(Not) turning in the Widening Gyre: The (im)possibility of the ontological turn in Eastern Europe

  • Marina Simić
Keywords: ontological turn, anthropology, Eastern Europe


This paper aims to discuss the meanings and scope of the ontological turn in contemporary anthropology. It discusses various other approaches usually labelled as “ontological” and explains the specificities of the ontological turn itself: reflexivity, conceptualisation, and experimentation. According to the primary authors of the ontological turn, Martin Holbraad and Morten Pedersen, ontology is not the base on which politics, culture, society builds, but the methodological assumptions that centre anthropological knowledge on ethnography as a concept-generating device. Although the ontological turn offers a radical platform for the study of the political, it has not had many followers in regional anthropology. This paper offers a few possible explanations for such a development.