Anthropological Theory : An Introductory History

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  • Edition: 3rd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2003-07-11
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages
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A comprehensive and accessible survey of the history of theory in anthropology, this anthology of classic and contemporary readings contains in-depth commentary in introductions and notes to help guide students through excerpts of seminal anthropological works. The commentary provides the background information needed to understand each article, its central concepts, and its relationship to the social and historical context in which it was written.

Table of Contents

*Indicates an article new to this edition




Part One: Historical Foundations of Anthropological Theory

19th Century Evolutionism

*1. Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, "On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties; and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection." (1858)

2. Herbert Spencer, "The Social Organism" (1860)

3. Sir Edward Burnett Tylor, "The Science of Culture" (1871)

4. Lewis Henry Morgan, "Ethnical Periods" (1877)

5. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, "Feuerbach. Opposition of the Materialist and Idealist Outlook" (1845-1846)

The Foundations of Sociological Thought

6. "Émile Durkheim, "What is a Social Fact?" (1895)

7. "Émile Durkheim, The Cosmological System of Totemism and the Idea of Class" (1912)

8. "Marcel Mauss, Extracts from The Gift" (1924)

9. "Max Weber, Class, Status, Party" (1922)

Part Two: Culture Theory in the Early Twentieth Century

Historical Particularism

10. Franz Boas, "The Methods of Ethnology" (1920)

*11. Alfred Louis Kroeber, "Eighteen Professions" (1915)

12. Paul Radin, "Right and Wrong" (1927)


13. Bronislaw Malinowski, "The Essentials of the Kula" (1922)

14. A. R. Radcliffe-Brown, "The Mother's Brother in South Africa" (1924)

15. E. E. Evans-Pritchard, "The Nuer of the Southern Sudan" (1940)

*16. Max Gluckman, "The Licence in Ritual" (1956)

Culture and Personality

17. Ruth Benedict, "Psychological Types in the Cultures of the Southwest" (1930)

18. Margaret Mead, "Introduction to Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies" (1935)

Part Three: Theory at Mid-Century

Cultural Ecology and Neo-Evolutionary Thought

19. Julian Steward, "The Patrilineal Band" (1955)

20. Leslie White, "Energy and the Evolution of Culture" (1943)

21. George P. Murdock, "Family Stability in Non-European Cultures" (1950)

Materialism: Evolutionary, Functionalist, Ecological, and Marxist

22. Morton Fried, "On the Evolution of Social Stratification and the State" (1960)

23. Marvin Harris, "The Cultural Ecology of India's Sacred Cattle" (1966)

24. Roy A. Rappaport, "Ritual Regulation of Environmental Relations Among a New Guinea People" (1967)

25. Philippe Bourgois, "From Jibaro to Crack Dealer: Confronting the Restructuring of Capitalism in El Barrio" (1995)


26. Claude Lévi-Strauss, "Structural Analysis in Linguistics and in Anthropology" (1963)

*27. Claude Lévi-Strauss, "Four Winnebago Myths" (1960)

28. Sherry Ortner, "Is Female to Male as Nature is to Culture?" (1974)

Ethnoscience and Cognitive Anthropology

29. Harold C. Conklin, "Hanunóo Color Catagories" (1955)

30. Stephen A. Tyler, "Introduction to Cognitive Anthropology" (1969)

*31. Claudia Strauss. "What makes Tony run: Schemas as motives reconsidered" (1992)

Part Four: Recent Trends in Anthropological Theory

Sociobiology, Evolutionary Psychology, and Behavioral Ecology

32. Edward O. Wilson, "The Morality of the Gene" (1975)

33. Jerome Barkow, "The Elastic Between Genes and Culture" (1989)

*34. Rebecca Bliege Bird, Eric Alden Smith, and Douglas W. Bird, "The hunting handicap: costly signaling in human foraging strategies" (2001)

Anthropology and Gender: The Feminist Critique

35. Sally Slocum, "Woman the Gatherer: Male Bias in Anthropology" (1975)

36. Eleanor Leacock, "Interpreting the Origins of Gender Inequality: Conceptual and Historical Problems" (1983)

37. Ann L. Stoler, "Making Empire Respectable: the Politics of Race and Sexual Morality in 20th-Century Colonial Cultures" (1989)

Symbolic/Interpretive Anthropology

38. Mary Douglas, "External Boundaries" (1966)

39. Victor Turner, "Symbols in Ndembu Ritual" (1967)

40. Clifford Geertz, "Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight" (1973)

Post Modernism and Its Critics

41. Renato Rosaldo, "Grief and a Headhunter's Rage" (1989)

42. Vincent Crapanzano, "Hermes' Dilemma: The Masking of Subversion in Ethnographic Description" (1986)

43. Roy D'Andrade, "Moral Models in Anthropology" (1995)




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