A History of Anthropology

A History of Anthropology

3.53 (110 ratings by Goodreads)

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This is a thoroughly updated and revised edition of a popular classic of modern anthropology. The authors provide summaries of 'Enlightenment', 'Romantic' and 'Victorian' anthropology, from the cultural theories of Morgan and Taylor to the often neglected contributions of German scholars. The ambiguous relationship between anthropology and national cultures is also considered.

The book provides an unparalleled account of theoretical developments in anthropology from the 1920s to the present, including functionalism, structuralism, hermeneutics, neo-Marxism and discourse analysis. There are brief biographies of major anthropologists and coverage of key debates including totemism, kinship and globalisation.

This essential text on anthropology is highly engaging, authoritative and suitable for students at all levels.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 264 pages
  • 136 x 214 x 24mm | 359.99g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised
  • 2nd Revised edition
  • 0745333524
  • 9780745333526
  • 314,093

Table of contents

Series preface


1. Proto-Anthropology


Herodotus and other Greeks

After Antiquity

The European Conquests and their Impact

Why All This is not Quite Anthropology Yet

The Enlightenment


2. Victorians, Germans and a Frenchman


Evolutionism and Cultural History



Bastian and the German Tradition

Tylor and Other Victorians

The Golden Bough and the Torres Expedition

German Diffusionism

The New Sociology



3. Four Founding Fathers


The Founding Fathers and their Projects

Malinowski and the Trobriand Islanders

Radcliffe-Brown's Natural Science of Society

Boas and Historical Particularism

Mauss and the Total Social Prestation

Anthropology in 1930: Parallels and Divergences

4. Expansion and Institutionalisation


A Marginal Discipline?

Oxford and LSE, Columbia and Chicago

The Dakar-Djibouti Expedition

Culture and Personality

Cultural History


The Chicago School


Functionalism's Last Stand

Some British Outsiders

5. Forms of Change


Neo-evolutionism and Cultural Ecology

Formalism and Substativism

Methodological Individualists at Cambridge

Role Analysis and System Theory

6. The Power of Symbols


From Function to Meaning

Ethnoscience and Symbolic Anthropology

Geertz and Schneider

Levi-Strauss and Structuralism

Early Impact

The State of the Art in 1968

7. Questioning Authority


The Return of Marx

Structural Marxism

The Not-Quite-Marxists

Political Economy and the Capitalist World System

Feminism and the Birth of Reflexive Fieldwork


Practice Theory

The Sociobiology Debate and Samoa

8. The End of Modernism?


The End of Modernism?

The Postcolonial World

A New Departure or a Return to Boas?

Other Positions

9. Global Networks


Towards an International Anthropology?

Trends for the Future

Biology and Culture

Globalisation and the Production of Locality


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Review quote

'The authors describe this book as an ambitious but unpretentious attempt to 'cover all the major traditions in social and cultural anthropology'. They achieve this in nine pithy chapters that follow the development of anthropological ideas from the ancient Greeks to the end of the 1990s. -- The Australian Journal of Anthropology 'A well written and informative book on a subject of great importance for all social anthropologists. A work which offers a sober and balanced account of the historical growth of anthropology'. It certainly deserves to be widely read' -- The European Journal of Developmental Research
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About Finn Sivert Nielsen

Thomas Hylland Eriksen is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo and currently President of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA). He is the author of numerous books, including Ethnicity and Nationalism, A History of Anthropology, Small Places, Large Issues, Tyranny of the Moment, What is Anthropology? and Fredrik Barth, all available from Pluto Press. Finn Sivert Nielsen worked in the anthropology departments at the University of Tromso and the University of Copenhagen.
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Rating details

110 ratings
3.53 out of 5 stars
5 16% (18)
4 36% (40)
3 33% (36)
2 14% (15)
1 1% (1)
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