A History of Anthropology by Prof. Thomas Hylland Eriksen PDF

By Prof. Thomas Hylland Eriksen

ISBN-10: 0745313906

ISBN-13: 9780745313900

This can be the 1st paintings to hide the complete historical past of social and cultural anthropology in one quantity. The authors supply a precis of the self-discipline within the 19th century, from the cultural theories of Herder, Morgna, and Tylor to the customarily missed contributions of the German students of the interval. The paintings of early-twentieth century anthropologists reminiscent of Boas and Malinowski within the US and Britain, and the sociology of Durkheim and Mauss in France, is tested. The ambiguous dating among anthropology and nationwide cultures--many of the discipline's founders have been migrants or Jews--also gets attention.

The important concentration of the ebook is on subject matters attribute of submit First-World-War anthropology, from structural functionalism , through structuralism, to hermeneutics, cultural ecology, and discourse research. every one significant anthropologist is supplied with a tablet biography, and key controversies arecovered, comparable to the debates on alliance and descent types of kinship, the puzzle of totmism, the issues of neo-Marxism and cultural ecology and the present battles over representations of the ''Other'' and deconstruction. This quantity presents a well timed, concise, and finished heritage of an immense highbrow self-discipline, in an attractive and thought-provoking narrative that may attract scholars of the self-discipline world wide.

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In this historical setting, evolutionist theories might seem to be stating an obvious fact of nature. The Victorians saw their conquest of the world as tangible evidence that their culture was more evolved than all others. At the turn of the twentieth century, this optimism had begun to falter, after which it was shattered by the atrocities of the First World War. Sigmund Freud’s theory of dreams and the subconscious, published in 1900, and Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity (1905), may be seen as symbolic points of entry into a new, and more ambivalent epoch of modernity.

Scholars like Friedrich Rätzel (1844–1904), Fritz Graebner (1877–1936), Leo Frobenius (1873–1938) and Wilhelm Schmidt (1869–1954) followed the lead of Herder (and Bastian), emphasising the uniqueness of each people’s cultural heritage. They argued that cultural evolution was not unilineal, and that there was no simple determinist link between, say, technological complexity and complexity in other areas. A people with a simple technology might perfectly well have a highly sophisticated religious system.

Nevertheless, mapping and understanding it was a humbling experience. The closer one looked at these strangely formal systems, the more complex they seemed. True, to the first practitioners of kinship studies, mostly lawyers by profession, the task seemed fairly simple. They looked for a ‘legal system’ that would regulate behaviour in primitive societies, and kinship was the obvious candidate – an empirical system of formalised, verbalised norms. At the end of the century, it was widely held that kinship was a kind of anthropologist’s Rosetta Stone, that allowed primitive customs to be understood and translated into rational terms.

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A History of Anthropology by Prof. Thomas Hylland Eriksen


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