Social anthropology as social scientific study of societies. It includes “ethnology”, or “Völkerkunde”, as well as the disciplines engaged in the social scientific study of regional or local traditions, such as ethnography, Volkskunde and folklore studies. A large part of its definition thus concerns methodology. The method of ethnography and participant observation during a longer time period is clearly distinct for anthropology. However, drawing from historical resources, or from cognate disciplines is not excluded, something that Sherry Ortner (1996) called 'border-land' anthropology. The borders of the discipline are therefore constantly contested. Its relation with archaeology is interesting.
http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/about/sections/anss/ibsca.cfm outlines BLPES Classification scheme
|A. Anthropology: General studies -
||B. Materials and methods of anthropology
||C. Ecology, Technology, Economy||D. Ethnographic studies of peoples and communities||E. Socio-political structure and relations
|F. Religion, magic, and sorcery
||G. Knowledge, arts and science, folk traditions
||H. Culture, personality, identity
||I. Social change
||J. Applied anthropology
- Theory : Sociological Theory - how to treat urbanisation in primitive societies. Social Anthropology of complex societies - are complex societies similar (i.e. can (generalising) sociological methods be employed rather than (particularistic) anthropological ones). Anthropological Theory - History, Traditions, The relevance of models. Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Social Sciences.
- Interpretive Anthropology, Linguistic Anthropology, Semiotics, Ethnosemantics, Symbolic Analysis, Psychological Anthropology, Cognitive Anthropology - Cognitive Sciences, Neurosciences, Information Sciences, Philosophy of Language, Linguistics, Cultural Studies, Visual Anthropology.
- Political Anthropology - Social hierarchies, Politics and Power, Distribution of power - Political Science. Anthropology of Colonialism - Resistance Studies. Anthropology of Development, The Global, the Local, and the Glocal, Globalisation.
- Economic Anthropology - Production, consumption, distribution, Exchange, Production and Technology, Relation politics and economics, Relation individual and things. - Economics.
- Anthropology of Religion - Religion and Ritual, Witchcraft.
- Legal Anthropology - Jural, legal aspects in Anthropology, jurisprudential problems, tribal law, processes of social control - Law, Sociological Jurisprudence.
|Immanuel Kant||Sociological Beginnings||Lectures on anthropology - distinction Philosophy (rational) and Anthropology (empirical).|
|Adam Smith||Sociological Beginnings|
|Karl Marx||Sociological Beginnings|
|Max Weber||Sociological Beginnings|
|Emile Durkheim||Sociological Beginnings||Durkheimian problematic of social integration ; mechanical and organic solidarity ; social facts.|
|Franz Boas||American Beginnings||foundations for American anthropology - historical particularism (against comparative method and generalisations). - often accused of treating primitive or small-scale societies as neat well-bounded units.|
|Edward Westermark||American Beginnings||Sex år i Marocko|
|Lewis Henry Morgan||American Beginnings||foundation of kinship studies - Iroquois Indians and kinship as a primary sociopolitical structure. Evolutionary sequence (savagery, barbarism, civilisation). - Primitive society was egalitarian and had no concept of private property - basis for Engels (1891) The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State.|
|Ruth Benedict||American Beginnings||thought cultural forms have developed through unique historical processes (thus few universal ones) and not through natural laws (as the evolutionists and Boas thought). - used comparison to separate out universal traits from unique historical ones. In Patterns of Culture she posited a theory of 'integration' to explain the internal coherence of distinct cultures. Cultures differed because they were integrated differently - coming to adopt different ontological values. "“They [individual cultures] are traveling along different roads in pursuit of different ends, and these ends and these means in one society cannot be judged in terms of those of another society, because essentially they are incommensurable.”"|
|Margaret Mead||American Beginnings||about the challenge various kinds of social diversity presented to the anthropologist who would treat large national cultures as units.|
|Alfred Louis Kroeber||American Beginnings||tracking the development of basic culture patterns over societies, centuries, and continents|
|Robert Lowie||American Beginnings|
|Edward Sapir||American Beginnings||on individual variations within apparently unitary cultures. - but still largely accepting the unitary idea of cultures a la Boas.|
|Edward B. Tylor||Pre-20th Century Britain|| 1888 paper, “On a Method of Investigating the Development of Institutions; Applied to Laws of Marriage and Descent,” - “the first
cross-cultural study” in anthropology. - concerned to establish anthropology as a natural science, which, for him, meant showing that human civilization had everywhere developed according to the same laws and principles, and following the same stages of growth
|Francis Galton||Pre-20th Century Britain||“Galton’s problem.” Galton thought Tylor’s results needed to be screened to eliminate comparisons between apparently independent customs (“found,” as Tylor said, among apparently separate “peoples”) that were in fact “duplicate copies of the same original.” The larger question, debated for decades, concerned the relative place in human history of “independent invention,” on the one hand, and “diffusion,” on the other. [Relevance for globalisation studies today?]|
Classical 20th century
|Marcel Mauss||stresses a distinction between traditional and modern societies, turning the primitive man into the antithesis of the modern man. What are the characteristics of the two? Why important? Implications for modern study?|
|Bronislaw Malinowski||as opposed to Mauss and Marx, M. is concerned with discovering what the "savage" and the "civilised" share.|
|A. R. Radcliffe-Brown||focus on social structure, Descent theory - Functionalist ? - holds view that the real meaning of a phenomenon can be understood by the anthropologist but perhaps is hidden for the participants themselves. - African Political Systems|
|Louis Dumont||Introduction to two theories of social anthropology -Critique of British (RB) theory of descent groups. Makes distinction between descent groups and marriage alliance. Largely a follower of Levi-Strauss. Asks how much subsystems can be isolated|
|Edward Evans-Pritchard||Political Anthropology, segmentation|
|David Schneider||pivotal role in kinship studies (American Kinship, A Critique of the Study of Kinship)- focus on cultural meanings in kinship rather than on function (of social groups)). Roots in Weberian theory of meaning.|
|Claude Levi-Strauss||analysed social rules in terms of their structural relation to each other, rather than to their specific content. E.g the social rules determining who was legitimately marriageable were fundamental to human culture - Kinship. Elementary structures of Kinship.|
|Edmund Leach||Political Anthropology, Ritual, Myth, Kinship - 1954 - Political Systems of Highland Burma - process-oriented, dynamic. Many subgroups/systems that were in competition without equilibrium. - Focus on as if conceptions (cf. Levi-Strauss mentalistic structuralism and psychological anthropology's cognitive mapping) i.e. differentiation between abstract political structures and a messy reality on the ground. - Influenced by and interpreted Lévi- Strauss - Against orthodox Structural Functionalism ; Rethinking Anthropology|
|Max Gluckman||1956||Custom and Conflict in Africa - equilibrium only through a dialectical process of conflicts in different sets of relation subsumed into other sets of relation.- conflicts unite groups within themselves. - Manchester School (focus on process and conflict).- focus on social interaction, process, thus a break with social system and Durkheim and EEP.|
|Victor Turner||Manchester school||analysis of unfolding "social dramas" - that can expose value systems and organisational principles. - focus on how individuals themselves respond to forces of change (cf. also Leach, and Pierre Bourdieu.)|
|Frederick Barth||transactionalism||explains regularities of social organisation in terms of the strategising behaviour of social agents interacting with one another. (methodological individualist approach, echoing Weber's "social action".) - critique - ethnocenric, and assumes rationality and need structural constraints.|
|F. G. Bailey||distinguishes beween culturally determined rules and pragmatic rules - the latter are the rules of the political game. -looks at how one political structure sometimes gets encapsulated by another.|
|Van Gennep||Rites of Passage book 1960 -|
Marxist, Feminist, Subaltern
- Louis Althusser - For Marx
- Jack Goody - Marxist critique - households and lineages as units of production and property the basis of relations.
- Sylvia Junko Yanagisako - feminist critique
- Eric Wolf - 1982 - Europe and the People Without History. World System theory and dependency theory.
- James Scott - Weapons of the Weak
- Marshall Sahlins 1974 Stoneage economics - hunter-gatherers as the "original affluent society". Gift economies as an economic systems where surplus is created at the point of distribution of gift (not at production) ; 1976 Culture and Practical Reason - materiality of gifts due to 'practical reason'.
- Clifford Geertz - Symbolic Anthropology
- Van Wouden
- J. P. Parry
- K Finkler
- D Giggins
- Ladislav Holy
- R Simpson
- Bruno Latour We have never been modern ; Reassembling the Social (On Action-Network Theory) ;
- Pierre Clastres - Archaeology of Violence ;
- Arjun Appadurai - (1988:37) suggests that "anthropologists have frozen the contribution of specific cultures to our understanding of the human condition" in the concept of the native who typifies a particular social form or set of beliefs. "Natives are not only persons who are from certain places, and belong to those places, but they are also those who are somehow incarcerated, or confined, in those places."
- Janet Carsten
- Ulf Hannerz - Global oecumene, Anthropology's World ,
- Thomas Hylland Eriksen http://folk.uio.no/geirthe/Alpha-index.html
- Alan Macfarlane http://www.alanmacfarlane.com/ See his note taking discussion and gems such as http://www.alanmacfarlane.com/ssrc/part1_3.htm Ernest Gellner seminar (also with Maurice Bloch etc.) ; http://bamdemo.lemurconsulting.com/bamdemo/db/topics/ His anthropology notes into a database ;
- Yael Navaro-Yashin http://www.socanth.cam.ac.uk/staff/furtherinformation/navaroyashinfurtherinfo.html ‘The Architecture of ‘Peace’: Technical-, Material-, and Knowledge-Practices Around Conflict Resolution’: My current (and new) research comparatively studies projects in conflict resolution in Cyprus and elsewhere, focusing on the knowledge practices and organizational cultures which inform this field. I am also interested in the way in which the multi-disciplinary field of ‘conflict resolution’ impacts (and is impacted upon by) international law.
- Henrietta Moore -
- Marilyn Strathern - questions the place of nature in kinship by using discourses on recent technological developments in reproduction
- Michael Taussig - Mimesis and Alterity
- Reading List http://www.isca.ox.ac.uk/prospective-students/degrees/social-anthropology/reading-list/
- Blackwells Companions to Anthropology at http://lib.myilibrary.com/Open.aspx?id=130967&src=1
- Pageflakes http://www.pageflakes.com/ Sign in for Anthropology page ;
- Anthropology Plus Database for journals at FirstSearch.oclc.org ;
- Intute Anthropology http://www.intute.ac.uk/anthropology/ ;
- http://classiques.uqac.ca/ Classical anthropological texts ;
- Cambridge Haddon Library http://haddon.archanth.cam.ac.uk/ ;
- Vienna http://bibliothek.univie.ac.at/fb-kultur_sozialanthropologie/ ; http://www.univie.ac.at/ksa/index.htm
- Indiana Anthropology pages http://www.indiana.edu/~wanthro/Biographies.htm biographies, disciplines, useful.
- Open Anthropology Press http://openanthcoop.net/press/ Publishing online good quality pieces.
- AAA Blog http://blog.aaanet.org/ highlights the work of the American Anthropological Association and is a forum to discuss topics of debate in anthropology.
- Anthropologist About Town http://anthropologistabouttown.blogspot.com/ is maintained by outreach staff of the RAI and it highlights events in the UK which would be of interest to anthropology students.
- Savage Minds http://savageminds.org/ A group blog which acts to discuss and promote the study of anthropology. It is a good place for keeping up to date with recent research.
- Antropologi.info http://www.antropologi.info/ News blogs ; http://www.antropologi.info/blog/anthropology/ ;
- http://openanthcoop.ning.com/ ;
- Culture Matters http://culturematters.wordpress.com/ ;
- Cultural Survival http://www.culturalsurvival.org/ ;
- Neuroanthropology http://neuroanthropology.net/ Neuroanthropology is a collaborative weblog created to encourage exchanges among anthropology, philosophy, social theory, and the brain sciences ;
- Neuroanthropology blog at Plos http://blogs.plos.org/neuroanthropology/
- Anthropology of muslims in Europe http://religionresearch.org/martijn/
- The Immanent Frame http://blogs.ssrc.org/tif/ blog on religion
- Anthropological Index Online http://aio.anthropology.org.uk/aio/ is a free searchable index to journal articles held in the Anthropology Library at the Centre for Anthropology, of the British Museum. It covers all areas of social anthropology from the 1950s to the current day and is particularly good at finding foreign language articles.
- Anthropological Literature http://isites.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=anthrolit indexes articles from over 700 major anthropology journals. It is based on the holdings of Harvard University and covers materials published from the 19th Century to the present day (subscription required).
- Anthropology Review Database http://wings.buffalo.edu/ARD/ A free searchable database of reviews of anthropological books, films and videos, audio recordings, software and multimedia and online resources.
- International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS) http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/IBSS/ contains over two and a half million references to journal articles, books, reviews and selected chapters dating back to 1951 (subscription required).
- ISI Web of Knowledge http://wok.mimas.ac.uk/ offers access to a number of databases including the Social Sciences Citation index. Articles date for the 1950s onwards (subscription required).
- AnthroSource http://www.wiley.com/bw/journal.asp?ref=ANTH-SOUR provides current content from AAA's portfolio of 32 anthropological publications which includes journals, books, monographs, bulletins and newsletters (subscription required).
- http://lucy.ukc.ac.uk/ CSAC Ethnographics Gallery
- Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland (RAI) http://www.therai.org.uk is the major body for the UK. Use their website to locate news about forthcoming conferences and events and to find out where you might study Anthropology.
- American Anthropological Association (AAA) http://www.aaanet.org/ is the professional equivalent for the USA. It has a large number of sub-groups whose websites have examples of specialist fieldwork and research. Its blog is also good for keeping up to date with the latest news. The Society for Humanistic Anthropology (SHA) http://www.aaanet.org/sections/sha/ juried competition for the Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing. The late Victor Turner devoted his career to seeking a language that would reopen anthropology to the human subject, and the prize will be given in recognition of an innovative book that furthers this project. Eligible genres include ethnographic monographs, narratives, historical accounts, biographies, memoirs, dramas, or single-authored collections of essays, short stories or poems.
- World Council of Anthropological Associations (WCAA) http://www.wcaanet.org/ A network of national and international associations that aims to promote worldwide communication and cooperation in anthropology.
- Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth promotes the teaching and research of social anthropology.
- Association for Political and Legal Anthropology (APLA) covers topics such as nationalism, citizenship, the state and colonialism.
- C-SAP Higher Education Academy Subject Network for Sociology, Anthropology, Politics http://www.c-sap.bham.ac.uk/ A specialist site for teachers and lecturers. It aims to improve student learning in these subject areas in the UK. Its website has lots of examples of resources for teaching anthropology.
- http://www.upe.ac.za/paaa/ Regional Representative for East Africa – Babiker Mustafa (Sudan) ;
- http://www.easaonline.org/ ;
- Anthropology Conferences Worldwide http://www.conferencealerts.com/anthropology.htm lists upcoming events in anthropology, cultural studies and related fields.
- All Conferences: Anthropology http://www.allconferences.com/Social_Science/Anthropology/ Another list of global conferences and events focussed on anthropology.
- AAA meetings http://www.aaanet.org/meetings/ provides information about the Annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association, as well as a calendar of other anthropological meetings.
Ethnographic image collections
- LSE Anthropology photographs View over 400 examples taken by academic staff and researchers from the Department of Anthropology at the London School of Economics (LSE).
- Malinowski archive http://www2.lse.ac.uk/library/archive/online_resources/online_resources.aspx contains photos taken by the anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski, during his fieldwork on the Trobriand Islands between 1915 and 1918.
- Fürer-Haimendorf collection http://www2.lse.ac.uk/library/archive/online_resources/online_resources.aspx contains more than 10,000 images relating to the work of a professor of anthropology at SOAS, Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf, who studied tribal cultures in South Asia and the Himalayas from the 1930s to the 1980s.
Ethnographic film collections
- University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Films http://www.archive.org/details/UPMAA_films forms part of the Internet Archive and provides free access to a growing collection of ethnographic films.
- National Film Board of Canada http://www.nfb.ca/explore-by/title/?title_range=All%E3%80%88=en&genre=3&decade=&time_range= has posted over 700 films, trailers, and clips including documentaries relating to Aboriginal life.
- Nordic Anthropological Film Association (NAFA) http://nafa.uib.no/
- Society for Visual Anthropology http://societyforvisualanthropology.org/
Journal des anthropologues http://jda.revues.org/ ; Austrian Studies in Social Anthropology - Open access ; Anthropology Matters http://www.anthropologymatters.com/ ; Norsk Antropologisk Tidskrift http://www.idunn.no/ts/nat ; la Revista de Dialectología y Tradiciones Populares http://rdtp.revistas.csic.es/index.php/rdtp Fundada en 1944, hoy la más antigua de las publicaciones periódicas españolas dedicadas a la antropología social y cultural. ; L'Homme http://lhomme.revues.org/ bonne qualité, fondée en 1961 par Émile Benveniste, Pierre Gourou et Claude Lévi-Strauss ; IPA http://www.ipa3.org/ Online journal political anthropology, talks of liminality and progress ;
Anthropological Theory ; Journal Royal Anthropological Institute ; Anthropology today ; Journal of Anthropology ; Journal of Linguistic Anthropology ; Social Anthropology ; Anthropology and Humanism ; AnthroSouce ; American Anthropologist; Annual Review of Anthropology ; Critique of Anthropology ; Current Anthropology ; Man
- Lévi-Strauss (in The Raw and the Cooked ): "the final aim of anthropology is to contribute to a better knowledge of objectified thought and its mechanisms."
- Leach 1954 : to interpret symbolic statements and actions in terms of social relations.
- Gluckman 1942 and Fortes 1953 : Social Anthropology differs from other social sciences in that it is concerned with customs.
- Weiner 1988 : 'Social anthropology is about relationships'
- Abner Cohen 1974 : ‘Social anthropology is essentially concerned with the dialectical relation between two major variables: symbolic action and power relationships.” (power does not exist in the abstract but always inheres in social relationships.)
Issues Nature vs. culture debate. Biology (in natural science), biology (as perceived and constructed by those who juxtapose it to culture), and culture.
Anthropology tends to be an ideographic or particularistic discipline rather than a nomothetic or generalising one. However, there is a tension between comparative studies and an increasing emphasis on cultural particularism. (Particularly in kinship). Cf. Andrew Strathern and Michael Lambeck (1998: 23) who says that ethnographic fieldwork is always at least implicitly comparative as the ethnographer cannot escape his/her cultural background.
The Discipline in crisis
A fundamental problem is the discarding of the classical texts and theorists as having been wrong in their generalisations.
Wazir Karim argues that academic anthropology has opted for marginality be failing to deal with political tensions, such as the oppressive use of Western knowledge by elites and regimes in the developing world to perpetuate their hold on power.
Henrietta Moore outlines challenges that anthropology faces in a post-colonial world:
- the social and geographical embeddedness of anthropological knowledge and the facile discarding of non-western theory; - need to find a more nuanced and less Western view of modernity
- the transformation of anthropological knowledge due to technological change leading, inter alia, to the increasing mediation of culture and social relations by communication technology;
- the importance and significance of knowledge produced at the social margins;
- the importance of studying what Foucault speaks of as "governmentality", that is, the rationalist ideology which underpins social engineering -- especially because anthropology, as an academic subject, is part of this mentality.
Need to link social production of knowledge with social action (focus on social activism and social movements)