The Invention Of Culture

Paperback | November 21, 2016

byRoy WagnerForeword byTim Ingold

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In anthropology, a field that is known for its critical edge and intellectual agility, few books manage to maintain both historical value and contemporary relevance. Roy Wagner's The Invention of Culture, originally published in 1975, is one.
 
Wagner breaks new ground by arguing that culture arises from the dialectic between the individual and the social world. Rooting his analysis in the relationships between invention and convention, innovation and control, and meaning and context, he builds a theory that insists on the importance of creativity, placing people-as-inventors at the heart of the process that creates culture. In an elegant twist, he shows that this very process ultimately produces the discipline of anthropology itself.
 
Tim Ingold’s foreword to the new edition captures the exhilaration of Wagner’s book while showing how the reader can journey through it and arrive safely—though transformed—on the other side.
 

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In anthropology, a field that is known for its critical edge and intellectual agility, few books manage to maintain both historical value and contemporary relevance. Roy Wagner's The Invention of Culture, originally published in 1975, is one.   Wagner breaks new ground by arguing that culture arises from the dialectic between the indiv...

Roy Wagner is professor of anthropology at the University of Virginia. Tim Ingold is chair of social anthropology at the University of Aberdeen.  

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.7 inPublished:November 21, 2016Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022642328X

ISBN - 13:9780226423289

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Table of Contents

Foreword to the Second Edition
Preface to the Second Edition
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Chapter 1: The Assumption of Culture
The idea of culture
Making culture visible
The invention of culture
Chapter 2: Culture as Creativity
Fieldwork is work in the field
The ambiguity of “culture”
The wax museum
“Road belong culture”
Chapter 3: The Power of Invention
Invention is culture
Control
The necessity of invention
The magic of advertising
Chapter 4: The Invention of Self
An important message for you about the makers of time
Learning personality
On “doing your own thing”: The world of immanent humanity
Learning humanity
Chapter 5: The Invention of Society
Cultural “change”: Social convention as inventive flow
The invention of language
The invention of society
The rise of civilizations
Chapter 6: The Invention of Anthropology
The allegory of man
Controlling culture
Controlling nature
The end of synthetic anthropology
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Imagine looking into a mirror long enough to suddenly realize that you are no longer certain who is the subject looking and who the object being looked at. That displacing, life-changing uncanny mood that suggests to us that what we call subjectivity might not be a prior condition of existence at all has been labeled Hegelian, Freudian, Heideggerian. For me, the realization that all of the conceptual assumptions about a ‘native informant’ or a ‘culture’ could be reversed and that their misunderstanding of me was not the same as my misunderstanding of them will always be Wagnerian.”