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Small Places, Large Issues: An Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology (Anthropology, Culture and Society) [Hardcover]

Thomas Hylland Eriksen
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
RRP: 65.00
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Book Description

4 Jun 2010 0745330509 978-0745330501 3
This concise introduction to social and cultural anthropology has become a modern classic, revealing the rich global variation in social life and culture.

The text provides a clear overview of anthropology, focusing 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. Unlike other texts on the subject, Small Places, Large Issues incorporates the anthropology of complex modern societies. Using reviews of key monographs to illustrate his argument, Eriksen's lucid and accessible text remains an established introductory text in anthropology.

This new edition is updated throughout and increases the emphasis on the interdependence of human worlds. There is a new discussion of the new influence cultural studies and natural science on anthropology. Effortless bridging the perceived gap between "classic" and "contemporary" anthropology, Small Places, Large Issues is as essential to anthropology undergraduates as ever.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Pluto Press; 3 edition (4 Jun 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745330509
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745330501
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 13.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,412,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


This book fills a gap in the market and fills it in an exemplary fashion. (Journal of Area Studies)

About the Author

Thomas Hylland Eriksen is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo. He is the author of numerous books, including Ethnicity and Nationalism, A History of Anthropology, Small Places, Large Issues, Tyranny of the Moment and Globalisation, all available from Pluto Press.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
When heading to university to study Anthropology, I made the mistake of thinking I would be able to borrow most of the necessary texts for my course from the library. How wrong I was. Luckily one of the few books I did buy was this, the Anthropological equivalent of the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy.

For the whole of my degree I would start any essay by opening my copy of 'Small Places', scanning the index and reading Eriksen's informative yet condensed account of almost every key topic a young Anthropology undergraduate will encounter - gender, hierarchies, politics, exchange, ethnicity, religion, marriage, fieldwork and kinship. From here, I would explore his suggestions on further reading, and note any interesting entries in the bibliography that I could chase up at 11p.m. the evening before a deadline.

Eriksen's ability to inter-link every topic he covers with a broad range of classic anthropological theory means that, as well as picking up the fascinating quirks of other cultures that you can later drop in to conversation (or when you inevitably have to explain to people exactly what it is you study), you get a solid grounding in the 'drier' stuff that scores you brownie points in seminars and essays. In this sense I found Small Places, Large Issues to be infinitely superior to other 'Introductory' books that my fellow students had purchased.

One thing to note is that while incredibly useful, this book relatively brief (about 300 pages covering 18 actual topics) and is only intended to act as an 'introduction' to an issue. If used correctly, it will provide you with a brilliant stepping-stone on to other books and ethnographic texts with which to formulate your essays.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Introduction 12 July 2011
By Nick
I would highly recommend this book to anyone new to social anthropology. This was a great little book of reference to me throughout my masters and is well written with nice examples both contemp and classic. Personally I found this slightly better than some of the other introductory texts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very useful 12 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book is split into helpful sections that cover most of the 'large issues' that face anthropologists, for example; kinship, gender, political order etc. In the relevant section it details the history of the debate, the major participants and their viewpoints, as well as any central or classic case studies (i.e. the 'small places' of the title). As a first year undergrad I've found this book extraordinarily helpful.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Does what is says on the tin 22 July 2011
By APerry
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I ordered this book to prepare for my studies in October, as I'm currently volunteering in Brazil it was a bit of a hassle to get the book, the first order went missing. But amazon sent another order which arrive really quickly. As for the book it's a perfect introduction to cultural anthropology!!
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Anthropology book 20 Nov 2010
By hgmtc
I thought that this is a good book to buy if your studying anthropology, I just prefer his other book 'what is anthropology' as I find it a better read. It is worth buying though if your interested in the subject or studying it.
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