Publications in English



513ffbi2iol sx314 bo1 204 203 200Theoretical Anthropology or How to Observe a Human Being, Hodoken-London, Wiley-Iste, 2019.

It may seem obvious that the human being has always been present in anthropology. This book, however, reveals that he has never really been a part of it. Theoretical Anthropology or How to Observe a Human Being establishes the foundations and conditions, both theoretical and methodological, which make it possible to consider the human being as a topic of observation and analysis, for himself as an entity, and not in the perspective of understanding social and cultural phenomena. In debate with both anthropologists and philosophers, this book describes and analyzes the human being as a “volume”. To this end, a specific lexicon is built around the notions of volume, volumography and volumology. These notions are further illustrated and enriched by several drawings.

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Separate humans

Separate Humans. Anthropography, Ontology, Existence, Milan, Mimesis International, 2016.

This book is a theoretical essay that lays foundations on which to build an anthropology directly focusing on human units. In the first chapter, the author attempts to show that the evolutionary specificity of humans constitutes an argument in favour of this perspective. The consciousness of existing in time and nuanced modalities of presence call for a detailed observation of humans. The second chapter is a critique of the abundant use of the notion of relations in social anthropology. This critique is necessary because of the extent to which the various theoretical and methodological uses of relations absorb and lose existences and their details. The third chapter concerns nonhumans, another major theme of contemporary anthropology. Albert Piette sees a certain debasement of the notion of existence and proposes a realist ontology, considering what does and does not exist, from the examples of divinities, animals and collective institutions. It is not a matter of being satisfied with an analysis of ontologies or local metaphysics, but also showing what really is in a situation, and not just from the point of view of people and their discourse. This analysis leads to a classification of beings and to a consideration of the importance of minimality in human existence.



"Towards an Anthropology of the Individual", edited by Jan Patrick Heiss and Albert Piette,
Special Issue in Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, 140, 1, 2015.



Existence in the details

Existence in the Details. Theory and Methodology in Existential Anthropology, Berlin, Duncker & Humblot, 2015

This book is an anthropology book, not a social and cultural anthropology book, but an existential anthropology book. It presents a critique of the theories and methods of the social sciences, which Albert Piette reproaches for side-stepping human beings, their modes of being and more generally the fact of existing. The book also offers an original combination of methods for exploring the details of existence: the particularities of each person in a group, the succession of situations in a day, and the subtlety of moments of presence. It gives rise to new theoretical propositions on what constitutes the specificity of human existence and social life.

What is Existential Anthropology

What is Existential Anthropology ?, New York-Oxford, Berghahn Books, 2015,
edited by Michael Jackson and Albert Piette

What is existential anthropology, and how would you define it? What has been gained by using existential perspectives in your fieldwork and writing? Editors Michael Jackson and Albert Piette each invited anthropologists on both sides of the Atlantic to address these questions and explore how various approaches to the human condition might be brought together on the levels of method and of theory. Both editors also bring their own perspective: while Jackson has drawn on phenomenology, deploying the concepts of intersubjectivity, lifeworld, experience, existential mobility, and event, Piette has drawn on Heidegger’s Dasein-analysis, and developed a phenomenographical method for the observation and description of human beings in their singularity and ever-changing situations.

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- Following and Analyzing a Human Being. On the Continuity and Singularity of an Individual (with M. Kneubühler), in F. Cooren and F. Malbois (eds), Methodological and Ontological Principles of Observation and Analysis. Following and Analyzing Things and Beings in our Everyday World, New York, Routledge, 2019, pp. 13-43.

- Details of Detachment and Human Specificity. Lessons of Nonhuman Primates for the Anthropologist, in T. Breyer and T. Widlok (eds), The Situationality of Human-Animal Relations. Perspectives from Anthropology and Philosophy, Bielefeld, Transcript Publisher, 2018, pp. 69-82.

- Theoretical Principles of Anthropology as a Science of Human Beings, Yearbook of the Centre for Cosmopolitan Studies, 2017, 3 (online).

- The Minimality, Contradictions, and Origin of Indifference, Hau (Debates about ‘Anthropology and the study of contradictions’), 2016, 6 (1), pp. 18-22 (online).

- Hominist Manifesto: Anthropology, Utopia and Ethics (with G. Torterat), Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford, VIII, 2, 2016, pp. 230-250 (online).

- Individuals in Anthropology (with J.P. Heiss), Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, 140, 2015, pp. 5-18. 

- Relations, Individuals and Presence. A Theoretical Essay, Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, 140, 2015, pp. 19-34.

- God and the Anthropologist. The Ontological Turn and Human-Oriented Anthropology, Tsantsa, 20, 2015, pp. 34-44.

- Anthropology and the Existential Turn (with M.D. Jackson), in M.D. Jackson and A. Piette (eds), What is Existential Anthropology?, New York-Oxford, Berghahn Books, 2015, pp. 1-29.

- Existence, Minimality and Believing, in M.D. Jackson and A. Piette (eds), What is Existential Anthropology ?, New York-Oxford, Berghahn Books, 2015, pp. 178-213. 

- Existential Anthropology: what could it be ? An Interpretation of Heidegger, Argument. Biannual Philosophical Journal, Vol. 4,2, 2014, pp. 229-246.

- An Anthropology of Belief and a Theory of Homo Religiosus, Archives de sciences sociales des religions, 167, juillet-septembre 2014, pp. 277-294.

- To Be or Not To be in a Ritual: Essay about the Mitigated Presence, Studies on Theological Sciences of the Polish Academy of Science, 9, 2014, pp. 231-245

- Where Is the Theory in Visual Anthropology?, with P. Hockings, et al., Visual Anthropology, 27, 5, October-December 2014, pp. 436-456.

- The Visual Traces of an Ethnographic Investigation, Or How Do People Present Themselves in a Concrete Situation ?, Visual Anthropology, Vol. 23, 3, 2010, pp. 186-199.

- Epistemology and Practical Applications of Anthropological Photography, Visual Anthropology, vol. 6, 1993, pp. 157-170.

- Play, Reality and Fiction, Qualitative Sociology. Vol. 15 (1), Spring 1992, pp. 37-52.