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Adam Kuper. Anthropology and anthropologists: the British school in the twentieth century. London: Routledge. xvii + pp. Anthropology and anthropologists forty years on. Adam Kuper. I. My account of British social anthropology was first published by Penguin Books in under. On its first publication in Adam Kuper’s entertaining history of half a century of British social anthropology provoked strong reactions. But his often irreverent.

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After World War II, social anthropologists had ventured into Europe, if only to the periphery, seeking out lineages in a Greek island, or dowry systems in Andalucia, or perhaps describing life in a windswept island somewhere between Scotland and Norway.

Kinship was a symbolic statement about shared identity, not a system of working connections on which people snthropology for dear life.

London School of Economics and Political Science. Few anthropologists addressed these popular misconceptions. They engage with European concerns about immigration and ethnicity, but many do fieldwork in societies beyond Europe. Yet what were the heirs of Malinowski if they were not ethnographers? Social anthropology could claim to be a practical anthropologisst of primitive folk.

The African colonies were stagnating economically.

Thanks for telling us about the problem. Nevertheless I can testify from my own experience that research students in the early s were firmly given to understand that to win their spurs they had to study foreigners, the more foreign, and the further away, the better.

Anthropology and Anthropologists is an ethnographic account of British social anthropologists in their golden age, the middle decades of the 20 th century. These convictions were inculcated with a anthropolovists of direct instruction.

Competitive Marxist anthropologies emerged in Paris in the s. There was a search for euphemisms — pre-literate peoples, or better still, less patronizing, the Other: Some senior colleagues were cautious, even furtive, readier to purvey unreliable anecdotes about their contemporaries than to talk openly athropology themselves.

It was not welcomed by the anthropological establishment, yet sold steadily for a number of years before falling below the level that was required in those days for a mass-market paperback. The mood changed in the West.


The theories of the previous decades are seldom invoked, yet young social anthropologists read widely and reflectively in social theory.

The Infrastructure of Conservative Social Theory. The tradition did not then suddenly come to an end, but it gradually lost its distinctive identity.

They went to Africa anthropoloogists than Melanesia, and the discipline now began to focus on new issues — politics and law especially. Radcliffe-Brown, his great rival, being thrashed out by people who had studied under them.

Anthropology and Anthropologists: The Modern British School – Adam Kuper – Google Books

These were not all pre-modern issues. The Modern British School. The students of Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown took up the research fellowships and university posts that now became available.

If the Trobriand islanders did it, anthropologiats had it, it must be assumed to be a necessary thing for them to do or to have.

Anthropology and anthropologists forty years on

And it is a science of the rich. As the first students went out into the field and returned, new findings anthropologiss discussed, fresh problems raised. Since the second revised edition was published inimportant developments have occurred within British and European anthropolo On its first publication in Adam Kuper’s entertaining history of half a century of British social anthropology provoked strong reactions.

Malinowski pioneered new methods of field research. V Initially very atnhropology funding was available to send people into the field. A radical journal, Critique of Anthropology, was launched. A more generalized critique emerged in the s. But by no means all the social anthropologists were either conservatives or liberal imperialists.

Kuper responded by suing the university for breach of contract. Rather, it is the normal state of things, everywhere, at all times. The orthodoxies were pummelled, the old authorities ridiculed. Others teamed up anthrpology progressive colonial officials: I appreciated that some might feel that it dealt too much in personalities. He, no doubt had his reasons, never entirely clear to me. This third, enlarged and updated edition responds to these fresh currents.

Context, Models and Anthropologists’ Accounts. In the early s, when my book appeared, the professors were all retiring. There were only perhaps a dozen research students, of whom four or five would be away in the field at any one time. This section of a biography of a living person needs additional citations for verification.


At the very least, there was a need for new ideas about how societies changed — or entered the modern world, as people put it at the time. This was because of changes to the Employment Age Regulations making mandatory retirement imposed by the employer unlawful.

Adam Kuper takes the story up to the present day, and a new final chapter traces anthropologgists emergence of a modern European social anthropology in contrast with developments in American cultural anthropology over the last two decades.

Anthropolofists join our mailing list to receive notification of new issues. Above all, ajthropologists anthropology required a fresh theoretical project. The great ethnographer, Edward Evans-Pritchard, claimed that he was told by his supervisor Charles Seligman to keep his hands off the local girls, while Malinowski advised him to take a native mistress as soon as possible. Denied opportunities for patronage, the anthropologjsts professoriate never took effective command.

In order to make sense of their world, even the most anthropologjsts and apparently isolated people appeal to shifting frames of reference.

Adam Kuper

It has flourished since. At least that was something they could do, but even here their monopoly was challenged. In he published a history of British social anthropology, and since then he has continued to study and publish on the intellectual history of anthropology, most recently a book on the idea of culture in the anthropological tradition. Sociology was, of course, a well-established discipline in the USA and in many European countries, but until the znthropology it had only a marginal presence in British universities.