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Ethnography and Development

Ethnography and Development: The Work of Richard F. Salisbury

Edited by Marilyn Silverman
Harvey A. Feit
Henry J. Rutz
Colin H. Scott
Marilyn Silverman
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 409
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  • Book Info
    Ethnography and Development
    Book Description:

    Richard Salisbury (1926-1989) was a pioneer in development anthropology and one of the founders of McGill University's anthropology department. His work had immense influence in the areas of economic anthropology, ethnographic practice (New Guinea, northern Canada) and policy formation. This volume commemorates and explores his life and work. Ethnography and Development presents eighteen articles written by Salisbury between 1954 and 1988, framed by seven original essays that explore his basic ideas as well as the intellectual and personal contexts in which he worked. The articles and essays highlight many of the issues that informed those of his generation who worked in economic and political anthropology, the anthropology of development, public anthropology, advocacy and applied anthropology, and in developing the organisational vehicles on which the profession currently depends. Salisbury's broad socio-economic vision, conceptual ideas, and socio-cultural ethnographic theories continue to exert a powerful influence on the discipline. Contributors include Harvey A. Feit (McMaster University), Henry J. Rutz (Hamilton College), and Colin H. Scott (McGill University).

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-8465-5
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iv)
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. I In Memoriam et ad Futuram: The Anthropology of Richard F. Salisbury (1926-1989)
    (pp. 1-10)
    Marilyn Silverman

    It sometimes happens that a profoundly influential and extremely active anthropologist emerges who gains international renown and respect. Such anthropologists spend years in the field, publish widely and intensively, and profoundly affect those around them and those who come after through their writings, teaching, personal dedication and organizational acumen. One such anthropologist was Richard F. Salisbury.

    Born in Chelsea, England, in 1926, Salisbury served in the Royal Marines between 1945 and 1948. He then studied Modern Languages at Cambridge University (B.A. 1949), received a certificate in Spanish in 1950 and studied anthropology with Meyer Fortes during 1950-1. He went on...

  5. II Ethnography and Social Structure in New Guinea: The Early Years
    (pp. 11-28)
    Henry J. Rutz

    There is no more abstract and formal part of anthropological science than kinship, or so it would seem. Irrelevant and out of reach to undergraduate minds, confounding to graduate students for whom kinship is a dry academicrite de passageon their way to becoming a Ph.D., the promise of every paradigm in the history of anthropological ideas nevertheless has been etched in debates about kinship. Kinship’s favourite word is ‘structure.’ Indeed, ‘social structure’ is virtually synonymous with kinship in the anthropological literature, denoting principles from which patterned social meaning and action are derived. In 1952, when a young and...

  6. 1. Siane Kinship: The Internal Structure of The Clan and the Child’s Adaptation to It
    (pp. 29-46)
    Richard F. Salisbury

    Into the patrilineally organised village group, the clan, the child is born and to its organisation it is adapted. First of all the child learns behaviour patterns and expectations within the family to which it is born, and then these patterns and expectations are generalised and extended to all the members of the group in which it lives. This then is the kinship structure of the clan, and the introduction to it is through specific behaviour patterns learnt in infancy.

    Before the birth of the child, the mother will continue work until the last moment. A mother may be working...

  7. 2. Structuring Ignorance: The Genesis of a Myth in New Guinea
    (pp. 47-60)
    Richard F. Salisbury

    Since the early 1900’s it has been out of fashion to theorize about the origin of myths: people have stressed functional interpretations of the relations between myths and the current activities of a society. Malinowski’s discussion of myths as “charters” exemplifies this, as does Firth’s (1961:175) detailed analysis of how variant forms of traditional tales are “pressure instruments (used by different groups) for keeping alive competing claims” and reflect “not so much ... differential memory as ... differential interests.” Yet such analyses, like those of how far myths reflect history, all imply a view of how myths originate. Crudely phrased,...

  8. 3. Asymmetrical Marriage Systems (1956)
    (pp. 61-82)
    Richard F. Salisbury

    This paper is a consideration of the association between the system of marriage relationships between groups, and their economic system of production and exchange. It is based on ethnographic material collected by the author in New Guinea, and on material from secondary sources. I try to show that where marriage is accompanied by prestations or payments of any kind, an asymmetrical marriage system can occur. Such a system exists when there is an unreciprocated flow of women going in one direction and a flow of goods going in the opposite direction. This asymmetry can exist despite the fact that the...

  9. 4. New Guinea Highland Models and Descent Theory (1964)
    (pp. 83-90)
    Richard F. Salisbury

    In 1956 I described the existence of an obligatory patrilateral cross-cousin-marriage rule among the patrilineal Siane of the New Guinea Highlands (Salisbury, 1956b). In view of some theorists’ failure to consider the ethnographical evidence when they assert that an obligatory patrilateral cross-cousin-marriage rule is impossible, it is perhaps appropriate to restate the ethnography in model form.¹ I hope to show that this model is one variant of a general model of corporate descent groups, and to assist in explaining why African models are inadequate for the understanding of New Guinea society (cf. Barnes 1962).

    The Siane group of tribes number...

  10. III Political Anthropology: Systems, Transactions and Regions
    (pp. 91-106)
    Marilyn Silverman

    Richard F. Salisbury saw himself as an economic anthropologist and, later, as an applied anthropologist. However, in pursuing the empirical and analytical agenda which underlay such designations, Dick invariably explored the political dimensions of social and economic life. This was because of several factors. In part, it came out of an anthropological holism which typified the structural-functional paradigm that dominated social anthropology in his formative years: the economic system, and thepolitical system,were seen as unquestionably interconnected. In part, too, it resulted from the ethnographic context in which Dick did field work. In his earliest field research, the nature...

  11. 5. Political Consolidation and Economic Development – Vunamami: Economic transformation in a Traditional Society (1970)
    (pp. 107-122)
    Richard F. Salisbury

    Four main themes have run through this book. Here I shall try to bring them together in relation to the central underlying aim of the work – the understanding of the meaning of economic development.

    Two of the themes have been primarily ethnographic. First, in describing how economic change looks from a village point of view, I have tried to analyse for each activity the economic concepts used by the local people in making their allocational choices. The result has been, I believe, to show that in each activity there is economic rationality, not always in the short term but in...

  12. 6. An Anthropologist’s Use of Historical Methods (1967)
    (pp. 123-132)
    Richard F. Salisbury

    My forthcoming book,Vunamami: Economic Transformation in a Traditional Society,indicates how an unsophisticated anthropologist with interests in economic theory, but dissatisfied with the short-run picture obtained from fieldwork alone, became involved in what has turned out to be a major historical study, taking almost ten years of work. It indicates how the research focused down on the history of a particular village – Vunamami – and why it was felt that the study of such a “worm’s eye view” of history could yield a more thorough insight into the processes of economic change and development than is provided by the macro-view...

  13. 7. Transactional Politics: Factions and Beyond
    (pp. 133-152)
    Richard F. Salisbury

    When a theorist first clearly defines a new concept that has emerged vaguely in earlier empirical work, the usual reaction of other theorists is to elaborate the concept, to describe variant sub-types, and to proceed with what Leach (1962) called “butterfly collecting.” When Nicholas (1965) defined what distinguished factions as units in political conflict, this process did not occur. No great consideration was given to documenting the variety of factional forms or processes, or to constructing typologies offactionson the basis of induction from empirical cases. Such study is still needed, but the decade 1965-1975 has seen the emergence...

  14. IV Anthropological Economics
    (pp. 153-164)
    Henry J. Rutz

    A number of years ago I attended a dinner for the Fellows of the National Humanities Institute at the University of Chicago. The speaker that evening was Philip Rieff, then Benjamin Franklin Professor at the University of Pennsylvania and author ofFellow Teachers.Rieff had spent his long and distinguished career interpreting Freud as a master of modernism. His main point was that master teachers need good disciples. Richard Salisbury was a master teacher who attracted dozens of graduate students to anthropology at McGill University, myself among them. As a younger member of a loose coalition of anthropologists who were...

  15. 8. Anthropology and Economics (1968)
    (pp. 165-178)
    Richard F. Salisbury

    A review of the relations between Anthropology and Economics is made easier¹ by the existence of an excellent summary of their relationship, through 1960, written by Joseph Berliner (1962). Since the state of the two disciplines has changed considerably from 1960, a stock-taking of these changes is in order. For the first principles, the reader is referred to Berliner’s work.

    Berliner’s major analysis showed that all social science data can be visualized as a matrix with rows representing particular societies and columns standing for such entities as “economy” and “religion.” Anthropology has involved mainly the comparison of all cells in...

  16. 9. Formal Analysis and Anthropological Economics: The Rossel Island Case (1968)
    (pp. 179-196)
    Richard F. Salisbury

    The present study attempts to demonstrate the utility of formal analysis in anthropological economics, by making sense of a body of reported¹ data, which a “substantivist” analysis (Dalton 1965) and a more traditional economic analysis (Barić 1964) discard as inconsistent. Anthropological economics... takes as its aim the demonstration of the logic of choice used for resource allocation — that is, it accepts the aims of economics but, using empirical data of the kind familiar to anthropologists, it studies those sectors of social behavior to which the classical analysis of traditional economics does not apply. It assumes that choices are made logically,...

  17. 10. Non-Equilibrium Models in New Guinea Ecology: Possibilities of Cultural Extrapolation
    (pp. 197-214)
    Richard F. Salisbury

    The ecosystem models most commonly used to organise the data obtained from traditional subsistence-based societies have been equilibrium models. This has been particularly true for New Guinea, where one of the most sophisticated such analyses - that of Rappaport (1968) has been a paradigm. Unfortunately, despite their sophisticated techniques for the collection of data, such studies have relied on data from only relatively short time periods. The multitude of variables measured for any one society have not been fully demonstrated to be causally related, but most have rather beenassumedto be functionally related. Much “ecology” has actually been a...

  18. 11. Introduction – Vunamami: Economic Transformation in a Traditional Society (1970)
    (pp. 215-232)
    Richard F. Salisbury

    Can the non-industrial countries achieve sustained economic development using their own resources alone? This book’s answer is “Yes, given adequate resources, and given the right social changes during development.” The answer is based on a detailed study of ninety years of development in a small society in New Guinea. A succession of technological changes, each one associated with a political change, has led the society to the threshold of sustained development — a net capital investment of from 10 to 23 percent of income, almost 100 percent literacy, and rapidly rising incomes. Although much of the study does describe the economics...

  19. V Applying Knowledge: Anthropological Praxis and Public Policy
    (pp. 233-256)

    In the midst of an academic world that has become increasingly specialized, increasingly sceptical of claims to sound knowledge and wisdom, and increasingly ambiguous about the role of scholarship in the wider world, Richard Salisbury stands out. He believed in the value of an intellectually rigorous point of view, a commitment to what he thought was right and a passionate activism in the service of other people and peoples. He said repeatedly that knowledge was for use and that informed decisions were better than uninformed ones.

    Salisbury was among the few anthropologists who were as well known for their applied...

  20. 12. The Nature of the Present Study: Development and James Bay: Social Implications of the Hydro-electric Proposals (1972)
    (pp. 257-268)
    Richard F. Salisbury

    The James Bay Development Project has become a major controversy within Quebec, and indeed within Canada generally. The present study is not intended to take sides in this controversy; it aims to present facts, and by making inferences from these facts to present some of the likely outcomes of particular actions which might be taken in the development of the region. These outcomes are of many kinds, some favourable and some unfavourable to the Indians of the James Bay region. It is hoped that by spelling out in advance — three and eight years in advance — what these outcomes might be,...

  21. 13. The Anthropologist as Societal Ombudsman (1976)
    (pp. 269-280)
    Richard F. Salisbury

    Since April 1971 my colleagues and I, of the McGill Programme in the Anthropology of Development, have been involved in two projects of what may be called applied anthropology, one in New Guinea and one in northern Canada. Both, it is felt, imply a somewhat new conception of the role of the anthropologist as an intermediary in trouble situations between central agencies and local groups. A report on the two projects and an analysis of the conditions under which this role emerges is timely.

    The substantive findings of both projects have akeady been published asProblems of the Gazelle Peninsula...

  22. 14. The North as a Developing Nation (1979)
    (pp. 281-294)
    Richard F. Salisbury

    The theme for this Conference is “At the Turning Point.” If we look at the history of the Developing World — the Third World as many of us refer to it — for the last forty years, one major event stands out as the turning point for each developing nation — the achieving of political independence. What I want to do tonight is to look at what that turning point has meant for the nations of the Third World, what happened before independence and what is currently happening, and to see what lessons their experience has for Canada as the north approaches its...

  23. 15. Application and Theory in Canadian Anthropology: The James Bay Agreement
    (pp. 295-308)
    Richard F. Salisbury

    The major theme of this paper is how within Canadian anthropology both theory and application have advanced alternately in a dialectic mutual stimulation. It will argue that the present high international status accorded to Canadian applied anthropology can be related to its strong emphasis on theory (at least in the fields of economic and transactional anthropology), and to the mutual trust that has developed in Canada between researchers and policy-makers. It uses as its main example the McGill University Programme in the Anthropology of Development (PAD), but links this example to wider trends.

    Before 1960 the application of anthropology in...

  24. 16. The Economics of Development through Services: Findings of the McGiix Programme Among the Cree
    (pp. 309-328)
    Richard F. Salisbury

    In high-income countries over half of the labor force works in the service sector, and much smaller proportions work in farming, resource extraction, or manufacturing; development in the Third World always involves a disproportionate increase in service employment. Materialists since the eighteenth century have decried this as “parasitic” on the “real” sources of wealth — farming or industry. This paper suggests, by contrast, that increasing service employment may, under certain circumstances, be a highly effective way of inducing greater productivity in both primary and secondary industries, and thus of achieving the higher living standards and diversified economy that constitute development. In...

  25. VI Organizing For The Common Good: Developing Anthropology
    (pp. 329-354)
    Colin H. Scott

    Richard Salisbury was a man of extraordinary vitality and creativity who achieved a great deal in developing organizational structures to further the work of anthropology and its impact in the wider society. The present chapter is an account of some factors that shaped this contribution: his values and sense of societal mission, his personal style, intellectual positions and strategic insight - always in vigorous dialogue with unfolding historical conditions and opportunities.

    An impression that emerged vividly and immediately as I reviewed his organizational work for this chapter was that Dick was more excited by architecture than by building-maintenance. He moved...

  26. 17. Applied Anthropology in Canada: Problems and Prospects
    (pp. 355-366)
    Richard F. Salisbury

    I shall take the unusual step in this paper of defining “applied anthropology,” not as what some academic anthropologists do in their spare time, as what is done by people trained as anthropologists who earn their livelihood by applying their anthropological training. Some academics may do similar things, but clearly the demography of the discipline indicates that “applied anthropology” as I define it is the growth point of the discipline. I look at the problems involved in applying anthropology, outside academe, both to raise consciousness and to illuminate some of the problems that academic anthropology and anthropologists may face.


  27. 18. Les défis et contraintes de l’anthropologie du développement: Entrevue avec Richard F. Salisbury
    (pp. 367-372)

    À quoi tient, selon vous, la réputation Internationale de vos travaux en anthropologie appliquée et en anthropologie du développement d’une part, et la méconnaissance ou du moins la distance relative entre vos travaux et ceux de la «tradition francophone» d’autre part?

    Peut-être pourrions-nous attribuer la reconnaissance de nos travaux à deux types de facteurs: une emphase importante accordée à la théorie (du moins dans les domaines de l’économie et de l’anthropologie transactionnelle), ainsi qu’une confiance mutuelle que nous avons progressivement établie avec les «policy-makers.» Quant à la distance relative entre anthropologues francophones et anglophones ici-même au Québec, sans doute faudrait-ilo...

  28. VII. Richard F. Salisbury: A Chronological Bibliography
    (pp. 373-384)
  29. VIII The Contributors
    (pp. 385-388)
  30. INDEX
    (pp. 389-398)