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Louis Dumont and Hierarchical Opposition

Robert Parkin

264 pages, 3 figures, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-57181-578-1 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Published (March 2003)

ISBN  978-1-84545-647-4 $34.95/£24.00 Pb Published (March 2009)

eISBN 978-0-85745-552-9 eBook

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The work of Louis Dumont, who died in 1998, on India and modern individualism represented certain theoretical advances on the earlier structuralism of Claude Lévi-Strauss. One such advance is Dumont's idea of hierarchical opposition, which he proposed as a truer representation of indigenous ideologies than Lévi-Strauss's binary opposition. In this book the author argues that, although structuralism is often thought to have gone out of fashion, Dumont's greater concern with praxis and agency makes his own version of structuralism more contemporary. The work of his followers and fellow travelers, as well as his own, indicates that hierarchical opposition is capable of taking structuralism in new and more realistic directions, reminding us that it has never been the preserve of Lévi-Strauss alone.

Robert Parkin is a social anthropologist who took his doctorate at the University of Oxford in 1984 for a thesis on kinship in South and Southeast Asia. His main theoretical interests are in kinship, religion and identity, and he has conducted research and field enquiries in Orissa (India), Poland, Italy and Brussels.

Series: Volume 9, Methodology & History in Anthropology
Subject: Theory & Methodology in Anthropology Sociology
Area: Asia

LC: GN362 .P39 2003

BL: YC.2003.a.17938

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

BIC: JHM Anthropology; JHB Sociology


Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Needham’s Development of Hertz
Chapter 3. The Dumontian Reaction: understanding
Chapter 4. The Background to Dumont’s Revision in India and Elsewhere
Chapter 5. The Reception of Hierarchical Opposition
Chapter 6. The School of Dumont: From Classification to Ritual Analysis
Chapter 7. Residue, Cosmos and Economics
Chapter 8. Innocence and Possibility
Chapter 9. Legacies and Lessons


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