Anthropological Theory: An Introductory History
A comprehensive and accessible survey of the history of theory in anthropology, this anthology of classic readings contains in-depth commentary in introductions and notes to help guide students through excerpts of seminal anthropological works. The commentary provides the background information needed to understand each article, its central concepts, and its relationship to the social and historical context in which it was written.
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As a matter of fact primitive people are much less guided by consciously selfish
and ulterior motives than we are, not because of any innate superiority over
ourselves in this regard but because of the conditions under which they live.6 But
, quite apart from this consideration, ought we in fact to lay undue stress on
illustrations following what is clearly a general principle? Are we not after all, in
our illustrations, merely dealing with a statement of what happens when some
general principle ...
Once we start tracing out relationship to any considerable distance the number of
different kinds of relatives that it is logically possible to distinguish is very large.10
This difficulty is avoided in primitive society by a system of classification, by which
relatives of what might logically be held to be of different kinds are classified into
a limited number of kinds. The principle of classification that is most commonly
adopted in primitive society may be stated as that of the equivalence of brothers.
In the ideology of Taoism, yin, the female principle, and yang, the male principle,
are given equal weight; "the opposition, alternation, and interaction of these two
forces give rise to all phenomena in the universe" (Siu, 1968:2). Hence we might
guess that maleness and femaleness are equally valued in the general ideology
of Chinese culture.3 Looking at the social structure, however, we see the strongly
emphasized patrilineal descent principle, the importance of sons, and the ...
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Sigmund Freud The Return of Totemism in Childhood 1913
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