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Keywords:

  • local/global;
  • World System;
  • globalization;
  • process;
  • scales;
  • anthropologie;
  • local/global;
  • échelles;
  • système-monde;
  • globalisation

This article examines the uses of the local/global dichotomy in anthropology. It is argued that the use of these terms as analytical tools tends to lead to a reification of “global forces” seen as external to the local site where the ethnographic study takes place. To avoid endless debates on whether or not the “global” can be the object of ethnographic scrutiny, anthropologists should treat the local and the global as scalar properties of social systems that are generated in the course of historical processes.