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The Retreat of the Social: The Rise and Rise of Reductionism

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Volume 6

Critical Interventions: A Forum for Social Analysis

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The Retreat of the Social

The Rise and Rise of Reductionism

Edited by Bruce Kapferer

132 pages, Pocket Size 4.25” x 7”

ISBN  978-1-84545-175-2 $14.95/£11.95 Pb Published (September 2005)

eISBN 978-1-78238-719-0 eBook

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The powerful individualist and subjectivist turn in anthropology - a turn that cannot be easily separated from larger political processes of neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism - is one factor resulting in notions of the social and of society as becoming little else than empty shells of small or no analytical value.

The essays presented here, all by leading anthropologists, take a variety of positions on the matter of the retreat of the social. All demonstrate that if anthropology and other social sciences are to fulfill the task of a critical understanding of the diverse realities in which we all must live, these disciplines will find it impossible to so do without a strong concept of the social.

Bruce Kapferer is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Bergen. He has held academic positions in Zambia, Manchester, Adelaide, London, and Queensland and carried out extensive fieldwork in Zambia, Sri Lanka, India, Australia, and South Africa.

Subject: Theory & Methodology in Anthropology


Introduction: The Social Construction of Reductionist Thought and Practice
Bruce Kapferer

Chapter 1. The Relocation of the Social and the Retrenchment of the Elites
Jonathan Friedman

Chapter 2. Legends of Fordism: Between Myth, History, and Foregone Conclusions
George Baca

Chapter 3. More Power to You, or Should It Be Less?
Christopher C. Taylor

Chapter 4. Methodological Individualism and Sociological Reductionism
Roger Just

Chapter 5. Reductionism and Misunderstanding Human Sociality
Thomas Ernst

Chapter 6. Theories and Ideologies in Anthropology
Jukka Siikala

Chapter 7. Death of the Indian Social
Rohan Bastin

Chapter 8. When Nothing Stands Outside the Self
André Iteanu

Chapter 9. From Bell Curve to Power Law: Distributional Models between National and World Society
Keith Hart

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