Theories in Anthropology

Theories in Anthropology

Lectures: 60

Seminars: 0

Tutorials: 0

ECTS credit: 5

Lecturer(s): prof. dr. Baskar Bojan

The course offers a general review of classical and selected recent theories in anthropology. (Structuralism and various strands of symbolic anthropology are dealt with in the course titled Symbolic Anthropology.)
Two key theories at the outset of anthropology: evolutionism and diffusionism.
Initiating 'revolution' of 'modern' British social anthropology: functionalism of Bronislaw Malinowski and structural functionalism of Alfred Radcliffe-Brown. The French sociology (E. Durkheim's school) as their dominant theoretical background. The establishment of modern French social anthropology: Marcel Mauss.
Culturalism (cultural relativism) in the US anthropology: Franz Boas and the generations of his disciples (A. Kroeber, C. Wissler, E. Sapir, Melville Herskovits, Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict...).
Cultural and social anthropology in the aftermath of WW II: the shift from cultural relativism back to evolutionist themes: neoevolutionism (Leslie White and his disciples) and cultural ecology. Julian Steward's formulation of the research program of cultural ecology and its turn into the theory of cultural adaptation, based on concepts and methods of biological ecology (Roy Rappaport, Andrew Wayda...).
Marxism in anthropology: numerous schools in various national anthropologies. Marxist structuralism (Maurice Godelier, Emmanuel Terray, Claude Meillasoux...) and other marxist or marxianizing strands (the school of cultural technology, ethnoecological strands, etc.) in the French anthropology. Marxism in American historical anthropology (Eric Wolf, Sidney Mintz...) and neoevolutionist strands (Leslie White, Marshall Sahlins, Robert Carneiro...).
Last quarter of 20th and the beginning of 21st century: dissociation and polarization of the humanist and scientist theoretical strands. Scientist line as represented by anthropological sociobiology (Napoleon Chagnon, Robin Fox...) and cognitive anthropology (Roy D'Andrade, Maurice Bloch...). Recent humanist strands as largely inspired by the philosophical currents of hermeneutics (Clifford Geertz or interpretive anthropology), phenomenology (Thomas Csordas, Alessandro Duranti...) and existentialism (Michael D. Jackson, Nigel Rapport...).
Marxist and anarchist anthropological traditions as continuing today with the critique of capitalism and neoliberal globalization and with theorizing the alternative social relations: world-systems theory, David Graeber, Andre Gunder Frank, Jack Goody, Jane Schneider, Jonathan Friedman, Susana Narotzky, Terence Turner, Marshall Sahlins...