Anthropological Theory : An Introductory History

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1999-07-23
  • Publisher: MCG (Manual)
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A comprehensive and accessible survey of the history of theory in anthropology, this anthology of classic 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 I. Historical Foundations of Anthropological Theory

Nineteenth-Century Evolutionism

1. Herbert Spencer, “The Social Organism”

2. Sir Edward Burnett Tylor, “The Science of Culture”

3. Lewis Henry Morgan, “Ethnical Periods”

4. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, “Feuerbach. Opposition of the Materialist and Idealist Outlook”

5. Sigmund Freud, "The Return of Totemism in Childhood”

The Foundations of Sociological Thought

6. Émile Durkheim, “What Is a Social Fact?”

7. Émile Durkheim, “The Cosmological System of Totemism and the Idea of Class”

8. Marcel Mauss, excerpts from The Gift

9. Max Weber, “Class, Status, Party”

Part II. Culture Theory in the Early Twentieth Century

Historical Particularism

10. Franz Boas, “The Methods of Ethnology”

11. A. L. Kroeber, “On the Principle of Order in Civilization as Exemplified by Changes of Fashion”

12. Paul Radin, “Right and Wrong”


13. Bronislaw Malinowski, “The Essentials of the Kula”

14. A. R. Radcliffe-Brown, “The Mother’s Brother in South Africa”

15. E. E. Evans-Pritchard, “The Nuer of the Southern Sudan”

Culture and Personality

16. Ruth Fulton Benedict, “Psychological Types in the Cultures of the Southwest”

17. Margaret Mead, Introduction to Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies

Part III. Theory at Mid-Century

Cultural Ecology and Neo-Evolutionary Thought

18. Julian Steward, “The Patrilineal Band”

19. Leslie White, “Energy and the Evolution of Culture”

20. George Peter Murdock, “Family Stability in Non- European Cultures”

Neo-Materialism: Evolutionary, Functionalist, Ecological, and Marxist

21. Morton H. Fried, “On the Evolution of Social Stratification and the State”

22. Marvin Harris, “The Cultural Ecology of India’s Sacred Cattle”

23. Roy A. Rappaport, “Ritual Regulation of Environmental Relations Among a New Guinea People”

* 24. Philippe Bourgois, “From Jíbaro to Crack Dealer: Confronting the Restructuring of Capitalism in El Barrio”


25. Claude Lévi-Strauss, “Structural Analysis in Linguistics and in Anthropology”

26. Edmund Leach, “Genesis as Myth”

27. Sherry B. Ortner, “Is Female to Male as Nature Is to Culture?”

Ethnoscience and Cognitive Anthropology

28. Harold C. Conklin, “Hanunóo Color Categories”

29. Stephen A. Tyler, Introduction to Cognitive Anthropology

Part IV. Recent Trends in Anthropological Theory

Sociobiology, Evolutionary Psychology, and Behavioral Ecology

30. Edward O. Wilson, “The Morality of the Gene”

31. Jerome H. Barkow, “The Elastic Between Genes and Culture”

Anthropology and Gender: The Feminist Critique

32. Sally Slocum, “Woman the Gatherer: Male Bias in Anthropology”

* 33. Eleanor Leacock, “Interpreting the Origins of Gender Inequality: Conceptual and Historical Problems”

* 34. Ann L. Stoler, “Making Empire Respectable: The Politics of Race and Sexual Morality in Twentieth- Century Colonial Cultures”

Symbolic and Interpretive Anthropology

35. Mary Douglas, “External Boundaries”

36. Victor Turner, “Symbols in Ndembu Ritual”

37. Clifford Geertz, “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight”

Postmodernism and Its Critics

38. Renato Rosaldo, “Grief and a Headhunter’s Rage”

39. Vincent Crapanzano, “Hermes’ Dilemma: The Masking of Subversion in Ethnographic Description”

* 40. Roy D’Andrade, “Moral Models in Anthropology”




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