Lecture | "Heterogeneity, Inequality and Cultural Configurations," by Alejandro Grimson

Monday, December 8, 2014
12:30–2 pm

The new visibility of migration and cultural difference changed our view and conceptualization of contemporary heterogeneity. But did homogeneous societies exist? Inequality and heterogeneity are constitutive of all societies. Ethnographic and historical evidence show clearly that humankind never has known homogeneous societies. Age and gender exist in all historical societies, but age and gender relationships are different in each social context.

There are frames where heterogeneity and inequality have different meanings. Within those frames there is a certain historical logic of relation between parts, between categories, between groups and persons. The main ways in which society classifies its parts varies from one urban, provincial, or national context to another. Some examples of comparison between Brazil and Argentina will provided.

The notion of “cultural configurations” refers to these social spaces where there are shared languages of conflict, instituted horizons of the possible (genocide, political violence, kind of social protest), sedimented logic of disputes (negotiation, confrontation, destruction, terrorism), and borders of meanings. In the contemporary world there are borders. Borders do not separate homogeneous cultures, but heterogeneous configurations.

Hemispheric Institute of Performance & Politics
20 Cooper Square, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10003

Dr. Alejandro Grimson is a researcher at Argentina’s Conicet and professor of the Institute of Advanced Social Studies at the National University of San Martín in Argentina. His books, which have received prestigious national and international awards, include La nación en sus límites, Interculturalidad y comunicación, y compilaciones como la cultura y las crisis latinoamericanas (2003); Relatos de la diferencia y la igualdad (2005); Los límites de la cultura: Crítica de las teorías (2011); and Mitomanías argentinas (2012).

This lecture is co-organized by the Department of Anthropology and the College of Latin and Caribbean Studies at New York University. The event is free and open to the public. A photo ID is required to enter NYU buildings. 20 Cooper Square is a wheelchair accessible venue.