Engaging Anthropological Theory: A Social and Political History, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Engaging Anthropological Theory

A Social and Political History, 2nd Edition

By Mark Moberg


440 pages | 77 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2018-09-07
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This updated second edition of Mark Moberg's lively book offers a fresh look at the history of anthropological theory. Covering key concepts and theorists, Engaging Anthropological Theory examines the historical context of anthropological ideas and the contested nature of anthropology itself. Anthropological ideas regarding human diversity have always been rooted in the sociopolitical conditions in which they arose and exploring them in context helps students understand how and why they evolved, and how theory relates to life and society. Illustrated throughout, this engaging text moves away from the dry recitation of past viewpoints in anthropology and brings the subject matter to life.


Praise for the first edition:

"Moberg does a masterful job of weaving together historical context, anthropological theory, and present-day issues and sensibilities. Rather than standing at a critical distance and taking potshots at our disciplinary ancestors, Moberg shows students clearly how anthropology’s ideas and theoretical stances have arisen out of, and made sense within, their historical and geographical contexts. His style is engaging, readable, and often laugh-out-loud funny. How often can one say that about a theory textbook?"

–Julie Adkins, University of Texas at Arlington, USA

"While other textbooks on anthropological theory give token accounts of the socio-political influences and historical contexts that produced ‘ruling ideas’ on the nature of society and the origins of cultural diversity, these processes are the central focus of Moberg’s unique analysis. Moving beyond biographical sketches and historical vignettes, the book is a lively exploration of how ‘paradigms and politics’ of the past and present inform anthropological thought."

–William L. Alexander, University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA

Table of Contents

1. Of Politics and Paradigms

2. Claims and Critiques of Anthropological Knowledge

3. Anthropology before Anthropologists

4. Theory and Practice to Change the World

5. Heirs to Order and Progress

6. Spencer, Darwin, and the Evolutionary Parables for our Time

7. The Boasian Revolution

8. Culture and Psychology

9. Functionalism, the Pure and the Hyphenated

10. Anti-Structure and the Collapse of Empire

11. Evolution Redux

12. Contemporary Materialist and Ecological Approaches

13. Symbols, Structures, and the “Web of Significance”

14. Postmodern Political Economy and Sensibilities

15. The Contemporary Anthropological Moment

About the Author

Mark Moberg is Professor of Anthropology at the University of South Alabama, USA, and has many years of experience teaching anthropological theory. His other books include Slipping Away: Banana Politics and Fair Trade in the Eastern Caribbean (2008).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural