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Click for full size. Very Good. Disclaimer:A copy that has been read, but remains in excellent condition. Pages are intact and are not marred by notes or highlighting, but may contain a neat previous owner name.

The spine remains undamaged. In his account, the military discipline of the Roman army saved Rome from a major defeat caused by the corruption and decadence of Emperor Nero and the imperial court. The expansion of European states after the late fifteenth century increased contact between Europeans and other cultures and European accounts of these cultures. These accounts came from different sources, including conquerors, missionaries, explorers and adventurers.

These accounts were used by intellectuals to reflect on the nature of other cultures and their relations with Europe.

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They concluded that their culture was superior, being based on reason rather than superstition, and that this superiority was grounded in nature as racial difference. Hart, Hart, K. The Cambridge Torres Strait expedition and British social anthropology. Memory Bank.

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This assumption of superiority and the emphasis on evolution underpinned nineteenth century anthropological theorising. Frazer provided a good example of such armchair theorising. In the Golden Bough, first published in , he provided an overview of pre-modern belief systems in which he claimed to show that human culture had evolved through three stages, the magical, the religious and the modern scientific. In his analysis of magic, Frazer argued that it operated in one of two ways, either through the principle that like produces like or the principle that contact between two objects creates an enduring link between them.

He argued that magic is a false science based on irrationality and the magician is a doer not a thinker who is incapable of abstract logical thought: In short, magic is a spurious system of natural law as well as a fallacious guide of conduct; it is a false science as well as an abortive art… With him [the magician], as with the vast majority of men, logic is implicit, not explicit: he reasons just as he digests his food in complete ignorance of the intellectual and physiological processes which are essential to the one operation and to the other.

In short, to him magic is always an art, never a science; the very idea of science is lacking in his undeveloped mind. Frazer, n.


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The golden bough: A study of magic and religion. At the end of the nineteenth century, there was a major shift in both the methods and the underlying assumptions of social anthropology. The armchair theorising of Frazer based on reading of classic texts and correspondence with missionaries and others was replaced, especially in Britain, by ethnographic fieldwork. Cambridge and the torres strait: Centenary essays on the anthropological expedition.

ASA Monographs and other publications

Cambridge : Cambridge University Press. To this end, the team collected cultural artefacts recording the ways they were used. Not only did the team publish accounts of the Islanders culture, they also produced the earliest ethnographic films some of which have survived. Haddon and his colleagues moved anthropology out of the armchair into the field but they were still operating within the Victorian evolutionary framework.

From onwards, Malinowski developed modern ethnographic fieldwork and shifted the basic paradigm of anthropology. While he was there, the First World War started so as a foreign alien he was unable to return to the UK.


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  8. His enforced stay meant that he had time to learn the local language, build up a network of informants and observe and participate in Islander life and activities. When he returned to the UK after the War, he wrote a series of ethnographic studies starting in with the Argonauts of the Western Pacific Malinowski, Malinowski, B. Argonauts of the Western Pacific. London : Routledge. He did not look down from a position of western superiority; the disorder, carnage and barbarity of the First World War and subsequent events clearly undermined such a position.

    Malinowski, Malinowski, B. Malinowski presented the Islanders as rational individuals who created and used social institutions and technologies to create and maintain an ordered stable society. Thus, Malinowski shifted anthropology from a system that classified societies according to an evolutionary hierarchy, to a series of case studies based on ethnographic fieldwork that examined how different social groups found their own solution to the basic challenges of living together.

    Hart has noted that this paradigm has dominated anthropology, especially British anthropology for most of the twentieth century: In the 20th century anthropology took the predominant form of ethnography.

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    That is, individual peoples, studied in isolation from their wider context in time and space, were written up by lone ethnographers whose method was prolonged and intensive immersion in their societies. The product of ethnographic fieldwork is a series of case studies of other cultures. As these cumulated during the s and s, it was clear that there were certain common themes, such as the importance of kinship relations for managing production and reproduction in pre-modern societies and the key role of religious beliefs and activities in maintaining the order of the social and natural worlds.

    The issue of how these societies managed the intrinsic uncertainty of everyday life and sought to predict and manage the future was not one of these prominent themes. However, reading of classic anthropological texts indicates that they contain interesting insights that fit with some current themes in risk studies.

    In the Argonauts of the Western Pacific , Malinowski explored the ways in which the Trobriand Islanders engaged in an inter-Island network of exchange, the Kula ring, involving dangerous long-distance sea voyages between Islands. This was a highly competitive enterprise in which the stakes were high; local leaders engaging in Kula exchange had to overcome obstacles and dangers and, if successful, increased their status and prestige. It was a form of voluntary risk taking see Zinn, Zinn, J. Towards a better understanding of risk taking: Key concepts, dimensions and perspectives.

    Malinowski observed that the Islanders sought to mitigate the uncertainties and maximise the likelihood of success through a combination of technology and magic. For example, in building the large sea-going canoe used in the Kula trips, the owner of the canoe and his immediate relatives assemble the basic building block of the canoe, the main hollowed out tree trunk, planks, boards and role and the carved decorative prow boards.

    The owner then mobilised the community to assemble the canoe, build the outrigger and make the sail.

    3: Doing Fieldwork: Methods in Cultural Anthropology (Nelson)

    This second stage was accompanied and punctuated by the performance of Kula magical rituals. The technical and organisational boat building skills were based on instrumental rationality. He noted that: [Sea-going canoes] are …the greatest achievement of the craftsmanship of these natives… Technical difficulties face them, which require knowledge, and can only be overcome by a continuous, systematic effort and at certain stages must be met by means of communal labour.

    There was also an element of instrumental rationality in magic, for example, it contributed to the motivation and organisation of communal labour. Heading into the unknown: Everyday strategies for managing risk and uncertainty. A general theory of employment, interest and money. London : Macmillan. As Zinn Zinn, J. The paradox of hope for working age adults recovering from stroke. Health , 19 2 , — They are enacted by the individual: In everyday life [in late modern societies], there is rarely enough time and knowledge available for fully rational decision-making.

    Zinn, Zinn, J. Evans-Pritchard in his ethnographic study of the Azande published in as Witchcraft, oracles and magic among the Azande also addressed issues relating to the ways in which the Azande made decisions under conditions of uncertainty. He focused directly on how the Azande sought to predict and control the future, how they identified and accounted for misfortune, and how they allocated blame for such misfortune and sought to mitigate it.

    Before any important undertaking, the Azande consulted one of their oracles to check that the outcome would be successful. The Azande had a range of oracles which they placed in order reliability; the rubbing board, termites and poison oracle Evans-Pritchard, Evans-Pritchard, E. Witchcraft, oracles and magic among the Azande. Oxford : The Clarendon Press. The poison oracle had the highest status but was also the most expensive as it involved poisoning a chicken.

    The termite oracle involved no cost but took longer to make a prediction. It involved cutting the branches of two trees, inserting them into a termite hill and seeing whether the termites ate one or more branches overnight. The results had to be interpreted. Evans-Pritchard observed that these oracles were central to the everyday life of the Azande and formed a crucial part of their decision-making: If time and opportunity permitted many Azande would wish to consult one or other of the oracles about every step of their lives.