Anthropology and Politics
Visions, Traditions, and Trends
In considering how anthropologists have chosen to look at and write about politics, Joan Vincent contends that the anthropological study of politics is itself a historical process. Intended not only as a representation but also as a reinterpretation, her study arises from questioning accepted views and unexamined assumptions. This wide-ranging, cross-disciplinary work is a critical review of the anthropological study of politics in the English-speaking world from 1879 to the present, a counterpoint of text and context that describes for each of three eras both what anthropologists have said about politics and the national and international events that have shaped their interests and concerns. It is also an account of how intellectual, social, and political conditions influenced the discipline by conditioning both anthropological inquiry and the avenues of research supported by universities and governments. Finally, it is a study of the politics of anthropology itself, examining the survival of theses or schools of thought and the influence of certain individuals and departments.
"More than a purely intellectual history of the subject, it is a penetrating analysis of the changing social and political contexts in which the subject has functioned, and of the ways in which these external forces have shaped its development. . . . The sheer intelligence and scholarship of this book will be sure to make it the authoritative history of the field for many years to come." Man"An extremely rich excursion through the first century (plus) of the discipline. . . . A must for anyone pretending to become or remain au courant in political anthropology. No one to date has written such a complete and interesting history." American Anthropologist"Essential reading and a long-term reference book for all who are concerned with how and why anthropology has developed as it has, why certain questions have been asked and others ignored, and how anthropologists have responded to successive intellectual climates and the changing social milieus of the past century and a half. . . . A significant contribution to intellectual history." American Ethnologist