Deviance: Anthropological Perspectives

Deviance: Anthropological Perspectives

Deviance: Anthropological Perspectives

Deviance: Anthropological Perspectives


In this volume composed of several cross-cultural case studies in deviance, the editors show how an anthropological comparative study can shed new light on the subject. Anthropologists have tended to avoid studying deviance as a phenomena in and of itself, concentrating instead on particular sorts of deviance such as sorcery, alcoholism, and suicide. An anthropology of deviance is likely to create new models, which challenge many of the sociological assumptions currently used to interpret and understand deviance. Deviance presents the results of fieldwork in the Arctic, the West Indies, Africa, and the Far East in individual ethnographic essays. This unique book improves not only our understanding of deviant behavior, but of sociocultural order as well.


The impetus for this book began several years ago when Hamilton College sponsored a talk by Morris Freilich on the subject of deviance. This was followed by a series of congenial arguments between Freilich and Douglas Raybeck, who was also interested in deviance and who had arranged for the talk. During this period, both came to realize that their differing approaches to the subject matter were more complimentary than contradictory and that the field of deviance in anthropology was woefully understudied, if not unrepresented.

Freilich and Raybeck began to redress this situation by organizing a series of symposia at meetings of the American Anthropological Association. At the first of these, they were joined by Joel Savishinsky who had an interest in and an approach to deviance which differed from and enhanced the approaches Freilich and Raybeck were developing. These three were gratified to encounter various anthropologists who found the theme of significant interest and who discovered they had appropriate material in their field notes which, due to the relative invisibility of the topic, they had previously neither organized nor published.

This book is the result of considerable intellectual exchange and growth during which we editors have revised our essays and made them available to the six other contributors to this book. Happily, these contributors have not chosen to ignore our theoretical models, but have either adopted portions of them, or used them as a point of reference for their ethnographic treatments of deviance.

As in any complex endeavor, especially in creative ones, there need be numerous acknowledgements for assistance and support. We want first . . .

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