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The Voice of Prophecy: And Other Essays

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The Voice of Prophecy

And Other Essays

Edwin Ardener†
Foreword by Michael Herzfeld, Harvard University
Edited and with an Introduction by Malcolm Chapman
Postscripts by Maryon McDonald and Kirsten Hastrup

388 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-769-7 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (October 2017)

eISBN 978-1-78533-557-0 eBook

Hb   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®



“Ardener is the Czerny of anthropology, concerned with technical training, with how to think productively within the discipline. He should be read above all by postgraduates and postdoctoral researchers, whose formation is not yet ‘completed.’…As exercises to form the anthropological mind, these papers are both unique and irreplaceable.” • Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

“The intellectual bequest of a brilliant and compassionate human being.” • Michael Herzfeld, Harvard University

“His voice is as deeply needed as ever. Ardener anticipated numerous central issues in the social sciences today…This publishing event will achieve something much more significant still: a long-overdue recognition that Ardener not only forged ahead of today’s mainstream but bequeathed a legacy of ideas that can regenerate and redirect anthropological thought today. This new edition will allow a new and more receptive audience to come to grips with Ardener’s distinctive mode of analysis and understanding, bringing it more clearly into the mainstream of anthropological thought not only as a historical contribution but also, and especially, as a source of new reflections.” (From the Foreword)


Edwin Ardener - a new expanded edition of the collected works of one of the most important social anthroplogists in Britian of his time. Ardener worked on social, economic, demographic and political problems, and was particularly influential in his sustained effort to bring together social anthropology and linguistics in a highly original attempt to reconcile scientific and humanistic approaches to the study of society. This volume offers a theoretically and conceptually coherent body of work by this innovative and profound thinker, which will continue to excite and stimulate new generations of students and researchers as it has in the past.

Born in 1927, Edwin Ardener† was a British social anthropologist and academic. He was also noted for his contributions to the study of history. Within anthropology, some of his most important contributions were to the study of gender. He also performed extensive fieldwork and wrote numerous works on Cameroon.

Subject: Anthropology (General) Gender Studies and Sexuality


Michael Herzfeld

Malcolm Chapman


The Ardener Papers
Chapter 1. Social Anthropology and Language (with editorial preface)
Chapter 2. The New Anthropology and its Critics


Chapter 3. Language, Ethnicity and Population
Chapter 4. Belief and the Problem of Women
Chapter 5. Some Outstanding Problems in the Analysis of Events
Chapter 6. 'Behaviour' - a Social Anthropological Criticism
Chapter 7. Social Anthropology and Population
Chapter 8. The 'Problem' Revisited
Chapter 9. The Voice of Prophecy
Chapter 10. 'Social Fitness' and the Idea of 'Survival'
Chapter 11. Comprehending Others
Chapter 12. The Problem of Dominance
Chapter 13. Social Anthropology and the Decline of Modernism
Chapter 14. 'Remote Areas' - some Theoretical Considerations
Chapter 15. Witchcraft, Economics and the Continuity of Belief
Chapter 16. Social Anthropology and the Historicity of Historical Linguistics
Chapter 17. Edward Sapir, 1884-1939
Chapter 18. The Construction of History: 'Vestiges of Creation'

Postscript I: The Prophetic Condition
Kirsten Hastrup

Postscript II: Towards a Rigorously Empirical Anthropology
Maryon McDonald

Appendix: Edwin Ardener - a Bibliography


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