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How did the expression “social anthropology” become pre-eminent in French academia? Why was “cultural anthropology” not successful in France? The answer seems to lie in the lineage leading from Durkheim to Lévi-Strauss through Mauss. However, this explanation takes scant account of an important debate –in which Lévi-Strauss was involved– between British and Americans about the nature of the anthropological discipline in the 1950s: Should anthropology be cultural or social? Is social anthropology really a part of “anthropology”? Or is it simply sociology? In France and the UK, supporters of social anthropology were victorious, even if Lévi-Strauss departs paradoxically from sociology when he takes structural linguistics as a model. In the United States, anthropology remained mainly “cultural”, that is to say, open to psychology, archeology, geography, technology, history, aesthetics and the humanities in general.
- Before the Confrontation
- The War of the Anthropologists
Anthropologists at Peace?
- How French Anthropology Became “Social”