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The concept of freedom has been relatively neglected in Anthropology. I explore why this has been the case and argue that freedom, especially when placed in tandem with care, is crucial for an anthropology of ethics, which is not focused on rule-based morality but rather on the ways in which people work out what constitutes a life worth living and how to lead it. I make this case both by drawing on emic invocations of freedom which often incorporate social critique, and by analysing individual ethical choices via a family of concepts, which includes freedom, regard, care and responsibility. In doing so I liberate ‘freedom’ from its associations with both individual autonomy and radical change, focusing much more on its relational dimensions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCambridge Handbook of the Anthropology of Ethics and Morality. Ed. Laidlaw, James.
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Publication series

NameCambridge Handbooks in Anthropology
PublisherCambridge University Press


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