Anthropology is no longer a singular discipline, but rather a blend of practices engaged in a variety of social contexts. A whole series of new questions have been posed by the sustained challenge which third world, black and feminist scholars have provided to the established agenda of the social sciences and humanities in recent years. It is this context that the nature and purpose of social knowledge, and in particular anthroplogical knowledge, comes into particular focus. The question 'What is social knowledge for?' is not intended to provoke an answer, but rather a series of interrogations. In The Future of Anthropological Knowledge the chapters explore the question of the nature of social knowledge from a variety of perspectives and locations such as China, Africa, the USA and elsewhere. By examining the changing nature of anthropological knowledge and of the production of that knowledge, this book challenges the notion that only western societies have produced social theories of modernity and of global scope.
Knowledge of society can no longer be restricted to a knowledge of face-to-face social relations but must encompass the effect of technology, global consumption patterns and changing geo-political configurations.