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Marcel Mauss (1872-1950) was the leading social anthropologist in Paris between the world wars, and his "Manuel D'ethnographie", dating from that period, is the longest of all his texts. Despite having had four editions in France, the Manuel has hitherto been unavailable in English. This contrasts with his essays, longer and shorter, many of which have long enjoyed the status of classics within anthropology. We are therefore pleased to present, in the English language for the first time, this extraordinary work that is based on the more than thirty lectures Mauss delivered each year under the title "Instructions in descriptive ethnography, intended for travelers, administrators and missionaries." Although some elements of his lectures have dated, the fundamental questions he explores concerning the range and classification of social phenomena he formulates and explores have lost nothing of their freshness and urgency.
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