If you want to know what anthropology is, look at what anthropologists do. This Very Short Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology combines an accessible account of some of the disciplines guiding principles and methodology with abundant examples and illustrations of anthropologists at work. Peter Just and John Monaghan begin by discussing anthropologys most important contributions to modern thought: its investigation of culture as a distinctively human characteristic, its doctrine of cultural relativism, and its methodology of fieldwork and ethnography. They then examine specific ways in which social and cultural anthropology have advanced our understanding of human society and culture, drawing on examples from their own fieldwork. The book ends with an assessment of anthropologys present position, and a look forward to its likely future.
Peter Just is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts. His research and teaching interests include law and dispute settlement, religion and magic, and the cross-cultural study of personality and emotions. He is the author of Dou Donggo Justice: Conflict and Morality in an Indonesian Society (Rowman & Littlefield, 1998).
John Monaghan is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Vanderbilt University, and author of The Covenants With Earth and Rain: Exchange, Sacrifice, and Revelation in Mixtec Sociality (University of Oklahoma Press, 1995).