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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
This study, a history of the kind of people who are supposed to have one, challenges the fashionable view that so-called primitives live in a timeless present. The conventional wisdom, that such societies are static, is shown by the author to be an artifact of anthropological method. By piecing together extended oral histories and written history records, the author found that headhunting among the Ilongots of Northern Luzon, Philippines, was not an unchanging ancient custom, but a cultural practice that has shifted dramatically over the course of the past century. Headhunting stopped, resumed, and stopped again; its victims at various periods were fellow Ilongots, Japanese soldiers, and lowland Christian Filipinos; it took place as surprise attack, planned vendetta, or distant raid against strangers. Placing headhunting in its social, cultural, and historical contexts requires a novel sense of how to use biography, recorded history, and narrative in the analysis of small-scale, non-literate local communities. This study combines historical and ethnographic method and documents the inherent orchestration of structure, events, time, and consciousness. The book is illustrated with 34 photographs.
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.

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