Berghahn Books Logo

berghahn New York · Oxford

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
Contrarian Anthropology: The Unwritten Rules of Academia

View Table of Contents

See Related
Anthropology Journals

Email Newsletters

Sign up for our email newsletters to get customized updates on new Berghahn publications.

Click here to select your preferences

Contrarian Anthropology

The Unwritten Rules of Academia

Laura Nader

504 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-706-2 $179.00/£132.00 Hb Published (January 2018)

ISBN  978-1-78533-708-6 $39.95/£31.95 Pb Published (January 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-707-9 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $39.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“Laura Nader has been one of American anthropology’s leading figures since the 1960s...She is one of the founders of legal anthropology, but also has been a profound, highly documented, loyal, and liberal voice throughout  the decades. With this collection of essays, she gives an interesting overview of the topics she has been working on.... Laura Nader continues [her] line of research, superbly. Her book must be read.” • Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (JRAI)

“Overall, this volume reveals Nader to be a contrarian thinker who studies (and values) disputation, a legal anthropologist who studies the power differential between the governing and the governed, and a scholar who is committed to ethnography, hypothesis testing, and objectivity. Anyone interested in these topics will find this book an invaluable contribution to understanding both Nader’s life and anthropology more generally.” • Anthropological Forum

“This [amazingly informative] book comprises a collection of selected essays and articles and represents a retrospective of [Laura Nader’s] career, making it a gift to the anthropological community…An outstanding book whose general value lies in the broad historical perspective that it offers: a full immersion in the development of the discipline of anthropology in the United States and its consequences and influences throughout the rest of the academic and public world…[It]should be used as a textbook in almost every course in anthropology... Every anthropologist should read this book as a guide to let indignation be the creative force of our own research and challenge not only existing hegemonic forces, but also pillared paradigms within our discipline.” • Public Anthropology


Analyzing the workings of boundary maintenance in the areas of anthropology, energy, gender, and law, Nader contrasts dominant trends in academia with work that pushes the boundaries of acceptable methods and theories. Although the selections illustrate the history of one anthropologist’s work over half a century, the wider intent is to label a field as contrarian to reveal unwritten rules that sometimes hinder transformative thinking and to stimulate boundary crossing in others.

Laura Nader is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Her current work focuses on how central dogmas are made and how they work. Her most recent publication is What the Rest Think of the West – Since 600 AD (University of California Press, 2015). In 1995, the Law and Society Association awarded her the Kalven Prize for distinguished research on law and society. Nader is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Subject: Anthropology (General) Theory and Methodology Cultural Studies (General)




Chapter 1. Up the Anthropologist: Perspectives Gained From Studying Up
Chapter 2. Barriers to Thinking New about Energy
Chapter 3. The Vertical Slice: Child-Rearing and Children
Chapter 4. A User Theory of Law: Fourth Annual Alfred P. Murrah Lecture
Chapter 5. The Subordination Of Women In Comparative Perspective
Chapter 6. The ADR Explosion: Implications of Rhetoric in the Legal Reform
Chapter 7. Post-Interpretive Anthropology
Chapter 8. Orientalism, Occidentalism, and the Control of Women
Chapter 9. From Legal Process to Mind Processing
Chapter 10. Civilization and its Negotiations
Chapter 11. Coercive Harmony: The Political Economy of Legal Models
Chapter 12. The Three-Cornered Constellation: Magic, Science, and Religion Revisited
Chapter 13. The Phantom Factor: Impact of the Cold War on Anthropology
Chapter 14. Postscript on the Phantom Factor: More Ethnography of Anthropology
Chapter 15. Controlling Processes: Tracing the Dynamic Components of Power
Chapter 16. Pushing the Limits: Eclecticism on Purpose
Chapter 17. In a Woman’s Looking Glass: Normative Blindness and Unresolved Human Rights Issues
Chapter 18. Crime as a Category
Chapter 19. Breaking the Silence: Politics and Professional Autonomy
Chapter 20. Iraq and Democracy
Chapter 21. Law and the Theory of Lack: The 2005 Rudolph B. Schlesinger Lecture on International and Comparative Law
Chapter 22. Promise or Plunder? A Past and Future Look at Law and Development
Chapter 23. What the Rest Think of the West: Legal Dimensions
Chapter 24. The Words We Use: Justice, Human Rights and the Sense of Injustice
Chapter 25. Vengeance, Barbarism, and Osama Bin Laden: Full Circle
Chapter 26. Three Jihads—Islamic, Christian, and Jewish
Chapter 27. The Anthropologist, the State, the Empire and the “Tribe:” New Dimensions from Akbar Ahmed’s The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam. (Brookings Institution Press, 2013)
Chapter 28. Whose Comparative Law? A Global Perspective


Back to Top