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The handbook of sociocultural anthropology
Éditeur Bloomsbury
Année 2013, cop. 2013
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The handbook of sociocultural anthropology
1 vol. (xxii-630 p.) : couv. ill. en coul. ; 25 cm
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The Handbook of Sociocultural Anthropology brings together international names from various branches and activities of all things socio-cultural, including Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Katherine Verdery, Veena Das and Andrés Barrera-González to name only 4 out of 43 contributors. This book warrants praise from the outset as the gargantuan task it represents does exactly what it sets out to do making it both a pleasure to peruse but also a vitally important and erudite addition to an anthropologist’s library. The enormity of the book means this review can only skim the surface but I will endeavour to present a holistic sense of the editors’ aim. Yet be aware that this review is focusing on those chapters that deal with the discipline of anthropology as a whole while other sections of the book deal with themes and more traditional concerns. The 29 chapters of this handbook span 5 sections each covering a particular theme or topic under the titles: Orientations; Elements; Issues; Regions; Context. Within each section there is considerable variation amongst the chapters. Throughout the book the authors are taking perspective on two main issues, the development of the discipline since the advent of post-modernism coupled with the changing institutional environment that affects where and how anthropology is practised. Crisis can lead to self-reflection and as Carrier points out in the introduction the notion that anthropology is a discipline in crisis is a cornerstone for its mode of reflexivity. This generally leads to ‘ought’ statements rather than ‘is’ statements with the resulting orientation in anthropology grasping-forward rather than taking-stock. This serves as the context for the book: Where is anthropology today?
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