Anthropology beyond Culture

Overview

Culture is a vexed concept within anthropology. From their earliest studies, anthropologists have often noted the emotional attachment of people to their customs, even in cases where this loyalty can make for problems. Do anthropologists now suffer the same kind of disability with respect to their continuing emotional attachment to the concept of culture?

This book considers the state of the culture concept in anthropology and finds fault with a ‘love it or leave it’ attitude. ...

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Overview

Culture is a vexed concept within anthropology. From their earliest studies, anthropologists have often noted the emotional attachment of people to their customs, even in cases where this loyalty can make for problems. Do anthropologists now suffer the same kind of disability with respect to their continuing emotional attachment to the concept of culture?

This book considers the state of the culture concept in anthropology and finds fault with a ‘love it or leave it’ attitude. Rather than pledging undying allegiance or summarily dismissing it, the volume argues that anthropology can continue with or without a concept of culture, depending on the research questions being asked, and, furthermore, that when culture is retained, no single definition of it is practical or necessary.

Offering sensible solutions to a topic of hot debate, this book will be essential reading for anyone seeking to learn what a concept of culture can offer anthropology, and what anthropology can offer the concept of culture.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Edited by Richard G. Fox, President, Wenner-Gren Foundation, New York and Barbara J. King, Professor for Teaching Excellence, College of William and Mary.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
List of Figures
Participants at the 2000 Wenner-Gren Symposium
Foreword
Introduction: Beyond Culture Worry 1
1 Toward a Richer Description and Analysis of Cultural Phenomena 23
2 Adieu, Culture: A New Duty Arises 37
3 Culture and Anthropology in Ethnographic Modernity 61
4 On Patterned Interactions and Culture in Great Apes 83
5 Anthropology as the Whole Science of What It Is to Be Human 105
6 The Broader Implications of Borderline Areas of Language Research 125
7 Archaeology and Culture: Sites of Power and Process 147
8 Language as a Model for Culture: Lessons from the Cognitive Sciences 169
9 Cultural Variation in Time and Space: The Case for a Populational Theory of Culture 193
10 The Politics of Culture in Post-Apartheid South Africa 209
11 "Culture" as Stereotype: Public Uses in Ecuador 235
12 All Kulturvolker Now? Social Anthropological Reflections on the German-American Tradition 259
References 277
Index 307
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