The Anthropology of Numbers

The Anthropology of Numbers

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by Thomas Crump
     
 

Why do the Nuer stipulate forty cattle in brideprice? Why is the number ten so important in North American mythology? What does the anthropologist Clifford Geertz really mean to say when he talks about the correspondence of Balinese time cycles? Numbers play some part, often quite central, in almost all known cultures, yet until now the subject has never been examined… See more details below

Overview

Why do the Nuer stipulate forty cattle in brideprice? Why is the number ten so important in North American mythology? What does the anthropologist Clifford Geertz really mean to say when he talks about the correspondence of Balinese time cycles? Numbers play some part, often quite central, in almost all known cultures, yet until now the subject has never been examined in detail from an anthropological perspective. This book is the first attempt to find out how people in a wide range of diverse cultures and in different historical contexts, use and understand numbers. The opening chapters provide the basis for looking at the way numbers operate in different contexts, by looking at the logical, psychological and linguistic implications. The following eight chapters deal with specific themes: ethnoscience, politics, measurement, time, money, music, games and architecture. The final chapter relates such operations to social, economic and cultural factors.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521438070
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
10/28/1992
Series:
Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology Series, #70
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
212
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.47(d)

Meet the Author

Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Preface; Acknowledgements; 1. The ontology of number; 2. The cognitive foundations of numeracy; 3. Number and language; 4. Cosmology, society and politics; 5. Economy, society and politics; 6. Measurement, comparison and equivalence; 7. Time; 8. Money; 9. Music poetry and dance; 10. Games and chance; 11. Art and architecture; 12. The ecology of number; Notes; References; Index.

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