The Human Enterprise: A Critical Introduction to Anthropological Theory

Westview Press (1987)
Abstract
The Human Enterprise presents a wide-ranging but well-integrated analysis of contemporary anthropological theory. The author explains clearly and cogently how to evaluate scientific theories and encourages students to think critically about the nature of theory itself. Thoughtful and thought-provoking, this text should be a stimulating addition to courses on anthropological theory.Part One examines the philosophical foundations of anthropological theory, with particular attention to the nature of scientific inquiry and the mechanisms of scientific progress. The author proposes an original approach to the comparison and evaluation of competing scientific paradigms. Part Two explores the nature of social science and describes distinctive features of anthropology such as the concept of culture and the emic/etic distinction.The author then surveys the range of research strategies employed by anthropologists and presents a detailed analysis of cultural materialism, structuralism, and symbolic anthropology. The final section uses two celebrated issues—the argument about the image of limited good and the sacred cow controversy—to illustrate the current nature of paradigmatic debate and to indicate how a clearer understanding of the nature of paradigms and theory might resolve such controversies.
Keywords Anthropology Philosophy  Anthropology Methodology
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Call number GN33.L38 1987
ISBN(s) 0813304229
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