This book presents an overview of important currents of thought in social and cultural anthropology, from the 19th century to the present. It introduces readers to the origins, context and continuing relevance of a fascinating and exciting kaleidoscope of ideas that have transformed the humanities and social sciences, and the way we understand ourselves and the societies we live in today.
Each chapter provides a thorough yet engaging introduction to a particular theoretical school, style or conceptual issue. Together they build up to a detailed and comprehensive critical introduction to the most salient areas of the field. The introduction reflects on the substantive themes which tie the chapters together and on what the very notions of `theory' and `theoretical school' bring to our understanding of anthropology as a discipline.
The book tracks a core lecture series given at Cambridge University and is essential reading for all undergraduate students undertaking a course on anthropological theory or the history of anthropological thought. It will also be useful more broadly for students of social and cultural anthropology, sociology, human geography and cognate disciplines in the social sciences and humanities.
Matei Candea is a Lecturer in the Division of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, UK. He is a fellow of King's College, and Director of Studies for the college.
Introduction: Echoes of a Conversation Matei Candea 1. Severed roots: Evolutionism, diffusionism and (structural-)functionalism Matei Candea 2. Structuralism Rupert Stasch 3. Marxism and Neo-Marxism Caroline Humphrey 4. From Transactionalism to Practice Theory David Sneath 5. Anthropology and History Susan Bayly 6. From the Extended-Case Method to Multi-Sited Ethnography (and Back) Harri Englund 7. Cognitive anthropology as epistemological critique Richard D.G. Irvine 8. Interpretive Cultural Anthropology: Geertz and his `Writing-Culture' Critics James Laidlaw 9. The Frankfurt School, Critical Theory and Anthropology Christos Lynteris 10. The Anthropological Lives of Michel Foucault James Laidlaw 11. From `the body' to `embodiment', with help from phenomenology Maryon McDonald 12. Feminist Anthropology and the Question of Gender Jessica Johnson 13. No actor, no network, no theory: Bruno Latour's Anthropology of the Moderns Matei Candea 14. The Ontological Turn: School or Style? Paolo Heywood 15. Persons and partible persons Marilyn Strathern