Why Humans Have Cultures: Explaining Anthropology and Social Diversity / Edition 1

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Why Humans Have Cultures examines three basic questions: what unity underlies human cultural diversity? What are the origins of that diversity? How can we understand it? The author argues that it is the ways in which people interact—rather than technological advances—that have been of crucial importance in human history. In this thought-provoking book, Carrithers draws on ancient and contemporary examples to show how this perspective forms a solid foundation for the study of culture, society, and history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A stimulating contribution to the debate on "the nature of human nature"—extremely well-presented."—William Lipe, Washington State University

"...presents a complex problem in an entertaining, but lucid format."—Greg Campbell, University of Montana

"[An] excellent discussion of questions basic to anthropology."—Daniel Amos, Pacific University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780192892119
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 12/28/1992
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 7.60 (w) x 5.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

University of Durham
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Table of Contents

1 The Question 1
One strand 4
A second strand 7
A third strand, and all strands together 9
2 The Great Arc 12
The great arc 13
Sea shells 17
Between 19
Europe and the people without history 23
Metamorphic life 29
The question again 31
3 Beginning to Make History 34
Darwinian demands 36
The basic sketch 41
Social intelligence Mark II 43
Social and technical intelligence 44
The selective advantage of sociality 45
An evolutionary ratchet 46
The invention of history 49
Three tales 50
4 The Anatomy of Sociality 55
Intersubjectivity 55
Mind-reading 58
Politeness 60
Pedagogy and aesthetic standards 63
Creativity and repetition with constant variation 66
Speech and stories 71
Putting it back together 74
5 Reading Minds and Reading Life 76
Research programmes 79
Narrative thought 82
Oedipus Rex 85
Making events 87
Recapitulation 91
6 The Bull and the Saint 92
The philosopher and the story-teller 95
A short, sharp story 97
Ambiguities 100
Siddhasagar again 103
A disagreement 107
Paradigmatic thought again 110
Imagery 114
7 Metamorphosis 117
The Agganna's world 119
The mysterious Agganna temporarily disassembled 122
Reassembling the Agganna 124
Brahmans 0, Monks 1 125
Kings and Brahmans 0, Khattiyas and Monks 2 129
A delectable skin of earth 132
The world in a mirror 139
Holding up the mirror 142
8 The Bugbear, Science 146
Art or science? 150
The bugbear, science 152
Intersubjective pattern recognition 155
Human patterns 159
Narrative patterns 165
Evans-Pritchard vs. Sperber 170
From consensibility to consensus 174
9 An Untidy Box of Sweets 177
Is it bigger than a bread-box? 178
Plaster of Paris 182
The ultra-natural 187
An untidy box of sweets 192
The beginning 197
Notes 200
Bibliography 205
Index 211
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