The copy generic

Scott MacLochlainn

- completed -

While a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Max Planck Institute, Scott has completed his first book, “The Copy Generic”. This book explores the ‘generic’ as an overlooked concept in social theory. Everywhere and nowhere, discarded as the copy, the knock-off, the old and overgeneralized, this book argues that the generic is instead remarkably neglected as a cornerstone of the circulation of contemporary forms of knowledge. “The Copy Generic” moves between a number of contexts, such as movie prop-design offices in Los Angeles, early twentieth century U.S. colonial urban planning in Manila, as well as practices of Christian Bible translation, the use of sign language by Jehovah’s Witness missionaries, and the emergence of Christian denominational pluralism on the island of Mindoro. This book is at the intersection of a number of important themes in anthropology, including an emerging anthropology of abstraction and logistics, current theoretical and ethnographic engagements in language and media, as well as a rethinking of how to theorize increasingly globalized religious practices and identities. The book describes how the condensed mutability between specificity and universality that is interred in the idea of the generic, facilitates a rethinking of some inherited lines of division in anthropological theory, as well as engages Southeast Asian ethnography and the anthropology of Christianity in innovative ways.

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