This volume provides a guide to the ideas, arguments and history of social and cultural anthropology which discusses human social and cultural life in all its diversity and difference. Theory, ethnography and history are combined in over 230 substantial entries on topics as wide ranging as race, postmodernism, witchcraft and essentialism, magic and methodology. Areas covered include: history of anthropological research, colonialism, orientalism and occidentalism and theories of culture and society; kinship, gender and family, marriage and the body; and ritual and religion, language and linguistics, poetics, literacy, aesthetics, film and museums. The text features over 230 entries which give insights into anthropological thinking and definitions of specific terms. It contains a glossary with short explanations of more than 600 key terms and ideas and a biographical appendix which details the lives and work of over 250 important figures in the history of anthropology. The encyclopedia covers the many important areas of overlap between anthropology and related disciplines, from history and literary studies to social psychology.
Such topics include semantics, evolutionary theory and the influence of social theorists such as Marx, Durkheim and Weber. The text is alphabetically organized with extensive cross-referencing and indexing leading readers to specific definitions and explanations. Fully annotated primary and secondary bibliographies focus on established classics as much as recent works and provide further reading signposts to aid research.