Anthropology and social theory: Renewing dialogue

European Journal of Social Theory 16 (2):188-207 (2013)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This article argues that anthropology may represent untapped perspectives of relevance to social theory. The article starts by critically reviewing how anthropology has come to serve as the ‘Other’ in various branches of social theory, from Marx and Durkheim to Parsons to Habermas, engaged in a hopeless project of positing ‘primitive’ or ‘traditional’ society as the opposite of modernity. In contemporary debates, it is becoming increasingly recognized that social theory needs history, back to the axial age and beyond. The possible role of anthropology in theorizing modernity receives far less attention. That role should go much beyond representing a view from ‘below’ or a politically correct appreciation of cultural diversity. It involves attention to key theoretical concepts and insights developed by maverick anthropologists like Arnold van Gennep, Marcel Mauss, Victor Turner and Gregory Bateson, concepts that uniquely facilitate an understanding of some of the underlying dynamics of modernity.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,873

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Bloch, Maurice.Muhammad A. Z. Mughal - 2013 - In Reece Jon McGee & Richard L. Warms (eds.), Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology: An Encyclopedia. Sage Publications. pp. 77-80.
Anthropology, social theory, and politics: Axel Honneth's theory of recognition.Carl-Göran Heidegren - 2002 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 45 (4):433 – 446.
Towards a Historical Cultural Anthropology.Christoph Wulf - 2018 - Dialogue and Universalism 28 (4):109-123.
Anthropological theory: an introductory history.R. Jon McGee - 2003 - Boston: McGraw-Hill. Edited by Richard L. Warms.
What Is Sceptical Anthropology?Volker Schürmann - 2018 - Dialogue and Universalism 28 (4):141-154.
Origins of Modernity. [REVIEW]Wayne Cristaudo - 1991 - The Owl of Minerva 22 (2):237-240.
Origins of Modernity. [REVIEW]Wayne Cristaudo - 1991 - The Owl of Minerva 22 (2):237-240.
Introduction: Philosophical Anthropology and Social Analysis.Anna Borisenkova - 2012 - Études Ricoeuriennes / Ricoeur Studies 3 (1):1-5.
The Theft of Anthropology.Chris Hann - 2009 - Theory, Culture and Society 26 (7-8):126-147.


Added to PP

11 (#1,161,217)

6 months
8 (#411,218)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?