Unthinking Eurocentrism: The political writing of Adam Kuper and Tim Ingold

  • Justin Kenrick University of Edinburgh
Keywords: egalitarianism, eurocentrism, indigenous peoples, hunter-gatherers, dualism, science, resistance, myth of the noble savage, Ingold, Kuper


This paper examines the political grounds and consequences of Adam Kuper and Tim Ingold’s writings on egalitarian indigenous peoples. It takes as its focus a simple question: how can those of us in societies defined by hierarchy understand the interaction between such hierarchical systems and those of people living in predominantly egalitarian contexts? This paper traces the historical ancestry of Kuper’s argument that such peoples are mistaken to attempt to reclaim rights through asserting themselves as indigenous peoples, and it examines the way in which Ingold seeks to unthink the Eurocentric assumptions that have dismissed such peoples’ perspectives as being scientifically inaccurate. The paper argues that grounding Ingold’s analysis in an awareness of their political struggles can help to create political space to re-imagine political relations and scientific enquiry based on the practice of equality.