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Daniel de Coppet. Publisher: Routledge , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title Understanding Rituals explores how ritual can be understood within the framework of contemporary social anthropology, and shows that ritual is now one of the most fertile fields of anthropological research. Buy New Learn more about this copy.
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Stock Image. Understanding Rituals Paperback Daniel de Coppet. New Paperback Quantity Available: Seller Rating:. Understanding Rituals Daniel de Coppet. Published by Routledge Understanding Rituals De Coppet, D. New Quantity Available: Chiron Media Wallingford, United Kingdom. New Quantity Available: 5. This question became the underlying concern of cultural anthropology, and distinguished the academic discipline as its own separate branch of anthropological studies.
An early scholar who tried to answer this question was Grafton Elliot Smith, who argued that different groups must somehow have learned from one another, as if cultural traits were being spread, or "diffused" from one place to another. Others argued that different groups had the capability of inventing similar beliefs and practices independently.
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Some of those who advocated "independent invention," like Lewis Henry Morgan , additionally supposed that similarities meant that different groups had passed through the same stages of cultural evolution:. As it is undeniable that portions of the human family have existed in a state of savagery, other portions in a state of barbarism, and still other portions in a state of civilization, it seems equally so that these three distinct conditions are connected with each other in a natural as well as necessary sequence of progress. A breakthrough in cultural anthropological methodology took place in Britain following World War I.
Although nineteenth century ethnologists saw "diffusion" and "independent invention" as mutually exclusive and competing theories, most ethnographers quickly reached a consensus that both processes occur, and that both can plausibly account for cross-cultural similarities. However, these ethnographers pointed out the superficiality of many such similarities, and that even traits that spread through diffusion often changed their meaning and functions as they moved from one society to another.
European Association of Social Anthropologists
Accordingly, these anthropologists showed less interest in comparing cultures, generalizing about human nature, or discovering universal laws of cultural development, than in understanding particular cultures in those cultures' own terms. Such ethnographers and their students promoted the idea of "cultural relativism," the view that one can only understand another person's beliefs and behaviors in the context of the culture in which he or she lived. Most commentators consider Marcel Mauss to be the founder of the French anthropological tradition.
In particular, Mauss' Essai sur le don The Gift was to prove of enduring relevance in anthropological studies of exchange and reciprocity. Throughout the interwar years, French interest in anthropology often dovetailed with wider cultural movements such as surrealism and primitivism, which drew on ethnography for inspiration. Marcel Griaule and Michel Leiris are examples of people who combined anthropology with the French avant-garde. Much of the distinct character of France's anthropology is a result of the fact that most anthropology is carried out in nationally funded research laboratories CNRS rather than academic departments in universities.
The two most important scholars in this tradition were Alfred Reginald Radcliffe-Brown and Bronislaw Malinowski , both of whom released seminal works in Radcliffe-Brown's initial fieldwork, in the Andaman Islands, was carried out in the old style of historical reconstruction. Over time, he developed an approach known as "structural-functionalism," which focused on how institutions in societies worked to balance out or create equilibrium in the social system to keep it functioning harmoniously.
Malinowski, in contrast, advocated a functionalism which examined how society operated to meet individual needs. He is well known for his detailed ethnography and advances in methodology. His classic ethnography, Argonauts of the Western Pacific, advocated obtaining "the native's point of view" and an approach to fieldwork that became standard.
Malinowski's and Radcliffe-Brown's influence stemmed from the fact that they actively trained students and aggressively built up institutions that furthered their programmatic ambitions. This was particularly the case with Radcliffe-Brown, who spread his agenda for "Social Anthropology" by teaching at universities across the Commonwealth. From the late s until the postwar period, there appeared a string of monographs and edited volumes that cemented the paradigm of British social anthropology.
Famous ethnographies include The Nuer, by Edward E. Following the difficult reconstruction Britain underwent after World War II , especially the final collapse of its colonial empire, modern anthropology in Britain was formed by rejecting historical reconstruction in the name of a science of society.
While the discipline maintains differences from one country to another, the European Association of Social Anthropologists EASA was founded in as a society of scholarship at a meeting of founder members from fourteen European countries, including Great Britain, supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. Cultural anthropology in the United States was influenced in its initial development by the ready availability of Native American societies as ethnographic subjects. Lewis Henry Morgan , a lawyer from Rochester, New York, became an advocate for and ethnological scholar of the Iroquois.
His comparative analyses of religion , government, material culture, and especially kinship patterns proved to be influential contributions to the field of anthropology. Like other scholars of his day such as Edward Burnett Tylor , Morgan argued that human societies could be classified into categories of cultural evolution on a scale of progression that ranged from "savagery," to "barbarism," to "civilization.
Franz Boas established academic anthropology in the United States in opposition to this sort of evolutionary perspective. Boasian anthropology was politically active and suspicious of research dictated by the U. It was rigorously empirical and skeptical of overgeneralizations and attempts to establish universal laws. Boas studied immigrant children to demonstrate that biological race was not immutable, and that human conduct and behavior resulted from nurture, rather than nature. Influenced by the German tradition, Boas argued that the world was full of distinct cultures, rather than societies whose evolution could be measured by how much or how little "civilization" they had.
He believed that each culture has to be studied in its particularity, and argued that cross-cultural generalizations, like those made in the natural sciences, were not possible. In doing so, he fought discrimination against immigrants, African Americans, and Native North Americans. Many American anthropologists adopted his agenda for social reform, and theories of race continue to be popular targets for anthropologists today.
Boas used his positions at Columbia University and the American Museum of Natural History to train and develop multiple generations of students. His first generation of students included Alfred L. They provided a wealth of details used to attack the theory of a single evolutionary process. Kroeber and Sapir's focus on Native American languages helped establish linguistics as a truly general science and free it from its historical focus on Indo-European languages.
The publication of Alfred Kroeber's textbook, Anthropology, marked a turning point in American anthropology. After three decades of amassing material, Boasians felt a growing urge to generalize. This was most obvious in the culture-and-personality studies carried out by younger Boasians such as Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict. Influenced by psychologists such as Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung , these authors sought to understand the way that individual personalities were shaped by the wider cultural and social forces in which they grew up. Though such works as Coming of Age in Samoa and The Chrysanthemum and the Sword remain popular with the American public, Mead and Benedict never had the impact on the discipline of anthropology that some expected.
However, the American discipline in more recent times has become more focused on the ways people express their view of themselves and their world, especially in symbolic forms such as art and myths.
À l’épreuve des certitudes : récits d’une sanctification locale (Ceará, Brésil)
These two approaches frequently converged kinship, for example, and leadership function both as a symbolic systems and as social institutions , and generally complemented one another. Ethnographic methodology continues to dominate cultural anthropology. Nevertheless, many contemporary socio-cultural anthropologists have rejected earlier models of ethnography that treated local cultures as bounded and isolated.
These anthropologists continue to concern themselves with the distinct ways people in different locales experience and understand their personal lives, but they often argue that one cannot understand these particular ways of life solely in the local context; they argue that one must analyze them in the context of regional or even global political and economic relations. Cultural anthropologists have increasingly turned their investigative eye on to "Western" culture.