With the ‘cultural turn’, the concept of culture has assumed enormous importance in our understanding of the interrelations between social, political, and economic structures, patterns of everyday interaction, and systems of meaning-making. In The SAGE Handbook of Cultural Analysis, the leading figures in their fields explore the implications of this paradigm shift. Addressed to academics and advanced students in all fields of the social sciences and humanities, this Handbook is at once a synthesis of advances in the field, with a comprehensive coverage of the scholarly literature, and a collection of original and provocative essays by some of the brightest intellectuals of our time.

Anthropology and Culture

Anthropology and culture

Concerned, as were many of the early ‘Boasian’ anthropologists, to comment on a distinction between the objects of ‘historical science’ and ‘natural science’ that Franz Boas (1887) deemed crucial, Alfred Kroeber once wrote, ‘the tree of life is eternally branching, and never doing anything fundamental but branching, except for the dying-away of branches. The tree of human history, on the contrary, is constantly branching and at the same time having its branches grow together again’ (Kroeber, 1943: p. 86). Kroeber's metaphor of entanglement can serve well enough for the history of anthropology, and of the culture concept in relationship to the discipline. But to untangle the strands of such intellectual and institutional histories, we should remember that the history of ...

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