Social and Cultural Anthropology: A Very Short Introduction

Social and Cultural Anthropology: A Very Short Introduction

Language: English

Pages: 168

ISBN: 0192853465

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


"If you want to know what anthropology is, look at what anthropologists do," write the authors of Social and Cultural Anthropology: A Very Short Introduction. This engaging overview of the field combines an accessible account of some of the discipline's guiding principles and methodology with abundant examples and illustrations of anthropologists at work.

Peter Just and John Monaghan begin by discussing anthropology's most important contributions to modern thought: its investigation of culture as a distinctively human characteristic, its doctrine of cultural relativism, and its methodology of fieldwork and ethnography. Drawing on examples from their own fieldwork in Indonesia and Mesoamerica, they examine specific ways in which social and cultural anthropology have advanced our understanding of human society and culture. Including an assessment of anthropology's present position, and a look forward to its likely future, Social and Cultural Anthropology will make fascinating reading for anyone curious about this social science.

About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.

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important to remember that while the principles upon whkh such grou ps are formed IlliIY be fairly ciear-cut, in actual practke lineages, dans. and knd reds acquireiHld discharge members in al kinds of ways that may have li tt le to do wi th the offKial ideology of descent or kinship. Adoption. fosterage, ritU

example of what Anthony Gidde ns has called ·dlsembedding mechanisms· that constitute the ·dynamism of modemlty '. By turning Yalue into symbolic tokens produced and managed by expert systems, rr'IOfley ffa5eS the local particularities of '" production and exchange, But before we slip into another one of those traditional/modern dichotomies, keep in mind that this transition Is not as complete as we might assume, 'Modern' currencies, like primitive valuables. are also symbol s, Tile dollar

lightning struck: it was her 'aniffioll ' (kili nwi) which had been hit by the bolt. The Mlxtec, like other MesoomeriC.

to culture. This, il turn has profound coosequences for the ways In which societies are constituted socially, ecooomically. and moraly. When we in the Wes t see oursellies as persons we tend to see oursellies as autonomous indNiduals, each of us master of our own destiny and not part of a widercootinuum of entities that might include a coati. Comirlg out of that kind of conception of oursel-...es - and our selves - is a sense '" of limitless possibility, Children in the United States, for

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