Think Like an Anthropologist

Think Like an Anthropologist

3.82 (296 ratings by Goodreads)
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'Subtle and self-reflexive. . . an excellent overview of the debates and issues that have shaped this hugely influential social science' - Guardian

How does anthropology help us understand who we are?
What can it tell us about culture, from Melanesia to the City of London?
Why does it matter?

For well over one hundred years, social and cultural anthropologists have traversed the world from urban Zimbabwe to suburban England, Beijing to Barcelona, uncovering surprising facts, patterns, predilections and, sometimes, the inexplicable, in terms of how humans organize their lives and articulate their values. By weaving together theories and examples from around the world, Matthew Engelke brilliantly shows why anthropology matters: not only because it allows us to understand other points of view, but also because in the process, it reveals something about ourselves too.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 111 x 181 x 21mm | 213g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0141983221
  • 9780141983226
  • 11,913

Review quote

Playful and perceptive, Matthew Engelke welcomes readers into the fascinating history and profound insights of anthropology. This elegant synthesis shows how the discipline can change the way we think about the world -- Caitlin Zaloom, author of Out of the Pits A terrific introduction to the field. Beautifully written, winningly told, and provocative, the book captures the basic feature of the discipline: that anthropology is a way of seeing and thinking. Anthropology invites you to see yourself as someone else might see you. In this way, it is the most world-changing of fields -- T. M. Luhrmann, author of When God Talks Back We may not do research in faraway places or even nearby, among our curious neighbors, but we all need to be anthropologists. Thinking like an anthropologist means stopping to consider our common-sense categories in critical, comparative, and historically informed ways. Matthew Engelke's admirably lucid book gives us the tools we need -- James Clifford, author of Returns: Becoming Indigenous in the Twenty-First Century Clearly the work of an author having tremendous fun with material he knows inside out . . . Thinking like an anthropologist is something that we should all do more often -- Simon Underdown * Times Higher Education * An affable introduction to the discipline -- James Ryerson * New York Times Book Review * Informing -- and perhaps occasionally startling readers who aren't themselves anthropologists -- is a profoundly important goal. Engelke achieves his goal with crystal-clear writing, and occasional humor, too -- Barbara J. King * NPR * Think Like an Anthropologist sets forth the anthropological sensibility as a mode of thinking that might encourage us to better appreciate the complexity and diversity of the modern world -- Lamorna Ash * TLS * Engelke's subtle and self-reflexive study presents an excellent overview of the debates and issues that have shaped this hugely influential social science. . . Using an eclectic range of examples, including "bridewealth" in modern China and the role of social values in Downton Abbey, he shows how anthropology reveals both the limits of common sense and the universal lessons that can be drawn from communities everywhere -- PD Smith * Guardian *
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About Matthew Engelke

Matthew Engelke is Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics. A prize-winning author and teacher, he is also past Editor of the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute and has written for the Guardian, The Times, and Public Books.
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Rating details

296 ratings
3.82 out of 5 stars
5 24% (72)
4 42% (124)
3 27% (79)
2 6% (18)
1 1% (3)
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