelton (ed.) Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity. Farmington Hills: Macmillan Reference.
2003. Sorcery, Modernity and the Constitutive Imaginary: Hybridising Continuities, in Bruce Kapferer (ed.) Beyond Rationalism: Rethinking Magic, Witchcraft and Sorcery. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, pp. 105-128.
2003. Sorcery and the Shapes of Globalization Disjunctions and Continuities: The Case of Sri Lanka, in Jonathan Friedman (ed.) Globalization, the State, and Violence. Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press, pp 249-78.
2002. Hatred, Revenge and Sorcery: Reflections on the personalization of violence in contemporary societies, in Tor Aase (ed.) Tournaments of Power: Honor and Revenge in the Contemporary World. Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 143-149.
2002. Outside All Reason: Magic, Sorcery and Epistemology in Anthropology, in Bruce Kapferer (ed.) Beyond Rationalism: Rethinking Magic, Witchcraft and Sorcery. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, pp. 1-30.
2002. Sorcery, Modernity and the Constitutive Imaginary: Hybridizing Continuities, in Bruce Kapferer (ed.), Beyond Rationalism: Rethinking Magic, Witchcraft and Sorcery. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, pp. 105-128.
1996. Remythologizing discourses. State and insurrectionary violence in Sri Lanka, in D. Apter (ed.) Legitimation of violence. London: Routledge, pp. 159-188.
1995. Bureaucratic erasure: identity, resistance and violence : aborigines and a discourse of autonomy in a North Queensland town, in Daniel Miller (ed.) Worlds apart. Modernity through the prism of the local. London: Routledge, pp. 69-90.
1995. From the edge of death. Sorcery and the motion of consciousness, in A. Cohen og N. Rapport (ed.) Questions of consciousness. London: Routledge, pp. 134-152.
1995. The performance of categories. Plays of identity in Africa and Australia, in A. Rogers and S. Vertovec (eds) The urban context. Oxford: Berg Press, pp. 55-80.
1988. Performance and the structuring of meaning and experience, in Victor Turner and Edward M. Bruner (eds) The anthropology of experience. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, pp. 188-206.
1977. First class to Maradana. Secular drama in Sinhalese writing, in Sally Falk Moore and Barbara G. Myerhoff (eds) Secular ritual. Assen: Van Gorcum, pp. 91-123.
1976. Introduction: Transaction Models Reconsidered, in Bruce Kapferer (ed.) Transaction and Meaning. Philadelphia: Institute for the Study of Human Issues, pp. 1-22
1976. Conflict and process in a Zambian mine community, in Myron J. Aronoff (ed.) Freedom and constraint. Amsterdam: Van Gorcum, pp. 55-82.
1973. Social Network and Conjugal Role in Urban Zambia: Towards a Reformulation of the Bott Hypothesis, in Jeremy Boissevain and J. Clyde Mitchell (eds) Network Analysis. Studies in Human Interaction. The Hague: Mouton.
1969. Norms and the Manipulation of Relationships in a Work Context, in J.C. Mitchell (ed.) Social Networks in Urban Situations. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
2012. [with Diane Austin-Broos; Bastin, Rohan; Merlan, Francesca; Morris, Barry; Peterson, Nicolas; Vaarzon-Morel, Petronella] Responses to David Trigger's article 'Anthropology Pure and Profane: The Politics of Applied Research in Aboriginal Australia' (previous issue). Anthropological Forum, 22(1):67-93.2011.
2011. Strathern’s new comparative anthropology. Common Knowledge, 17(1): 104-110.
2010. [with Lotte Meinert] In the event. Towards an anthropology of generic moments. Social Analysis, 54(3): 1-30.
2010. The Aporia of Power: Crisis and the Emergence of the Corporate State. Social Analysis, 54(1): 125-151.
2009. [with Annelin Eriksen and Kari Telle] Religiosities toward a Future. In Pursuit of the New Millennium. Social analysis, 53(1): 1-16.
2008. Beyond Symbolic representation: Victor Turner and Variations on the Themes of Ritual Process and Liminality. Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society, 33 (4): 5-24.
2008. Comment: Interrogating the new-pluralist orthodoxy in American Anthropology A new ethnography of the state? Dialectical Anthropology, 32 (1-2): 93-95.
2007. Anthropology and the dialectic of enlightenment: A discourse on the definition and ideals of a threatened discipline. The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 18 (1): 72-96.
2007. [with E. Hirsch, E. Martin and A. Tsing] 'Anthropologists Are Talking' about anthropology after globalisation. Ethnos, 72(1): 102-126.
2005. New Formations of Power, the Oligarchic-Corporate State, and Anthropological Ideological Discourse. Anthropological Theory, 5(3): 285-299.
2005. In positions to do great Damage. A comment on the Cushman, Denich, Hayden and Wilson debate. Anthropological theory, 5(4): 577-581.
2005. Situations, crisis, and the anthropology of the concrete. The contribution of Max Gluckman. Social analysis, 49(3): 85-133.
2005. Coda. Recollections and refutations. Social analysis, 49(3): 273-283.
2004. Ritual Dynamics and Virtual Practice: Beyond Representation and Meaning. Social Analysis, 48 (2): 33-54.
2004. Democracy, Wild Sovereignties and the New Leviathan. Bulletin of the Royal Institute of Inter-Faith Studies, 6 (2): 23-38.
2003. Injustice, Suffering and the State: Sorcery and renewal in Contemporary Sri Lanka. Bulletin of the Royal Institute of Inter-Faith Studies, 5(2).
2003. The Australian Society of the State. Social analysis, 47(3): 80-107.
2003. Erindring om forgangne tider. Gluckman og Manchester-skolen i social-antropologiens historie. Jordens folk, 38(3): 11-14.
2002. Outside All Reason: Magic, Sorcery and Epistemology in Anthropology. Social Analysis, 46 (3): 1-30.
2002. Sorcery, Modernity and the Constitutive Imaginary: Hybridizing Continuities. Social Analysis, 46 (3): 103-128.
2002. Ethnicity, Nationalism and Culture of the State. The 17th Edvard Westermarck Memorial Lecture. Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society, 27 (2): 2-23.
2002. Foundation and Empire (with apologies to Isaac Asimov): A Consideration of Hardt and Negri's Empire. A Review Article. Social analysis, 46(1): 167-179.
2001. Anthropology. The paradox of the secular. Social Anthropology, 9(3): 341-344.
2001. Comment on "Random Mind: Towards an Appreciation of Openness in Individual, Society and Anthropology" by Nigel Rapport. The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 12(2): 212-214.
2001. Ethnic Nationalism and the Discourses of Violence in Sri Lanka. Communal Plural, 9(1): 33-67.
2001. Globalization, The State and Civil Violence in Sri Lanka. Bulletin of the Royal of Inter-Faith Studies, 3(2): 59-111.
2001. Sorcery and the Shapes of Globalization. Disjunctions and Continuities- the case of Sri Lanka. Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society, 26(1): 4-28.
2001. Star Wars. About anthropology, culture and globalisation. Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society, 26(3): 2-29.
2000. Star Wars: About Anthropology, Culture and Globalization. The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 11(3): 174-198.
2000. Sexuality and the Art of Seduction in Sinhalese Exorcism. Ethnos, 65 (1): 5-32.
2000. The sorcery of Consciousness: A Sinhala Discourse on the Dynamics of Consciousness". Jnl. Of Communication and Cognition, 33(1-2).
1999. [with Edward F. Fischer, Quetzil E. Castaneda, Quetzil E. Castañeda, Johannes Fabian, Jonathan Friedman, Charles Hale, Richard Handler, Michael Kearney] Cultural Logic and Maya Identity: Rethinking Constructivism and Essentialism [and Comments and Reply]. Current Anthropology, 40(4): 473-499.
1990. [with Jonathan Spencer, Richard Handler, R. S. Khare, Dennis B. McGilvray, Gananath Obeyesekere, Daniel A. Segal and Martin Southwold] Writing Within: Anthropology, Nationalism, and Culture in Sri Lanka [and Comments and Reply]. Current Anthropology, 31(3): 283-300.
1989. Nationalist ideology and a comparative anthropology. Ethnos, 195-234.
1988. The anthropologist as hero. Critique of anthropology, 8(2): 77-104.
1988. Gramsci's Body and a Critical Medical Anthropology. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, N.S. 2(4): 426-432.
1980. [with Don Handelman] Symbolic types, mediation and the transformation of ritual context: Sinhalese demons and Tewa clowns. Semiotica, 30(1-2): 41-72.
1979. Mind, Self, and Other in Demonic Illness: The Negation and Reconstruction of Self. American Ethnologist, 6(1): 110-133.
1979. Introduction: Ritual Process and the Transformation of Context. Social Analysis, 1: 3-19.
1979. Entertaining Demons: Comedy, Interaction and Meaning in a Sinhalese Healing Ritual. Social Analysis, 1:108-152.
1978. Structural marginality and the urban social order. Urban Anthropology, 7(3): 287-320.
1977. [with Thomas J. Scheff, Brenda E. F. Beck, Michael P. Carroll, Arlene Kaplan Daniels, Richard Day, Stephen Fuchs, Jeffrey H. Goldstein, Don Handelman, Arlie Russell Hochschild, Ivan Karp, Aaron Lazare, Philippe Mitrani, Kurt O. Schlesinger, John D. Stoeckle, Jan Van Baal, W. E. A. Van Beek, Thomas Rhys Williams] The Distancing of Emotion in Ritual [and Comments and Reply]. Current Anthropology, 18(3): 483-505.
1972. [with Don Handelman] Forms of Joking Activity: A Comparative Approach. American Anthropologist, 74(3): 484-517.
1971. [with G.K. Garbett] Theoretical orientations in the study of labour migration. New Atlantis, 2: 179-197.
1998. Book review. Understanding Witchcraft and Sorcery in Southeast Asia by C. W. Watson and Roy Ellen. American Ethnologist, 25(3): 521-522.
1994. Book review. Buddhism Betrayed? Religion, Politics, and Violence in Sri Lanka by Stanley Jeyaraja Tambiah. American Anthropologist, 96(1): 172-174 .
1994. Book review. Cultural Complexity: Studies in the Social Organization of Meaning by Ulf Hannerz. American Anthropologist, 96(2): 460-462.
1993. Book review. The Theater of the Mahābhārata: Terukkūttu Performances in South India by Richard A. Frasca. American Ethnologist, 20(3): 637-638.
1992. Book review. A Sinhala Village in a Time of Trouble: Politics and Change in Rural Sri Lanka by Jonathan Spencer. American Ethnologist, 19(4): 843-844.
1992. Book review. Fusion of the Worlds: An Ethnography of Possession among the Songhay of Niger by Paul Stoller. American Ethnologist, 19(4): 845-846.
1985. Book review. The Cult of the Goddess Pattini by Gananath Obeyesekere. American Ethnologist, 12(1): 176-179.
1984. Book review. Medusa's Hair: An Essay on Personal Symbols and Religious Experience by Gananath Obeyesekere. American Ethnologist, 11(2): 384-386.
Ongoing major research project
Challenging the state