Primitive Man and His Ways: Patterns of Life in Some Native Societies

Primitive Man and His Ways: Patterns of Life in Some Native Societies

Primitive Man and His Ways: Patterns of Life in Some Native Societies

Primitive Man and His Ways: Patterns of Life in Some Native Societies

Excerpt

The science of Man has many aspects. We can study humanity as a zoological species, we can investigate the manifestations of the mind, try to penetrate the mysteries of language, or delve into the problems connected with man's life as a more or less civilized being. As far as the so-called primitive or backward peoples are concerned (deplorable terms suggesting a quite unjustifiable evaluation), the latter part of the science is called variously ethnography, ethnology, and cultural anthropology, but the subject is properly speaking the same. Nevertheless, two different trends of approach are clearly in evidence. One aims at describing each culture as a functional whole and thus has a strong touch of sociology. In Great Britain, where this view is nowadays very conspicuous, the term cultural anthropology is sometimes even replaced by social anthropology. In many other countries, including Denmark, the prevalent method is more historical, on the assumption that present conditions are only understood on the background of the past. In accordance with this view I have here attempted to give an outline of six characteristic cultures from widely different parts of the world as they have developed, adapted to their environment.

It is a pleasant duty to express my sincere thanks to Dr. Ernst Manker, Stockholm; Dr. Johs. Falkenberg, Oslo; Mr. Jens Bjerre, Copenhagen; and Michael Joseph Ltd., London, for photographs placed at my disposal. For the same reason my thanks are due to Mr. Johs. Nicolaisen, Fellow of the University of Copenhagen, who in addition has supplied much information based upon his profound knowledge of the Tuareg. And finally I feel deeply obliged to my friends and colleagues in the Danish National Museum for untiring help and encouragement.

KAJ BIRKET-SMITH Copenhagen, June, 1959 . . .

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