The Value of Comparison - The Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures (Hardback)
  • The Value of Comparison - The Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures (Hardback)
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The Value of Comparison - The Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures (Hardback)

(author), (foreword)
£80.00
Hardback 208 Pages / Published: 03/06/2016
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In The Value of Comparison Peter van der Veer makes a compelling case for using comparative approaches in the study of society and for the need to resist the simplified civilization narratives popular in public discourse and some social theory. He takes the quantitative social sciences and the broad social theories they rely on to task for their inability to question Western cultural presuppositions, demonstrating that anthropology's comparative approach provides a better means to understand societies. This capacity stems from anthropology's engagement with diversity, its fragmentary approach to studying social life, and its ability to translate difference between cultures. Through essays on topics as varied as iconoclasm, urban poverty, Muslim immigration, and social exclusion van der Veer highlights the ways that studying the particular and the unique allows for gaining a deeper knowledge of the whole without resorting to simple generalizations that elide and marginalize difference.

Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 9780822361398
Number of pages: 208
Weight: 431 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 18 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"The Value of Comparison gives a rather unflinching critique of Western cultural assumptions while firmly seated in the very field it scrutinizes. . . . [Van der Veer] does not merely critique traditional methods and pathways of analysis used in sociological research, but offers concrete examples and discussions where a more nuanced and complex comparative method can be applied and produce better results." -- Juli L. Gittinger * Reading Religion *
"Self-consciously intent on fragmenting certainty, Peter van der Veer makes a very convincing case for the productive instability and provocative inconclusiveness of definitive conclusions. As all good books do, this one opens outward to suggest as many questions as it answers." -- Joseph S. Alter * Pacific Affairs *
"Van der Veer's project is not to tell the origin stories of anthropology, but look to the future where the comparative anthropological lens will focus on crucial sociocultural `fragments' to dismantle the logic of Western modernity and rationality. This informative and theoretically sophisticated work will serve as an important reckoner to that end." -- Debjani Chakravarty * International Sociology *
"[A] fresh and lucid text. . . . Putting comparison back on the agenda is timely and necessary not only for organizing our research projects but also for finding a way out of the partly imposed and partly self-chosen relative isolation in which anthropologists often find themselves in academia and public debate." -- Birgit Meyer * HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory *
"I challenge any reader not to come away from it feeling both wiser and better informed about its empirical subject matter, and invigorated about the pragmatic power of anthropological comparison." -- Matei Candea * HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory *

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