Anthropology at the Crossroads

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Anthropology at the Crossroads

The View from France

Edited by Sophie Chevalier

Vol. 1 of the RAI Country Series.

The influence of French intellectual thought on anthropology worldwide has been immense. This set of outstanding essays examines the influence of Lévi-Strauss, internal debates concerning anthropology’s place within French culture, the way that anthropologists in France approach the dilemmas of practising in a globalized world, and the shifting relationship between anthropology and museums. They also contain a highly stimulating discussion of how anthropology ‘at home’ has a particular trajectory in France. Together, they allow us to appreciate better why France has been such a stimulating laboratory for anthropological thought and why it is likely to remain so in the future. Indeed, leading figures have emerged there not only because of the brilliance of French academic culture, but also because of a specific readiness to combine an interest in public life and philosophy with anthropology.

‘A splendid volume: extremely informative and very clearly written. The editor and the authors are to be congratulated on the way they have worked up the material into a coherent account of the contemporary French anthropological scene. It provides a model for subsequent works in the series, and a model too in general for how to make a collection of essays into a good book.’

Tim Jenkins, Reader in Anthropology and Religion, University of Cambridge

‘This compelling book provides rich insight into the traditions and institutions of French anthropology, and a unique perspective on the new theoretical approaches that are shaping the discipline’s renewal after Lévi-Strauss.’

Marc Abélès, Director of Research, CNRS Director of Studies, EHESS

Contributors; Introduction: Accommodating globalization – Sophie Chevalier; Chapter 1: Anthropology in France today: A view from within – Sophie Chevalier and Emmanuelle Lallement; Chapter 2: Lévi-Strauss and his heirs – Emmanuel Désveaux; Chapter 3: The contemporary turn of anthropology: (Still) endeavouring to understand the world around us – Michel Agier; Chapter 4: The rise and fall of French ‘anthropology at home’: (With some reference to Britain) – Sophie Chevalier; Chapter 5: Can French anthropology outlive its museums?: Notes on a changing landscape – Benoît de L’Estoile; Chapter 6: Ethnologists and the city: A history of an object and of disciplines – Emmanuelle Lallement; Chapter 7: Métissage and kinship: Two key concepts in the study of diaspora – Anne-Christine Trémon; Index.

Sophie Chevalier, the editor of these essays, has long played a leading part in organizing and publishing French anthropology, as president of one of its professional associations, an instigator of the first unified national association for anthropology and founding editor of the multimedia online journal, Here she has brought together prominent French anthropologists and some younger scholars to show that anthropology there is responding creatively to domestic institutional pressures as well as to the challenges of globalization.

Hardback, ISBN 978-1-907774-40-9, £47.50 (GBP), $80.00 (USD)

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