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Exposing the inadequacies of old conceptions of static cultures and detached observers, the book argues instead for social science to acknowledge and celebrate diversity, narrative, emotion, and subjectivity. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Exposing the inadequacies of old conceptions of static cultures and detached observers, the book argues instead for social science to acknowledge and celebrate diversity, narrative, emotion, and subjectivity.
On culture
One Discipline, Four Ways offers the first book-length introduction to the history of each of the four major traditions in anthropology—British, German, French, and American. The result of lectures given by distinguished anthropologists Fredrik Barth, Andre Gingrich, Robert Parkin, and Sydel Silverman to mark the foundation of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, this volume not only traces the development of each tradition but considers their impact on one another and assesses their future potentials. Moving from E. B. Taylor all the way through the development of modern fieldwork, Barth reveals the repressive tendencies that prevented Britain from developing a variety of anthropological practices until the late 1960s. Gingrich, meanwhile, articulates the development of German anthropology, paying particular attention to the Nazi period, of which surprisingly little analysis has been offered until now. Parkin then assesses the French tradition and, in particular, its separation of theory and ethnographic practice. Finally, Silverman traces the formative influence of Franz Boas, the expansion of the discipline after World War II, and the "fault lines" and promises of contemporary anthropology in the United States.
Remains of Ritual, Steven M. Friedson’s second book on musical experience in African ritual, focuses on the Brekete/Gorovodu religion of the Ewe people. Friedson presents a multifaceted understanding of religious practice through a historical and ethnographic study of one of the dominant ritual sites on the southern coast of Ghana: a medicine shrine whose origins lie in the northern region of the country. Each chapter of this fascinating book considers a different aspect of ritual life, demonstrating throughout that none of them can be conceived of separately from their musicality—in the Brekete world, music functions as ritual and ritual as music. Dance and possession, chanted calls to prayer, animal sacrifice, the sounds and movements of wake keeping, the play of the drums all come under Friedson’s careful scrutiny, as does his own position and experience within this ritual-dominated society.

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