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Taboo, Truth and Religion
Franz B. Steiner
Edited and with an Introduction by Jeremy Adler and Richard Fardon
With a Preface by Mary Douglas
304 pages, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-57181-711-2 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (October 1999)
ISBN 978-1-57181-712-9 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (October 1999)
“These works… must be read and reread for their brilliance as individual pieces, but reading them as a collectivity makes the experience all the more richer and intellecutally challenging.” • American Anthropologist
Franz Steiner's study of Taboo is internationally recognized as a classic in its field. In a newly researched introductory chapter, based on a thorough study of Steiner's unpublished papers, this edition for the first time places the book in its context and offers a new reading of the text. More than just a critique of existing taboo theories, as it has often been seen, this study offers a profound analysis of danger behavior and pollution in "non-civilized" societies. This provided an important starting-point for Mary Douglas' Purity and Danger. A key aspect of Steiner's achievement lies in his attempt to reconcile detailed, faithful ethnographic analysis with anthropological comparison. His analysis of taboo thus provides a case study with wide-ranging ramifications.
This new edition makes a classic text available once again to students and general readers. A major new introduction based on archival research offers, for the first time, a biography and critical study of Franz Steiner; it not only places him in the context of British and European thought but also shows his importance for contemporary debates, among them deconstruction and Orientalism.
Jeremy Adler is Professor of German at King's College London and specializes ininterdisciplinary subjects such as literature and science, poetry and painting, literature and anthropology. He is currently preparing a collected edition of Franz Steiner's poetry for theGerman Academy of Language and Literature, Darmstadt.
Richard Fardon is Professor in West African Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London and has intensively researched among Chamba-speaking people in Cameroon and Nigeria. He is currently completing an intellectual biography of Mary Douglas.