Closed Systems And Open Minds: The Limits Of Naivety In Social Anthropology by Max Gluckman

Closed Systems And Open Minds: The Limits Of Naivety In Social Anthropology

byMax Gluckman

Paperback | November 15, 2006

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Social anthropology, defined operationally in terms of what social anthropologists have done in the last fifty years, is the study and comparison of tribal societies and of small fields of social life with emphasis on the role of custom. When a social anthropologist's research leads him into any field, which belongs to other disciplines, what line should he adopt? What use may he make of the results that other scholars have already achieved? Must he knowingly make naive assumptions concerning events, which they have regarded as complex? In each of the fascinating essays which in turn form the core of this book - V. W. Turner's on symbols in Ndembu ritual; F.G. Bailey's on disputes which occurred in two Orissa villages; A. L. Epstein's on urban communities in Africa; T. Lupton's and S. Cunnison's on the relationship between behaviour in three Manchester workshops and certain events which happened outside; and W. Watson's on social mobility and social class in a coalmining Scottish burgh-several social anthropologists attempt to answer these questions by discussing the problems of method that they have encountered in their own recent research; and in the searching discussion which sum up the results. To analyze one first has to circumscribe one's field, and then simplify within the area of circumscription. Both circumscription and simplification may involve procedures of absorbing, abridging, and making naive assumptions. The contributors draw attention to the attempt to distinguish between psychical facts (emotions, thoughts, etc.) and psychological, which we believe should apply only to statements within the science of psychology, and not to be used by the former. They similarly distinguish between social facts and sociological or social-anthropological statements. ""Psychological"" and ""sociological"" are so well established in common parlance as adjectives to categorize facts that attempts to specialize them as hopeless.

About The Author

Max Gluckman (1911-1975) was founder and head of the department of social anthropology and sociology at the University of Manchester. He is well known for his many books and articles on the peoples of South and Central Africa and on social anthropology in general. He was a political activist and was strongly and openly anti-colonial...
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Details & Specs

Title:Closed Systems And Open Minds: The Limits Of Naivety In Social AnthropologyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:276 pages, 9.69 × 5.91 × 0.71 inPublished:November 15, 2006Publisher:Taylor and FrancisLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0202308596

ISBN - 13:9780202308593

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