Anthropology and the modern world

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This article argues that the discipline of anthropology can make vital contributions to the study of the “modern world”. Throughout the 20th century a series of anthropologists became aware that some of their main insights and concepts developed in their encounter with extra-European societies had an importance well beyond their geographic location. A very important reflexive tradition here goes back to Marcel Mauss and his study of gift relations and to Arnold van Gennep and his study of ritual passages. The chapter will go into some detail with some of these ideas and the anthropologists behind them, briefly indicating their relevance for the contemporary scene. Four concepts will be singled out for specific attention: liminality (as developed by Arnold van Gennep and Victor Turner), trickster logics (Paul Radin), schismogenesis (Gregory Bateson) and gift-giving (Marcel Mauss).
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Anthropology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)101-116
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes

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