Top positive review
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Excellent, easily readable introduction
on 16 August 2010
This book was mainly written for students in social anthropology, but the author's very clear, jargon-free language and the book's progressive structure make it accessible to anyone interested in the basics of social/cultural anthropology.
Besides defining key-concepts such as taboo and purity, gifts, exchanges and reciprocity, the notion of symbol, the status of "art", cosmology, law and social control or family,kinship and marriage, Pr Hendry presents the origins of social anthropology, how it has evolved with our own society, and the challenges that science is facing in our present global world where new technologies (planes, mobile phones, the Internet etc), tourism, and frequent migration movements have allowed more and more people from different cultures to meet and interact. The author also mentions what she or other anthropologists think social anthropology can bring to those who work or live in multi-cultural contexts.
The techniques used by anthropologists aren't really dealt with: this is an introduction to the subject. Numerous references are made to essays or articles which are listed at the end of each chapter in a commented "References and Further Research" section, together with references to websites, films and even novels.
Even though you might like to alternate each chapter of this "Introduction to Social Anthropology" with some "lighter reading", Pr Hendry's book is a very pleasant read thanks to its clear, lively style and the many examples from real anthropological observations from the author's own field work or by other anthropologists. It is definitely accessible to all those who are interested in the subject. No previous knowledge is required.
(Review of the second edition)