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The Voice of Prophecy

And Other Essays

Edwin Ardener†
Second and Expanded Edition
Foreword by Michael Herzfeld, Harvard University

388 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-769-7 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Published (October 2017)

eISBN 978-1-78533-557-0 eBook

Hb   Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Buy the ebook from these vendors



“Ardener is the Czerny of anthropology, concerned with technical training, with how to think productively within the discipline. He should be read above all by postgraduates and postdoctoral researchers, whose formation is not yet ‘completed.’…As exercises to form the anthropological mind, these papers are both unique and irreplaceable.”  · JRAI

“The intellectual bequest of a brilliant and compassionate human being.”  · Michael Herzfeld, Harvard University

“His voice is as deeply needed as ever. Ardener anticipated numerous central issues in the social sciences today…This publishing event will achieve something much more significant still: a long-overdue recognition that Ardener not only forged ahead of today’s mainstream but bequeathed a legacy of ideas that can regenerate and redirect anthropological thought today. This new edition will allow a new and more receptive audience to come to grips with Ardener’s distinctive mode of analysis and understanding, bringing it more clearly into the mainstream of anthropological thought not only as a historical contribution but also, and especially, as a source of new reflections.” (From the Foreword)

Edwin Ardener† was one of the most important social anthropologists in Britain of his time, working on social, economic, demographic and political problems and particularly influential in his sustained effort to bring together social anthropology and linguistics in a highly original attempt to reconcile scientific and humanistic approaches to the study of society. This volume offers the best of Ardener’s papers and forms a theoretically and conceptually coherent body of work by this innovative and profound thinker, which will continue to excite and stimulate new generations of students and researchers as it did in the past.

Subject: General Anthropology Gender Studies


Michael Herzfeld

Malcolm Chapman


The Ardener Papers
Chapter 1. Social Anthropology and Language (with editorial preface)
Chapter 2. The New Anthropology and its Critics


Chapter 3. Language, Ethnicity and Population
Chapter 4. Belief and the Problem of Women
Chapter 5. Some Outstanding Problems in the Analysis of Events
Chapter 6. 'Behaviour' - a Social Anthropological Criticism
Chapter 7. Social Anthropology and Population
Chapter 8. The 'Problem' Revisited
Chapter 9. The Voice of Prophecy
Chapter 10. 'Social Fitness' and the Idea of 'Survival'
Chapter 11. Comprehending Others
Chapter 12. The Problem of Dominance
Chapter 13. Social Anthropology and the Decline of Modernism
Chapter 14. 'Remote Areas' - some Theoretical Considerations
Chapter 15. Witchcraft, Economics and the Continuity of Belief
Chapter 16. Social Anthropology and the Historicity of Historical Linguistics
Chapter 17. Edward Sapir, 1884-1939
Chapter 18. The Construction of History: 'Vestiges of Creation'

Postscript I: The Prophetic Condition
Kirsten Hastrup

Postscript II: Towards a Rigorously Empirical Anthropology
Maryon McDonald

Appendix: Edwin Ardener - a Bibliography


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