The Human Enterprise: A Critical Introduction to Anthropological Theory

By James Lett | Go to book overview

8
The Culture
of Anthropology

One of the most apparent features of contemporary U.S. anthropology is its highly elaborated organizational structure. When Franz Boas helped found the American Anthropological Association in 1902, he hardly could have anticipated the tremendous involution (to borrow Goldenweiser's [ 1936] unjustly forgotten term) of anthropological associations. Today there are scores of groups, societies, and associations that have been established for the discipline as a whole (such as the American Anthropological Association), for each subdiscipline (such as the American Ethnological Society), for broad areas of research (such as the Society for Psychological Anthropology), for narrowly defined topics of research (such as the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research), and for geographical areas of interest (such as the Caribbean Studies Association). There are more than twenty anthropological journals in the mainstream of the discipline and many times that number of journals in which anthropologists regularly publish. New journals appear every year, and the trend is toward ever more narrow and esoteric specializations.

The elaboration of this pattern is due principally to the structure of the U.S. university system. Despite recent changes in the job market, most anthropologists continue to work in an academic environment, where recognition, promotion, and tenure are dependent largely upon

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The Human Enterprise: A Critical Introduction to Anthropological Theory
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • About the Book and Author iii
  • Title Page v
  • Contents ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Prologue: The Challenge of Theory 1
  • Part One The Philosophy Of Science 7
  • 2- The Activity Of Science 23
  • 3- The Concept Of Scientific Paradigms 31
  • Part Two The Anthropological Perspective 39
  • 4- The Science Of Anthropology 41
  • 5- The Domain Of Anthropological Inquiry 48
  • 6- The Concept Of Culture 54
  • 7- The Importance Of the Emic/Etic Distinction 61
  • 8- The Culture Of Anthropology 68
  • Part Three The Wisdom Of Eclecticism 75
  • 9- The Range Of Alternatives 77
  • 11- The Paradigm Of Structuralism 100
  • 12- The Paradigm Of Symbolic Anthropology 110
  • 13- The Question Of Paradigmatic Commitment 121
  • Part Four The Clash Of Paradigms 127
  • 14- The Sound And the Fury 129
  • 15- The Image Of Limited Good 134
  • 16- The Intractable Sacred Cow 141
  • Epilogue 153
  • Bibliography 157
  • Index 171
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