Key Debates in Anthropology

Key Debates in Anthropology

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Description

Every year, leading social anthropologists meet to debate a motion at the heart of current theoretical developments in their subject and this book includes the first six of these debates, spanning the period from 1988 to 1993. Each debate has four principal speakers: one to propose the motion, another to oppose it, and two seconders.
The first debate addresses the disciplinary character of social anthropology: can it be regarded as a science, and if so, is it able to establish general propositions about human culture and social life? The second examines the concept of society, and in the third debate the spotlight is turned on the role of culture in people's perception of their environments. The fourth debate focuses on the place of language in the formation of culture. The fifth takes up the question of how we view the past in relation to the present. Finally, in the sixth debate, the concern is with the cross-cultural applicability of the concept of aesthetics.
With its unique debate format, Key Debates in Anthropology addresses issues that are currently at the top of the theoretical agenda, which register the pulse of contemporary thinking in social anthropology. It will be of value to students who are not only introduced to the different sides of every argument, but are challenged to join in and to develop informed positions of their own.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 138 x 216 x 23.37mm | 431g
  • Routledge
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0415150205
  • 9780415150200
  • 1,587,208

Back cover copy

Every year, leading social anthropologists meet in Manchester to debate a motion at the heart of current theoretical developments in their subject. Key Debates in Anthropology collects together the first six of these debates, spanning the period from 1988 to 1993. For each debate there are four principal speakers: one to propose the motion, another to oppose it, and two seconders. These debates give unprecedented insight into the process of anthropological theory in the making, as the many contributors both engage with each other's positions and respond to wider intellectual currents of the time. The first debate addresses the disciplinary character of social anthropology: can it be regarded as a science, and if so, is it able to establish general propositions about human culture and social life? The second examines the concept of society, in relation to such terms as individual, community, nation and state. In the third debate the spotlight is turned on the concept of culture, and on the role of culture in people's perception of their environments. The fourth debate focuses on the place of language in the formation of culture, highlighting the problematic distinction between verbal and non-verbal communication. The fifth takes up the question of how we view the past in relation to the present, touching on the difference between history and memory. Finally, in the sixth debate, the concern is with the cross-cultural applicability of the concept of aesthetics. Can there be an anthropology of aesthetics, or is the term so wedded to Western standards of evaluation as to make any such endeavour hopelessly ethnocentric?
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Review quote

"Ideas are stimulatingly tossed around, and one comes enriched out of these thought-provoking debates. The book is consequently to be highly recommended."
-"The Journal of Indo-European Studies
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About Tim Ingold

Tim Ingold is the Max Gluckman Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester
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Rating details

21 ratings
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