Synopses & Reviews
"If you want to know what anthropology is
, look at what anthropologists do
," write the authors of Social and Cultural Anthropology: A Very Short Introduction
. This engaging overview of the field combines an accessible account of some of the discipline's guiding principles and methodology with abundant examples and illustrations of anthropologists at work.
Peter Just and John Monaghan begin by discussing anthropology's most important contributions to modern thought: its investigation of culture as a distinctively human characteristic, its doctrine of cultural relativism, and its methodology of fieldwork and ethnography. Drawing on examples from their own fieldwork in Indonesia and Mesoamerica, they examine specific ways in which social and cultural anthropology have advanced our understanding of human society and culture. Including an assessment of anthropology's present position, and a look forward to its likely future, Social and Cultural Anthropology will make fascinating reading for anyone curious about this social science.
About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.
"I cannot imagine a better short introduction to anthropology... it is firmly anchored in the traditional concerns of fieldwork and participant observation."--Kent V. Flannery, University of Michigan
"The most original introduction to anthropological thinking I have seen... The reader is made to experience anthropology as it is practiced, as a process that begins in the field of observations and continues on as an explanatory, interpretive, theoretical, and finally disciplinary activity-- anthropology as it is done rather than talked about. The writing is notably lucid, simple, and unpretentious. The book gives the reader a sense of unique achievements of anthroplogy amopng the social disciplines, and of its position as evolving and never finished business."--Igor Kopytoff, University of Pennsylvania
“Authoritative, challenging, accessible, up to date, this is a splendid introduction to modern social anthropology. I would press it on anyone who wants a better grasp of the diversity of human ways of living. And it is a must-read for students.”
“This classic volume is quite simply the best introduction there is to social and cultural anthropology. Deeply grounded in the history of anthropological thought, it is also thoroughly up to date. More than that, it is unfailingly engaging, clear, and accurate. There is no better place to go to begin to learn why anthropology has been and remains a vital discipline in the contemporary world.”
“Small Places, Large Issues shows us Thomas Hylland Eriksen in his admirable triple capacity as an anthropologist: the scholar, with depth and breadth of knowledge, and with a critical sense; the statesman, negotiating with fairness between anthropological camps; and the journalist, with a sense of what is new, zooming between close-up and big picture, and writing clearly about it all.”
“This wonderfully lucid introduction to social and cultural anthropology readily captures students’ attention. By delineating the past and present development of the discipline, Eriksen underscores continuities and challenges that inform the practice of anthropology in today’s world. In presenting anthropology as a means for elucidating large issues through the analysis of small places, the book speaks eloquently to anthropology’s intellectual vibrance and practical value.”
This concise introduction to social and cultural anthropology has become a modern classic, introducing countless students to the field and the tools it offers for exploring some of the most complicated questions of human life and interaction. This fourth edition is fully updated, incorporating recent debates and controversies in the field, ranging from globalization and migration research to problems of cultural translation and the challenges of interdisciplinarity. Effortlessly bridging the gap between classic and contemporary anthropology, Small Places, Large Issues remains an essential text for undergraduates embarking on the study of this field.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 143-148) and index.
About the Author
has done extensive research among the Dou Donggo of Sumbawa Island in Indonesia. His research interests include dispute settlement and law, kinship and social organization, and religion ritual. He is the author of Dou Donggo Justice: Conflict and Morality in an Indonesian Society
, and is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Williams College.
Over the last twenty years John Monaghan has carried out a number of ethnographic research projects among the indigenous people of Mexico and Guatemala. His most recent book on the subject is The Covenants With Earth and Rain: Exchange, Sacrifice, and Revelation in Mixtec Sociality. He is currently a professor at Vanderbilt University.
Table of Contents
1. Fieldwork and Ethnography; 2. Culture; 3. Society; 4. Sex and blood; 5. Class and caste, village and city, home and the world; 6. Language and social life; 7. The culturally constructed self 8. The future of anthropology; Further reading; Index.