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Anthropology in the Public Arena: Historical and Contemporary Contexts



Anthropology in the Public Arena: Historical and Contemporary Contexts

Jeremy MacClancy

ISBN: 978-1-118-47552-2 January 2013 Wiley-Blackwell 248 Pages


This articulate and authoritative survey of both the popular and academic trends in anthropology demonstrates the broad relevance of anthropological knowledge and argues for a more inclusive conception of the discipline that engages the public imagination.

  • Demonstrates the evolving social contexts of British anthropological theory and practice from the mid-19th century
  • Highlights the importance of popular anthropology in forming and sustaining the professional discipline
  • Explores the past and present cross-fertilization of anthropologists, scientists and prominent literary figures
  • Assesses the pioneering efforts online to advance the role of anthropology in public debates
  • Appeals to a broader readership interested in cultural and intellectual history

Acknowledgments x

1 Beating the Bounds of Discipline? Innovation at the Margins and Beyond 1

2 John Layard, “Study of a Failure”: An Innovative Integrated Approach from the Psychoanalyst 58

3 Geoffrey Gorer, “Britain’s Margaret Mead”: Blending Anthropology and Travelogue 81

4 Robert Graves: Empowering Anthropological Modes of Explanation in Myth and Ritual 110

5 Mass Observation: A Radical, Popular Ethnography of the People, by the People, and for the People 135

6 The Literary Image of the Anthropologist 158

7 Parting Comments: Public Interest, Multiple Anthropologies 184

Bibliography 193

Index 228