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Difficult Folk?: A Political History of Social Anthropology

Overview

How should we tell the histories of academic disciplines? All too often, the political and institutional dimensions of knowledge production are lost beneath the intellectual debates. This book redresses the balance. Written in a narrative style and drawing on archival sources and oral histories, it depicts the complex pattern of personal and administrative relationships that shape scholarly worlds.

Focusing on the field of social anthropology in twentieth-century Britain, this ...

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Overview

How should we tell the histories of academic disciplines? All too often, the political and institutional dimensions of knowledge production are lost beneath the intellectual debates. This book redresses the balance. Written in a narrative style and drawing on archival sources and oral histories, it depicts the complex pattern of personal and administrative relationships that shape scholarly worlds.

Focusing on the field of social anthropology in twentieth-century Britain, this book describes individual, departmental and institutional rivalries over funding and influence. It examines the efforts of scholars such as Bronislaw Malinowski, Edward Evans-Pritchard and Max Gluckman to further their own visions for social anthropology. Did the future lie with the humanities or the social sciences, with addressing social problems or developing scholarly autonomy? This new history situates the discipline's rise within the post-war expansion of British universities and the challenges created by the end of Empire.

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of Anthropological Research
...fills a sizeable gap in the history of anthropology's coverage of the development of 20th-century British schools of social anthropology...His care to documentary detail and narrative clarity has created a readable and interesting political history of British social anthropology.
Choice
Unlike previous historical accounts...[Mills]gives greater attention to structural factors than to intellectual emphases or individual personalities in his analysis of the emergence of different academic cultures in anthropology programs [in the UK and the US]. An illuminating account.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781845454654
  • Publisher: Berghahn Books, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/15/2010
  • Series: MHA Series
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

David Mills is University Lecturer in Pedagogy and the Social Sciences at the University of Oxford. He previously held anthropology lectureships at Oxford, Manchester and Birmingham. His publications include Anthropology and Time (co-edited with Wendy James), Teaching Rites and Wrongs (co-edited with Mark Harris), and African Anthropologies: History, Practice and Critique (co-edited with Mwenda Ntarangwi and Mustafa Babiker).

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