Anthropology and Politics
Revolutions in the Sacred Grove
By (author) Ernest Gellner
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Anthropology and Politics by Ernest Gellner
Book DescriptionErnest Gellner explores here the links between anthropology and politics, and shows just how central these are. The recent postmodernist turn in anthropology has been linked to the expiation of colonial guilt. Traditional, functionalist anthropology is characteristically regarded as an accessory to the crime, and anyone critical of the relativistic claims of interpretative anthropology (as Ernest Gellner is) is likely to be charged (as he sometimes is) with being an ex post imperialist.Ernest Gellner argues that cultures are crucially important in human life as constraining systems of meaning. Cultural transition means that the required characteristics are transmitted from generation to generation, leading, he shows, to both greater diversity and to far more rapid change than is possible among species where transmission is primarily by genetic means. But the relative importance of semantic and physical compulsion needs to be explored rather than pre-judged. The weakness of idealism, which at present operates under the name of hermeneutics, is that it underplays the importance of coercion, and that it presents cultures as self-justifying and morally sovereign: this line of argument, the author demonstrates, is fundamentally flawed.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780631199182
(229mm x 154mm x 16mm)
Imprint: Blackwell Publishers
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Publish Date: 26-Oct-1995
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Ernest Gellner
Nations and Nationalism, Paperback (May 2006)
This updated edition of Ernest Gellner's classic exploration of the roots of nationalism includes an extended introduction from John Breuilly, tracing the way the field has changed over the past two decades. * As pertinent today as it was when it was first published in 1983.
Cause and Meaning in the Social Sciences, Paperback (February 2006)
This volume focuses on key conceptual issues in the social sciences, such as Winch's idea of a social science, structuralism, Malinowski and Evans-Pritchard, and the concept of kinship. In particular it deals with such problems as the relationship of nature and culture.
Words and Things, Paperback (January 2005)
Gellner wrote that linguistic philosophy was an aberrant trivializing perversion of good philosophical practice, substituting, in place of honest theorizing and argument, pedantic scrutiny of intrinsically uninteresting detail. This title remains the most devastating attack on a conventional wisdom in philosophy to this day.
Psychoanalytic Movement, Paperback (December 2002)» View all books by Ernest Gellner
How did the language of psychoanalysis become the dominant idiom in which the middle classes of the industrialized West speak about their emotions? Ernest Gellner offers a forceful and complex answer to this intriguing question in "The Psychoanalytic Movement".
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Author Biography - Ernest Gellner
Ernest Gellner was Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, before which he had been since 1962 Professor of Philosophy at the London School of Economics. He is now head of research at the Central European University and divides his time between Prague and Cambridge, where he is a Fellow of King's College. His previous books include Nations and Nationalism (1983), The Concept of Kinship (1986), Reason and Culture (1992), Encounters with Nationalism (1994) and Conditions of Liberty (1994).
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