A History of Anthropological Theory / Edition 3

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This overview of the history of anthropological theory provides a comprehensive history from antiquity through to the twenty-first century, with a focus on the twentieth century and beyond. Unlike other volumes, it also offers a four-field introduction to theory. As a stand-alone text, or used in conjunction with the companion volume Readings for a History of Anthropological Theory, Erickson and Murphy offer a comprehensive, affordable, and contemporary introduction to anthropological theory.

The third edition has been updated and fully revised throughout to closely parallel the presentation in the companion reader, making it easier to use both books in tandem. New original essays by contemporary theorists bring theories to life, and portraits of important theorists make it a handsome volume. Sources and suggested readings have been updated, and glossary definitions have been updated, streamlined, and standardized.

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What People Are Saying

Terri Castaneda

A History of Anthropological Theory continues to stand well apart from its peers in both its narrative elegance and broad disciplinary sweep. Essays written by Janice Boddy, Lee Baker, and Lila Abu-Lughod are particularly exciting contributions to this edition, as they offer students rich and highly personal insight into the dynamic interplay between anthropological fieldwork, theory, and analysis.

Yolanda Moses

The third edition of an already popular book hits the mark once again in several important ways. First, it continues to promote the time-honoured four-field approach to anthropology. This is critical for students' understanding of the interconnected nature of ideas and the human experience. Second, the glossary and review questions are enhanced and are an added bonus. And finally, new life is breathed into theory with the 'stories' of contemporary anthropologists, who bring their uses of anthropological theory to life for the readers.

Regna Darnell

Erickson and Murphy's uniquely accessible and intelligent text draws students into a 'dialogue with the ancestors.' The coverage is extraordinary (especially when paired with the companion volume of readings) and resituates the history of anthropology as essential to contemporary disciplinary practice.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781551118710
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Higher Education Division
  • Publication date: 2/14/2008
  • Edition description: third edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul A. Erickson is Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at Saint Mary's University in Halifax.

Liam D. Murphy is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at California State University, Sacramento.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations




Part One: The Early History of Anthropological Theory

Anthropology in Antiquity

The Middle Ages

The Renaissance

Voyages of Geographical Discovery

The Scientific Revolution

The Enlightenment

The Rise of Positivism


Classical Cultural Evolutionism

Evolutionism vs. Diffusionism

Archaeology Comes of Age

Charles Darwin and Darwinism

Sigmund Freud

Émile Durkheim

Max Weber

Ferdinand de Saussure

Speaking About Anthropological Theory: Janice Boddy

Part Two: The Early Twentieth Century

American Cultural Anthropology

Franz Boas

Robert Lowie and Alfred Louis Kroeber

Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict

The Development of Psychological Anthropology

French Structural Anthropology

Marcel Mauss

Claude Lévi-Strauss

Edmund Leach and Mary Douglas

The Legacy of French Structural Anthropology

British Social Anthropology

A.R. Radcliffe-Brown

Bronislaw Malinowski

E.E. Evans-Pritchard

Max Gluckman and the "Manchester School"

The Legacy of British Social Anthropology

Speaking About Anthropological Theory: Lee D. Baker

Part Three: The Later Twentieth and Early Twenty-First Centuries

Cognitive Anthropology

Edward Sapir

Ethnoscience and the "New Ethnography"

Cultural Neo-Evolutionism

Leslie White

Julian Steward

Marshall Sahlins and Elman Service

The New Archaeology

Cultural Materialism

Marvin Harris

Biologized Anthropology

Biology of Behaviour

The New Physical Anthropology

Ethology and Behavioural Genetics


Symbolic and Interpretive Anthropology

Victor Turner and Symbolic Anthropology

Clifford Geertz and Interpretive Anthropology

Post-processual Archaeology

The Influence of Symbolic and Interpretive Approaches


Fredrik Barth

Feminism and Anthropology

Political Economy

Marx and the World System

Sins of the Fathers

Ideology, Culture, and Power


Paul Feyerabend

Michel Foucault

Pierre Bourdieu

Anthropology as Text

Medical Anthropology


Public Anthropology

Speaking About Anthropological Theory: Lila Abu-Lughod


Postmodern Predicaments

Agreeing to Disagree

"-Isms" in Schism

History of the Future

Beyond "One Dead Guy a Week"

Review Questions


Sources and Suggested Reading

Illustration Sources


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