Culture is a vexed concept within anthropology. From their earliest studies, anthropologists have often noted the emotional attachment of people to their customs, even in cases where this loyalty can make for problems. Do anthropologists now suffer the same kind of disability with respect to their continuing emotional attachment to the concept of culture? This book considers the state of the culture concept in anthropology and finds fault with a ‘love it or leave it' attitude. Rather than pledging undying allegiance or summarily dismissing it, the volume argues that anthropology can continue with or without a concept of culture, depending on the research questions being asked, and, furthermore, that when culture is retained, no single definition of it is practical or necessary.Offering sensible solutions to a topic of hot debate, this book will be essential reading for anyone seeking to learn what a concept of culture can offer anthropology, and what anthropology can offer the concept of culture.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Leaving Culture Worry Behind 1 Toward a Richer Description and Analysis of Cultural Phenomena Fredrik Barth 2 Adieu, Culture: A New Duty Arises, 3 Culture and Anthropology in Ethnographic Modernity, Part 2: Emergent Sociality 4 On Patterned Interactions and Culture in Great Apes 5 Anthropology as the Whole Science of What It Is to Be Human, 6 The Broader Implications of Borderline Areas of Language Research, Part 3: Patterns and Continuities, 7 Archaeology and Culture: Sites of Power and Process, 8 Language as a Model for Culture: Lessons from the Cognitive Sciences, 9 Cultural Variation in Time and Space: The Case for a Populational Theory of Culture, Part 4: The Politics of Culture, 10 The Politics of Culture in Post-apartheid South Africa, 11 “Culture” as Stereotype: Public Uses in Ecuador, 12 All Kulturvölker Now? Social Anthropological Reflections on the German-American Tradition.
Richard G. Fox is President, Wenner-Gren Foundation, New York. Barbara J. King isProfessor for Teaching Excellence, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg.