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From Anthropology to Social Theory
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Book description

Presenting a ground-breaking revitalization of contemporary social theory, this book revisits the rise of the modern world to reopen the dialogue between anthropology and sociology. Using concepts developed by a series of 'maverick' anthropologists who were systematically marginalised as their ideas fell outside the standard academic canon, such as Arnold van Gennep, Marcel Mauss, Paul Radin, Lucien Lévy-Bruhl and Gregory Bateson, the authors argue that such concepts are necessary for understanding better the rise and dynamics of the modern world, including the development of the social sciences, in particular sociology and anthropology. Concepts discussed include liminality, imitation, schismogenesis and trickster, which provide an anthropological 'toolkit' for readers to develop innovative understandings of the underlying power mechanisms of globalized modernity. Aimed at graduate students and researchers, the book is clearly structured. Part I introduces the 'maverick' anthropologists, while Part II applies the maverick tool-kit to revisit the history of sociological thought and the question of modernity.

Reviews

‘This book examines thinkers whose work has been fossilised, forgotten or rendered insignificant by subsequent misreadings and provides us with histories of those misreadings and elisions while saliently indicating the profound theoretical capital for social analysis that has been squandered by those practices.'

Glenn Bowman - Emeritus Professor of Socio-Historical Anthropology, University of Kent

'With their call for the removal of subject-based ownership of techniques, Arpad Szakolczai and Bjørn Thomassen offer a convincing and increasingly urgent argument that the social sciences are in need of radical rejuvenation. This is not in order to 'retain relevance' (or some similarly anodyne phrase) but to allow social scientists to do what they should do best and help address dynamic real-world issues.'

Simon Underdown Source: Times Higher Education

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