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Lewis Henry Morgan's Comparisons: Reassessing Terminology, Anarchy and Worldview in Indigenous Societies of America, Australia and Highland Middle India

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Lewis Henry Morgan's Comparisons

Reassessing Terminology, Anarchy and Worldview in Indigenous Societies of America, Australia and Highland Middle India

Georg Pfeffer†

236 pages, 30 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-317-2 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (July 2019)

eISBN 978-1-78920-318-9 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $29.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“This book is the result of a lifetime’s work on the kinship systems of the indigenous people of Highland Odisha… For me [its] two key merits are the thoughtful reappraisal of Morgan it offers and the new data it presents on a much-neglected region of India.” • Chris Gregory, Australian National University


About 150 years ago Lewis Henry Morgan compared relationship terminologies, societal forms and ideas of property to recognize the interdependence of the three domains. From a new perspective, the book re-examines, confirms and criticizes Morgan’s findings to conclude that reciprocal affinal relations determine most ‘classificatory’ terminologies and regulate many non-state societies, their property notions and their rituals. Apart from references to American and Australian features, such holistic socio-cultural constructs are exemplified by elaborate descriptions of little known contemporary Indigenous societies in Highland Middle India, altogether comprising many millions of members.

Georg Pfeffer† was Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Freie Universität Berlin from 1985 to 2008. He participated in two long-term Orissa Research Projects of the German Research Foundation (DFG) to conduct extended ethnographic fieldwork in several indigenous societies of the Indian provinces Odisha and Jharkhand. He was also part of the group which founded the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) in 1989.

Subject: Anthropology (General) Cultural Studies (General)


List of Figures and Tables


Chapter 1. Life and Work of Lewis Henry Morgan (1818–1881)
Chapter 2. Tools and Types
Chapter 3. Seneca Revisited
Chapter 4. Omaha Skewing Reconsidered
Chapter 5. Highland Middle Indian (HMI) Terminologies
Chapter 6. Schneider, Relatedness, “Malayan”, and General Comparison
Chapter 7. Social Evolution and the Australian Anomaly
Chapter 8. Order in Anarchy: HMI Gentile Organization Compared
Chapter 9. Bridewealth and Gender in Highland Middle India
Chapter 10. The Dark Side of the Moon

Conclusion: For the Record


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