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This title in other editions

Other titles in the Oxford Ritual Studies series:

Making Things Better: A Workbook on Ritual, Cultural Values, and Environmental Behavior (Oxford Ritual Studies)


Making Things Better: A Workbook on Ritual, Cultural Values, and Environmental Behavior (Oxford Ritual Studies) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In Making Things Better, A. David Napier demonstrates how anthropological description of non-Western exchange practices and beliefs can be a tonic for contemporary economic systems in which our impersonal relationship to things transforms the animate elements of social life into inanimate sets of commodities. Such a fundamental transformation, Napier suggests, makes us automatons in globally integrated social circuits that generate a cast of a winners and losers engaged in hostile competition for wealth and power. Our impersonal relations to things--and to people as well--are so ingrained in our being, we take them for granted as we sleepwalk through routine life. Like the surrealist artists of the 1920s who, through their art, poetry, films, and photography, fought a valiant battle against mind-numbing conformity, Napier provides exercises and practica designed to shock the reader from their wakeful sleep. These demonstrate powerfully the positively integrative social effects of more socially entangled, non-Western orientations to things and to people. His arguments also have implications for the rights and legal status of indigenous peoples, which are drawn out in the course of the book.

About the Author

A. David Napier is Professor of Medical Anthropology at University College London and founding Director of the University's Centre for Applied Global Citizenship.

Table of Contents

Preface: Thing in Themselves


Preamble to the Workbook: Rights or Rites?

Part 1: Things and People

Exercise #1: Shaping Behavior

Chapter 1: Meaning and Property

Practicum #1: Securing Indigenous Rights

Part II: Things and Places

Exercise #2: Creating Local Value

Chapter 2: A Sense of Place

Practicum #2: Valuing Indigenous Property

Part III: Things Across Cultures

Exercise #3: Giving and Receiving

Chapter 3: Exchange and Value

Practicum #3: Responding to Global Forces, or, Kula International

Part IV: Realizing Ritual

Exercise #4: Changing Paradigms

Chapter 4: Why Animism Matters

Practicum #4: Assessing Cognitive Diversity

Part V: Epilogue

Postscript: The Value of Public Anthropology




Product Details

Napier, A. David
Oxford University Press (UK)
General Religion
Religion & Theology | Symbol, Ritual & Practice
Religion Eastern-Philosophy General
Publication Date:
6.2 x 9.3 x 0.6 in 1 lb

Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Specialties
History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
History and Social Science » Anthropology » General
Religion » Eastern Religions » Philosophy General

Making Things Better: A Workbook on Ritual, Cultural Values, and Environmental Behavior (Oxford Ritual Studies) New Hardcover
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Product details 208 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780199969357 Reviews:
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