Humanity is at a crossroads. We face mounting inequality, escalating political violence, warring fundamentalisms and an environmental crisis of planetary proportions. How can we fashion a world that has room for everyone, for generations to come? What are the possibilities, in such a world, of collective human life? These are urgent questions, and no discipline is better placed to address them than anthropology. It does so by bringing to bear the wisdom and experience of people everywhere, whatever their backgrounds and walks of life.
In this passionately argued book, Tim Ingold relates how a field of study once committed to ideals of progress collapsed amidst the ruins of war and colonialism, only to be reborn as a discipline of hope, destined to take centre stage in debating the most pressing intellectual, ethical and political issues of our time. He shows why anthropology matters to us all.
Introducing Polity’s Why It Matters series: In these short and lively books, world-leading thinkers make the case for the importance of their subjects and aim to inspire a new generation of students.
- Chapter 1: On taking others seriously
- Chapter 2: Similarity and difference
- Chapter 3: A discipline divided
- Chapter 4: Rethinking the social
- Chapter 5: Anthropology for the future
- Further reading
Thomas Hylland Eriksen, University of Oslo
‘Anthropology: Why It Matters is both an introduction to and a profound meditation on the classic questions of anthropology. It is a model of what I would call “companionable thinking”.’
Veena Das, Johns Hopkins University