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An Introduction to Two Theories of Social Anthropology

Descent Groups and Marriage Alliance

Louis Dumont
Translated by Robert Parkin

148 pages,

ISBN  978-1-84545-146-2 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Published (May 2006)

ISBN  978-1-84545-147-9 $24.95/£17.00 Pb Published (May 2006)

Hb Pb   Recommend to your Library

Louis Dumont, who died in 1998, was one of the most important figures in post-war French anthropology. He is well-known for his early work on India, which culminated in Homo Hierarchicus (1966; in English 1972, 1980), an anthropological account of the caste system. He later extended this work into a comparison of the values of Indian and western society in works like Essays on Individualism (1986) and German ideology: From France to Germany and Back (1994). He is also known for pioneering work on kinship in south India and more generally (for example Affinity as a Value, 1983). The current volume represents the fruits of this side of his activities and originated in as a series of lectures providing an account of the British and French schools for students.

Robert Parkin is a Departmental Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford. He has a longstanding interest in the anthropology of kinship, represented by Kinship: an Introduction to Basic Concepts (1997) and Kinship and Family: n Anthropological Reader (2004, edited with Linda Stone). He has also published a full-length study of Dumont in the same Berghahn series (Louis Dumont and hierarchical opposition, 2003).

Series: Volume 12, Methodology & History in Anthropology
Subject: Theory & Methodology in Anthropology Sociology

LC: GN487 .D86 2006

BL: YC.2006.a.17965

BISAC: SOC019000 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Methodology; SOC002000 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Anthropology/General; SOC026000 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Sociology/General

BIC: JHM Anthropology; JHB Sociology


Editor’s Introduction
Preface to the Tel Edition


A. What is Kinship?

Chapter 1. Notes and Queries
Chapter 2. Radcliffe-Brown

B. The Meaning of 'Kinship System'

Chapter 3. The Principle
Chapter 4. Characteristics of 'Kinship Systems' according to Radcliffe-Brown
Chapter 5. Sketch of a Theory of 'Systems'
Chapter 6. The Different Aspects of Kinship
Chapter 7. The Nature of Kinship: A Recent Discussion

C. Interpersonal Relations and 'Structural Principles'

Chapter 8. Interpersonal Relations: Terminology and Behaviour
Chapter 9. Radcliffe-Brown’s 'Structural Principles'
Chapter 10. The Main Principle: Descent


D. Before The Nuer

Chapter 11. Descent according to Rivers
Chapter 12. 'Descent' and 'Succession' in Radcliffe-Brown
Chapter 13. Unilineal Descent and Other Modes of Descent

E. Evans-Pritchard: The Nuer

Chapter 14. The Nuer: Structural Relativity
Chapter 15. The Nuer: Political System and Lineage System
Chapter 16. The Nuer: Clarifications and Explanations
Chapter 17. The Nuer: Mode of Correspondence between the Political System and the Lineage System
Chapter 18. The Idea of Structure in The Nuer

F. After The Nuer

Chapter 19. Meyer Fortes
Chapter 20. Jack Goody


G. Lévi-Strauss: Elementary Structures

Chapter 21. Introduction
Chapter 22. Elementary Structures: General Outline of the Restricted Theory
Chapter 23. Systems with Global Formulas: Australia
Chapter 24. Definitions: Restricted Exchange and Generalised Exchange; Harmony and Disharmony
Chapter 25. Cross-Cousin Marriage: Bilateral Form
Chapter 26. Cross-Cousin Marriage: Matrilateral Form
Chapter 27. Cross-Cousin Marriage: Patrilateral Form
Chapter 28. Cross-Cousin Marriage and Kinship Terminology
Chapter 29. Conclusion: The Contribution of Elementary Structures

H. After Elementary Structures

Chapter 30. Local and Global Points of View
(a) Exogamous Unit and ‘Exchange’ Unit
(b) Intermarriage in a Circle
(c) Oriented Intermarriage and ‘Hypergamy’

Chapter 31. Prescription and Preference: Patrilateral Marriage
Chapter 32. Social Integration and Mental Integration

Basic Bibliography
Other References in Text

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