The Scope of Anthropology

The Scope of Anthropology: Maurice Godelier’s Work in Context

Laurent Dousset
Serge Tcherkézoff
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 296
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qcx2m
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Scope of Anthropology
    Book Description:

    Some of the most prominent social and cultural anthropologists have come together in this volume to discuss Maurice Godelier's work. They explore and revisit some of the highly complex practices and structures social scientists encounter in their fieldwork. From the nature-culture debate to the fabrication of hereditary political systems, from transforming gender relations to the problems of the Christianization of indigenous peoples, these chapters demonstrate both the diversity of anthropological topics and the opportunity for constructive dialogue around shared methodological and theoretical models.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-332-7
    Subjects: Anthropology, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-24)
    Laurent Dousset and Serge Tcherkézoff

    ‘From initiation rituals in papua new guinea to the Twin Towers’: this is how Maurice godelier (2008b) summarizes the anthropological project and its remit, the scope of anthropology. hegel’s declaration that ‘nothing that is human is foreign to me’ is both apt and applied in practice, simultaneously tracing the purpose of a scientific programme and the curves of a personal trajectory. More than a simple assertion that the human being is a social animal, Maurice godelier’s work is guided by the precept that the human being has to actively produce society in order to live. It is a condition of...

  5. Chapter 1 SOME THINGS YOU SAY, SOME THINGS YOU DISSIMULATE, AND SOME THINGS YOU KEEP TO YOURSELF: LINGUISTIC, MATERIAL, AND MARITAL EXCHANGE IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF MELANESIAN SOCIETIES
    (pp. 25-45)
    Joel Robbins

    As is the case for so many others of my generation, Maurice godelier’s theoretical work and his Baruya ethnography have both been important parts of my thinking since the beginning of my education in anthropology. In the context of engaging his work here, it thus seems fitting to return to an ethnographic problem that has been with me nearly as long. The problem I am referring to is that of secrecy, the topic on which I originally planned to focus my research before turning to the study of christianity, my direction changed by the primary concerns of the Urapmin people...

  6. Chapter 2 THE ENIGMA OF CHRISTIAN CONVERSION: EXCHANGE AND THE EMERGENCE OF NEW GREAT MEN AMONG THE MAISIN OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA
    (pp. 46-66)
    John Barker

    In his account of changes in Baruya society following european contact in 1951, Maurice godelier writes intriguingly of ‘a small group of young Baruya men who represent a new kind of great man’ (godelier 1986: 205).¹ These six or seven individuals were among the first generation to attend village schools run by the lutheran Mission in the 1960s. Adopting the missionaries’ contempt for indigenous rituals, mythology and shamanism, they excelled at their studies and in due course received mission sponsorship to attend secondary and tertiary schools elsewhere in papua new guinea, moving on to mainly secular professional careers as the...

  7. Chapter 3 ALIENATING THE INALIENABLE: MARRIAGE AND MONEY IN A BIG MAN SOCIETY
    (pp. 67-85)
    Polly Wiessner

    A prominent theme in the work of Maurice godelier is that humans have to create structured societies in order to live, and that society must adapt to a changing world. his best known illustration is the elegant contrast between equivalent versus unequivalent exchange in big man and great man societies based on the different ways that men dominate and exchange women in marriage (godelier 1982). This formulation, grounded in years of meticulous fieldwork among the Baruya of papua new guinea, spurred major projects in re-examining systems of production, kinship and exchange, and their relationships to power (godelier and Strathern 1991,...

  8. Chapter 4 ANTHROPOLOGY AND THE FUTURE OF SEXUALITY STUDIES: AN ESSAY IN HONOUR OF MAURICE GODELIER
    (pp. 86-109)
    Gilbert Herdt

    Nofield has contributed more to the understanding of human sexuality than anthropology, at least in the Academy, and in the twentieth century, not only did anthropological theory fundamentally alter the representation and understanding of sexuality across cultures, but it also contributed to a new way of thinking about the place of sexuality in late modern society. In this essay I wish to pay tribute to the work of Maurice godelier in contributing to this development, especially in his new guinea ethnographies, and suggest a future direction.

    The field of sexuality in the nineteenth century began with a strongly medical orientation,...

  9. Chapter 5 MATERIAL AND IMMATERIAL RELATIONS: GENDER, RANK AND CHRISTIANITY IN VANUATU
    (pp. 110-154)
    Margaret Jolly

    In the darkened recesses of the Musée du Quai Branly, in a section dedicated to men’s houses and male figures of ancestral power, I encounter several slit gongs from Malakula, in a style reminiscent of photographs in John layard’sStone Men of Malekula(1942).¹ These do not have the famous carved faces of those from north Ambrym, with their huge hooked noses and their bulbous, compelling eyes but are starker, simpler embodiments, more barely anthropomorphic. But the body of one gong is not so bare. This is a distinctivetambour des deux visages(drum with two faces) from North East Malakula:...

  10. Chapter 6 THE MAKING OF CHIEFS: ‘HEREDITARY SUCCESSION’, PERSONAL AGENCY AND EXCHANGE IN NORTH MEKEO CHIEFDOMS
    (pp. 155-190)
    Mark S. Mosko

    Maurice Godelier’sThe Making of Great Men(1986) has achieved deserved renown in pacific ethnology for having identified the ‘great man’ as a type of pacific leader as different from the classic pair of ‘big man’ and ‘chief’.¹ our ethnographic analyses and comparisons across oceania will consequently never be the same. But godelier’s great man is theoretically innovative in refocusing anthropological understandings of indigenous leadership to varying modes of exchange – in particular, the differing implications of exchanging women for other women or for goods – to the presence or absence of collective initiations, and in raising anew issues of hereditary succession...

  11. Chapter 7 WHAT IS LEFT OUT IN KINSHIP
    (pp. 191-205)
    Robert H. Barnes

    Godelier’s extensive survey of metamorphoses of kinship broaches many issues of recent topicality, yet also addresses many topics for which there is a long anthropological lineage (Godelier 2004). I have tried to present a reasonably representative summary of his views accessible to Anglophone readers (Barnes 2006). Inevitably there were some matters which had to be left aside simply because the space available dictated that some selection be made. I think one or two of these points deserve reverting to, and would like to discuss them briefly in the following. In particular I would like to consider some loose points in...

  12. Chapter 8 MAURICE GODELIER AND THE ASIATIC MODE
    (pp. 206-211)
    Jack Goody

    Maurice Godelier has many faces. In Britain he was an inspirer of the trend, so important in the 1960s, towards a Marxist anthropology. Secondly, he was well known for his long and very detailed fieldwork among the Baruya of new guinea, an in-depth analysis that ran somewhat against the work of much anthropology in france. In some ways this depth of analysis was more British than the British. his other outstanding feature was his long interest in kinship, the family and incest, even when these subjects had ceased to be fashionable in other parts of the world. I could discuss...

  13. Chapter 9 THE DIALECTIC OF COSMOPOLITANIZATION AND INDIGENIZATION IN THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD SYSTEM: CONTRADICTORY CONFIGURATIONS OF CLASS AND CULTURE
    (pp. 212-245)
    Jonathan Friedman

    I first met Maurice Godelier in the late 1960s when as a student I had the good luck to attend a quite fantastic summer seminar which was informally held at the collège de france and in which the participants were claude Meillassoux,P.P. Rey, E.Terray, Maurice Godelier and a number doctoral students. It was an exciting occasion to say the least. Whatever the disagreements, and there were plenty at a theoretical level, this was a period just before things became more tribalized, not only on the left, of course. This was also the tail end of an intellectual period...

  14. PUBLICATIONS BY MAURICE GODELIER
    (pp. 246-263)
  15. NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. 264-268)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 269-288)