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Anthropological Theory: An Introductory History

© 2012
by R. Jon Mcgee, Richard Warms

5th Edition Going Out of Publication 672 Pages Paperback / softback
9780078034886 0078034884
  • Description
  • Features
  • Review Access
A comprehensive and accessible survey of the history of theory in anthropology, this anthology of classic and contemporary 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.
New to this Edition

New Section on the Background to Postmodernism that exposes students to works critical to understanding current day anthropology and includes readings from Pierre Bourdieu and Michel Foucault.

Four Additional Readings have been added that broaden students’ understanding of the theoretical schools they represent. These readings are:
  • Introduction to Coming of Age in Samoa, by Margaret Mead
  • “I Went to Bed with My Own Kind Once”: The Erasure of Desire in the Name of Identity, by David Valentine
  • The Making of the Maori: Cultural Invention and its Logic, by Allan Hanson
  • Kaiten-zushi and Konbini; Japanese Food Culture in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, by Theodore Bestor


Notes for Key Essays have been thoroughly revised to include the latest information on the subjects and to provide additional background for difficult passages.

Updated Section Introductions include discussions on theorists who have made great contributions, but are not otherwise represented in selections in the text. The discussions include figures such as Jeremy Bentham, A. C. Haddon, James Frazer, Antonio Gramsci, Monica Wilson, Andrew Vayda, Michelle Rosaldo and scores of others whose work has played a major role in anthropological theory.

Revised to Reflect the Latest Scholarship, the index has also been expanded to include more detail making it a stronger research tool.


Retained Features

Unique Format, with introductions and explanatory footnotes by the editors, including definitions of difficult words, translations of foreign words and phrases, explanations of allusions, and a description of the contextual background of each piece.

Clear, Concise Introductions to the various theoretical schools, with editorial commentary pointing at underlying concepts and interrelationships between theoretical perspectives.

Broad Range of Works important in the history of anthropological theory, from 19th century evolutionism to postmodernism in the 1990s, including innovative sections on foundations of sociological thought, sociobiology, postmodernism, and the feminist critique of anthropology.

Extensive Pedagogical Aids, including questions to help readers formulate their own views of theoretical positions, as well as an extensive bibliography and index.

Topics Important to Current Anthropological Thinking conclude the book with a section of readings on issues of agency, power, and globalization.

Essays Chosen with an Emphasis on Anthropological Praxis. The essays are examples of the application of theory rather than statements about theory, showing the concrete expression of theory in anthropological analysis rather than abstract presentation of theory.

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