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Small Places, Large Issues

Small Places, Large Issues

An Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology

by Thomas Hylland Eriksen

Series: Anthropology, Culture and Society

Fully updated fifth edition of the classic introduction to social and cultural anthropology

This introduction to social and cultural anthropology has become a modern classic, revealing the rich global variation in social life and culture across the world.

Presenting a clear overview of anthropology, it focuses on central topics such as kinship, ethnicity, ritual and political systems, offering a wealth of examples that demonstrate the enormous scope of anthropology and the importance of a comparative perspective. Using reviews of key works to illustrate his argument, for over 25 years Thomas Hylland Eriksen's lucid and accessible textbook has been a much respected and widely used undergraduate-level introduction to social anthropology.

This fully updated fifth edition features brand new chapters on climate and medical anthropology, along with rewritten sections on ecology, nature and the Anthropocene. It also incorporates a more systematic engagement with gender and digitalisation throughout the text.

Thomas Hylland Eriksen is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo and former President of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA). He is the author of numerous classics of anthropology, including Small Places, Large Issues, Ethnicity and Nationalism and What is Anthropology?

'A masterful introduction to the wide range of subjects studied by anthropologists as well as to the distinctive perspectives they bring to bear on these matters.'

- Vered Amit, Professor Emerita of Anthropology, Concordia University

'In almost three decades since it was first published, this book has evolved with its subject, magnificently corroborating its author’s thesis, that the best anthropology addresses timeless themes of the human condition through a relentless focus on the contemporary. In a novelty-obsessed age, Eriksen’s encyclopaedic tour of comparative anthropology teaches us to build on classical foundations. This is not just another book in the library of anthropology; it is an entire anthropological library in one book.'

- Tim Ingold, Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Aberdeen

'Remains among the most brilliant summaries of key ideas animating anthropology. In his famously accessible writing style, Eriksen introduces fundamental questions that shape human life, and provides an overview of the discipline’s contribution to the pressing issues of our times. The new version will not only appeal to beginners, but is also a must-read for established professionals.'

- Ursula Rao, Director, Anthropology of Politics and Governance, Max-Planck-Institute for Social Anthropology

'Draws students into exploring our human diversity in all its intriguing manifestations, offering a wonderful way to grasp the excitement of anthropology and its focus on what it means to be human.'

- Rob Borofsky, Center for a Public Anthropology

'Authoritative, challenging, accessible, up-to-date, this is a splendid introduction to modern social anthropology. I would press it on anyone who wants a better grasp of the diversity of human ways of living. And it is a must-read for students.'

- Adam Kuper, Centennial Professor of Anthropology, London School of Economics

'This classic volume is quite simply the best introduction there is to social and cultural anthropology. Deeply grounded in the history of anthropological thought, it is also thoroughly up to date. More than that, it is unfailingly engaging, clear and accurate. There is no better place to go to begin to learn why anthropology has been and remains a vital discipline in the contemporary world.'

- Joel Robbins, Sigrid Rausing Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge

'Small Places, Large Issues shows us Thomas Hylland Eriksen in his admirable triple capacity as an anthropologist: the scholar, with depth and breadth of knowledge, and with a critical sense; the statesman, negotiating with fairness between anthropological camps; and the journalist, with a sense of what is new, zooming between close-up and Big Picture, and writing clearly about it all.'

- Ulf Hannerz

'This wonderfully lucid introduction to social and cultural anthropology readily captures students' attention. By delineating the past and present development of the discipline, Eriksen underscores continuities and challenges that inform the practice of anthropology in today's world. In presenting anthropology as a means for elucidating large issues through the analysis of small places, the book speaks eloquently to anthropology's intellectual vibrance and practical value.'

- Noel Dyck, Professor of Social Anthropology, Simon Fraser University

Series Preface
Preface to the fifth edition
1. Anthropology: Comparison and Context
2. A Brief History of Anthropology
3. Fieldwork and Ethnography
4. The Social Person
5. Local Organisation
6. Person and Society
7. Kinship as Descent
8. Marriage and Relatedness
9. Social differentiation 1: Gender and Age
10. Social differentiation 2: Caste and Class
11. Religion and Ritual
12. Language and Cognition
13. Politics and Power
14. Political identity 1: Ethnicity and the Politics of Identity
15. Political identity 2: Nationalism and Minorities
16. Economic Anthropology 1: Exchange and Consumption
17. Economic Anthropology 2: Production and Technology
18. Humanity and the Biosphere
19. Complexity and Change
20. Medical Anthropology
21. Anthropology and the Paradoxes of Globalisation
22. The Anthropology of Climate Change
Epilogue: Making Anthropology Matter

Published by Pluto Press in Jul 2023
Paperback ISBN: 9780745348193
eBook ISBN: 9780745348186

153mm x 234mm