9780521318518 / 0521318513

On Anthropological Knowledge: Three Essays (Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology)


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Publisher:Cambridge University Press, 1985



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About the book:

What can be understood of other cultures? And what can we learn about people in general from the study of other cultures? In the three closely related essays that constitute this book and which have already created considerable controversy in their original French versions, and been rewritten and expanded for this edition, Dan Sperber discusses these fundamental issues of anthropology. In the first essay he analyses the way in which anthropology is written and read. In the second, he offers a novel rationalist alternative to cultural relativism, based on both anthropological and psychological arguments, and illustrated by his own fieldwork in Ethiopia. The third essay provides an assessment of the work of Lévi-Strauss, in which the arguments of the previous two essays are linked with an incisive critique of Lévi-Strauss' contribution to the study of cultural variation.

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