Key Debates in Anthropology
Psychology Press, 1996 - Social Science - 302 pages
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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debate Social anthropology is a generalizing science
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Abelam academic activity aesthetics Alfred Gell anthro argue argument art objects beauty become behaviour capacity claim cognitive communication concept of aesthetics concept of society concerned consciousness constituted context contrast course cross-cultural category culturally constructed David Parkin debate dichotomy Dinka discipline discourse distinction environment essence of culture ethnographic everyday example existence experience FEELEY-HARNIK foreign country human worlds idea individual Ingold intellectual interaction issue JOHN PEEL judgement Keith Hart kind knowledge L. P. Hartley language linguistic live Marilyn Strathern meaning memory metaphor modern modernist Morphy motion nature opposition organism ourselves Oxford paradigm particular past Paul Richards perception persons Peter Gow Piaroa political practice present problem production proposition question relations relationships ritual scientific scientists seems sense social anthropology speakers specific talking theoretical theory things thought TIM INGOLD tradition understand verbal WENDY JAMES Western aesthetic words Yolngu Yoruba