Rita Astuti

Rita Astuti
The London School of Economics and Political Science | LSE · Department of Anthropology

Laurea, MSc, PhD

About

49
Publications
22,097
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
1,224
Citations

Publications

Publications (49)
Conference Paper
Full-text available
What's archaeology got to do with it? Archaeology contributes to cognitive science in two key areas. First, in understanding human cognitive evolution, archaeology furnishes critical data on the timing and context of developments (Wynn, 2002). This approach assumes minds make tools: increasing complexity in material forms is an effect of, and thus...
Article
Taking the people we study seriously has resurfaced in recent years as a core aim of the ethnographic and anthropological endeavor. In this lecture, I present my way of taking people (i.e., my Vezo friends in a fishing village in Madagascar) seriously. For me, this involves understanding the multiple sources of their knowledge and the different way...
Article
The transition from participant observation to ethnography is full of tensions and challenges. The author argues that anthropologists should strive to keep up the tension and respond to the challenge and she suggests two ways in which this can be done: return visits and the use of experimental techniques.
Article
Full-text available
Comment on Keane, Webb. 2016. Ethical life: Its natural and social histories. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Book
A special issue of Social Anthropology / Anthropologie Sociale, guest-edited by Denis Regnier and Rita Astuti. With contributions by Catherine Allerton, Sieghard Beller, Andrea Bender, Maurice Bloch, Susan Carey, Fabrice Clément, Susan Gelman, Tamara Hale, Pauls Harris, Tim Ingold, Laurence Kaufmann, Webb Keane, Susanne Küchler, Stevn Roberts, Ri...
Article
Full-text available
The paper concerns the role of intentionality in reasoning about wrong doing. Anthropologists have claimed that, in certain non-Western societies, people ignore whether an act of wrong doing is committed intentionally or accidentally. To examine this proposition, we look at the case of Madagascar. We start by analyzing how Malagasy people respond t...
Chapter
A Companion to the Anthropology of Religion presents a collection of original, ethnographically-informed essays that explore the variety of beliefs, practices, and religious experiences in the contemporary world and asks how to think about religion as a subject of anthropological inquiry. •Presents a collection of original, ethnographically-inform...
Article
Anthropology combines two quite different enterprises: the ethnographic study of particular people in particular places and the theorizing about the human species. As such, anthropology is part of cognitive science in that it contributes to the unitary theoretical aim of understanding and explaining the behavior of the animal species Homo sapiens....
Article
At the time of my last period of fieldwork in Madagascar, Brika was seventeen. I had invited him to my house to participate in the study I was conducting about death and the ancestors (cf. Harris, Chapter 2). As with all other participants, I introduced Brika to the task by telling him that I was going to narrate a short story followed by several q...
Article
This is a commentary on Henrich et al. The Weirdest people in the world, BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES (2010) 33, 61–135. In our commentary, we welcome the critical appraisal of the database used by the behavioral sciences, but we suggest that the authors’ differentiation between variable and universal features is ill conceived and that their categ...
Article
Across two studies, a wide age range of participants was interviewed about the nature of death. All participants were living in rural Madagascar in a community where ancestral beliefs and practices are widespread. In Study 1, children (8-17 years) and adults (19-71 years) were asked whether bodily and mental processes continue after death. The deat...
Article
We discuss the practice of property ascription in anthropology. While recognizing that it is an inevitable and often useful way to convey the knowledge that anthropologists have acquired through ethnographic fieldwork, we identify three of the most common ways in which ascription can be misleading. First, when a property is ascribed to a collective...
Article
The morality of conventions: Ancestral taboos in MadagascarThe Vezo of Madagascar have to obey many ancestral taboos which prohibit eating certain foods, uttering certain words, wearing certain clothes, walking to certain places or being intimate with certain persons. For them, the actions thus banned are neither right nor wrong; and a burdensome t...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents the results of an interdisciplinary collaboration between an anthropologist and two cognitive developmental psychologists. It pits the anthropological study of cultural representations against the psychological study of innate representational constraints. More specifically, it pits the ethnographic account of how Vezo adults in...
Article
Full-text available
The present article examines how people’s belief in an afterlife, as well as closely related supernatural beliefs, may open an empirical backdoor to our understanding of the evolution of human social cognition. Recent findings and logic from the cognitive sciences contribute to a novel theory of existential psychology, one that is grounded in the t...
Article
How different are the concepts held by children who grow up in a North American middle class neighborhood and by children who grow up in a rural Malagasy fishing village? By probing Malagasy children's and adults' conceptual representations of human and animal kind, biological inheritance, innate potential and family relations, the studies presente...
Article
The article takes to task the well-established anthropological claim that non-Western peoples are free from the traps of dualistic thinking. Although Vezo informants in Madagascar produce statements that could be used to support such a claim, experimental procedures that target their inferential reasoning reveal that they systematically differentia...
Article
The article takes to task the well-established anthropological claim that non- western peoples are free from the traps of dualistic thinking. Although Vezo informants in Madagascar produce statements that could be used to support such a claim, experimental procedures that target their inferential reasoning reveal that they systematically differenti...
Article
Do people resemble chickens? Thoughts about the animal/human borderline in MadagascarAccording to the Vezo of Madagascar, the essential difference between people and animals has to do with wisdom and the capacity for taboos that comes from wisdom. Despite their moral commitment to clearly distinguishing people from animals, the borderline is permea...
Article
Full-text available
Pour les Vezo de Madagascar, la sagesse – et l’aptitude aux tabous que celle-ci génère – est la qualité essentielle qui sépare les hommes des animaux. Toutefois, malgré l’engagement moral des Vezo à maintenir une frontière nette entre ces deux catégories d’êtres vivants, celle-ci devient perméable dans certains contextes. Ainsi, dans des occasions...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents a model of identity and difference alternative to ethnicity. It describes how the Vezo of western Madagascar construe their identity by transcending descent or descent-based features of the person. To be a Vezo is to have learnt Vezo-ness, and to perform it: identity is an activity rather than a state of being. Difference is con...
Article
This article discusses the Vezo, a group of fishing people who live on the western coast of Madagascar, and their fear that men may become pregnant through a special act of feeding. Through analysis of Vezo kinship, of Vezo ideas about procreation, and of how the fear of male pregnancy is elaborated and eventually overcome through the marriage ritu...
Article
The dissertation studies the Vezo, fishing people who live on the western coast of Madagascar. It examines Vezo identity and Vezo notions of persorthood. These are shown to be construed around two apparently incompatible principles: the flexible principle of learning and the rigid principle of descent. The first part of the dissertation discusses t...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this paper analyze beliefs in afterlife among the Vezo of Madagascar. This analysis purpots to be an empirical investigation by means of a combination of ethnography and the experimental methods of developmental psycology. The conclusion challenges the unqualified idea that Vezo believe in the survival of a person's spirit after deat...

Network

Cited By