Closed Systems and Open Minds: The Limits of Naivety in Social Anthropology

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9780202308593: Closed Systems and Open Minds: The Limits of Naivety in Social Anthropology

Social anthropology, defined operationally in terms of what social anthropologists have done in the last fifty years, is the study and comparison of tribal societies and of small fields of social life with emphasis on the role of custom. When a social anthropologist's research leads him into any field, which belongs to other disciplines, what line should he adopt? What use may he make of the results that other scholars have already achieved? Must he knowingly make naive assumptions concerning events, which they have regarded as complex? In each of the fascinating essays which in turn form the core of this book - V. W. Turner's on symbols in Ndembu ritual; F.G. Bailey's on disputes which occurred in two Orissa villages; A. L. Epstein's on urban communities in Africa; T. Lupton's and S. Cunnison's on the relationship between behaviour in three Manchester workshops and certain events which happened outside; and W. Watson's on social mobility and social class in a coalmining Scottish burgh-several social anthropologists attempt to answer these questions by discussing the problems of method that they have encountered in their own recent research; and in the searching discussion which sum up the results. To analyze one first has to circumscribe one's field, and then simplify within the area of circumscription. Both circumscription and simplification may involve procedures of absorbing, abridging, and making naive assumptions. The contributors draw attention to the attempt to distinguish between psychical facts (emotions, thoughts, etc.) and psychological, which we believe should apply only to statements within the science of psychology, and not to be used by the former. They similarly distinguish between social facts and sociological or social-anthropological statements. ""Psychological"" and ""sociological"" are so well established in common parlance as adjectives to categorize facts that attempts to specialize them as hopeless.

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About the Author:

Max Gluckman (1911-1975) was founder and head of the department of social anthropology and sociology at the University of Manchester. He is well known for his many books and articles on the peoples of South and Central Africa and on social anthropology in general. He was a political activist and was strongly and openly anti-colonial.

Review:

“The individual essays are of a very high standard and provoke theoretical and methodological questioning on a number of issues.”—Alasdair MacIntyre, the Philosophical Quarterly

“This is an original and stimulating...and we should be grateful to its authors for having brought into the open some important questions which are only too often slurred over or taken for granted.”—J. H. M. Beattie, Man

“This is an important book. [The writers] have written a series of essays on an important problem, that of the limits of the field of competence of the social anthropologist. . . . This book does much to show us that research is a hard and rigorous business.”—John Middleton, American Anthropologist

“In this book Mac Gluckman, a social anthropologist, and Ely Devons, an aconomist, report a methodological inquiry in collaboration with their sometime colleagues of the Univeristy of Manchester. Their stuffy focuses ultimately on two basic problems of social science: how an investigator delimits his field of study, and whether he is justitified in making “naïve” assumptions about the phenomena and concepts of other disciplines which impinge on his area of inquiry. . . . Anthropologists familiar with Gluckman’s many contributions to social anthropology will not be surprised to find that Close Systems and Open Minds contains a message: the genius excepted, wise researchers will adopt a prudent policy of sound conservatism. The authors and their collaborators have raised basic issues of method.”—Harry W. Basehart, Science

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Book Description Taylor Francis Inc, United States, 2006. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Pbk Printing ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. Social anthropology, defined operationally in terms of what social anthropologists have done in the last fifty years, is the study and comparison of tribal societies and of small fields of social life with emphasis on the role of custom. When a social anthropologist s research leads him into any field, which belongs to other disciplines, what line should he adopt? What use may he make of the results that other scholars have already achieved? Must he knowingly make naive assumptions concerning events, which they have regarded as complex? In each of the fascinating essays which in turn form the core of this book - V. W. Turner s on symbols in Ndembu ritual; F.G. Bailey s on disputes which occurred in two Orissa villages; A. L. Epstein s on urban communities in Africa; T. Lupton s and S. Cunnison s on the relationship between behaviour in three Manchester workshops and certain events which happened outside; and W. Watson s on social mobility and social class in a coalmining Scottish burgh-several social anthropologists attempt to answer these questions by discussing the problems of method that they have encountered in their own recent research; and in the searching discussion which sum up the results. To analyze one first has to circumscribe one s field, and then simplify within the area of circumscription. Both circumscription and simplification may involve procedures of absorbing, abridging, and making naive assumptions. The contributors draw attention to the attempt to distinguish between psychical facts (emotions, thoughts, etc.) and psychological, which we believe should apply only to statements within the science of psychology, and not to be used by the former. They similarly distinguish between social facts and sociological or social-anthropological statements. Psychological and sociological are so well established in common parlance as adjectives to categorize facts that attempts to specialize them as hopeless. Bookseller Inventory # AA69780202308593

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Book Description Taylor Francis Inc, United States, 2006. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Pbk Printing ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. Social anthropology, defined operationally in terms of what social anthropologists have done in the last fifty years, is the study and comparison of tribal societies and of small fields of social life with emphasis on the role of custom. When a social anthropologist s research leads him into any field, which belongs to other disciplines, what line should he adopt? What use may he make of the results that other scholars have already achieved? Must he knowingly make naive assumptions concerning events, which they have regarded as complex? In each of the fascinating essays which in turn form the core of this book - V. W. Turner s on symbols in Ndembu ritual; F.G. Bailey s on disputes which occurred in two Orissa villages; A. L. Epstein s on urban communities in Africa; T. Lupton s and S. Cunnison s on the relationship between behaviour in three Manchester workshops and certain events which happened outside; and W. Watson s on social mobility and social class in a coalmining Scottish burgh-several social anthropologists attempt to answer these questions by discussing the problems of method that they have encountered in their own recent research; and in the searching discussion which sum up the results. To analyze one first has to circumscribe one s field, and then simplify within the area of circumscription. Both circumscription and simplification may involve procedures of absorbing, abridging, and making naive assumptions. The contributors draw attention to the attempt to distinguish between psychical facts (emotions, thoughts, etc.) and psychological, which we believe should apply only to statements within the science of psychology, and not to be used by the former. They similarly distinguish between social facts and sociological or social-anthropological statements. Psychological and sociological are so well established in common parlance as adjectives to categorize facts that attempts to specialize them as hopeless. Bookseller Inventory # AA69780202308593

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Book Description Taylor Francis Inc, United States, 2006. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Pbk Printing ed.. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Social anthropology, defined operationally in terms of what social anthropologists have done in the last fifty years, is the study and comparison of tribal societies and of small fields of social life with emphasis on the role of custom. When a social anthropologist s research leads him into any field, which belongs to other disciplines, what line should he adopt? What use may he make of the results that other scholars have already achieved? Must he knowingly make naive assumptions concerning events, which they have regarded as complex? In each of the fascinating essays which in turn form the core of this book - V. W. Turner s on symbols in Ndembu ritual; F.G. Bailey s on disputes which occurred in two Orissa villages; A. L. Epstein s on urban communities in Africa; T. Lupton s and S. Cunnison s on the relationship between behaviour in three Manchester workshops and certain events which happened outside; and W. Watson s on social mobility and social class in a coalmining Scottish burgh-several social anthropologists attempt to answer these questions by discussing the problems of method that they have encountered in their own recent research; and in the searching discussion which sum up the results. To analyze one first has to circumscribe one s field, and then simplify within the area of circumscription. Both circumscription and simplification may involve procedures of absorbing, abridging, and making naive assumptions. The contributors draw attention to the attempt to distinguish between psychical facts (emotions, thoughts, etc.) and psychological, which we believe should apply only to statements within the science of psychology, and not to be used by the former. They similarly distinguish between social facts and sociological or social-anthropological statements. Psychological and sociological are so well established in common parlance as adjectives to categorize facts that attempts to specialize them as hopeless. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780202308593

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