This is the first multi-volume collection of writings on sociocultural anthropology, the field of anthropology which is concerned with how people in different places live in and understand the world around them. It covers the field's core and changing objectives and methodologies, how context shapes how people make a living and reproduce, how people organize relationships with other people as well as with animals and the environment, how people communicate with other people, and ongoing change in how people make sense of where they live, with whom they interact, and their sense of meaning. Taken together, the collection of 88 articles maps the development of sociocultural anthropology from its beginnings in the mid-19th century to recent debates on the rise of new methods, increased attention to reflexivity and intersubjectivity, and the ongoing 'critique of anthropology' and the efforts to decolonize it.
The four volumes are arranged thematically and each is separately introduced. In Volume 1, contributions lay out some of the early and enduring motivations of sociocultural anthropologists: who are the world's peoples? From the effort to describe non-Western cultures, entries move to critiques of early sociocultural anthropology, for example, from feminist anthropologists and indigenous anthropologists, as well as applied anthropologists who saw a need for sociocultural anthropologists to be involved in community development. Volume 2 focuses on studies of livelihoods and reproduction and health. Volume 3 looks at forms of social relations and organization as defined by kinship as well as non-kin relations. Volume 4 includes entries that look more directly at language and other forms of communication, religion and spiritual beliefs, and expressive culture and performance. The final articles offer insights about how tumultuous changes, such as refugee movements and environmental change are affecting people around the world, and how they are making sense of these changes.
The four volumes are energized by the inclusion, and often juxtaposition, of classic texts by Sir Edmund Leach, Franz Boas, Bronislaw Malinowski, Ruth Benedict, Margaret Mead, Lucy Mair, Claude Levi Strauss, Marshall Sahlins, and Maurice Godelier, mixed in with writings by contemporary authors such as Lila Abu-Lughod, Seth Holmes, Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Tom Boellstorff, Susan Greenhalgh, George Marcus, and Arjun Appadurai. Contains 4 Hardbacks