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On the Order of Chaos
Social Anthropology and the Science of Chaos
Edited by Mark S. Mosko and Fred Damon
296 pages, 33 illus., index
ISBN 978-1-84545-023-6 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (October 2005)
ISBN 978-1-84545-024-3 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (October 2005)
“Through a sequence of theoretically stimulating and ethnographically diverse contributions, the volume engages with ‘chaos models’ developed by mathematicians and natural scientists studying complex dynamic systems.” · Anthropological Forum
"I have rarely seen such an excellent collection of articles. And it cannot be more timely. Within the covers of this volume we find some of the most original and brightest minds in anthropology today…this is a truly unique volume that will make a major and original contribution to anthropology and far beyond." · Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney
Over the past two decades, “chaos theory” – the perception of order previously hidden in phenomena of apparent randomness and disorder – has fundamentally transformed the natural sciences. In recent years, numerous scholars in the social sciences and humanities have attempted to adapt the insights of chaos theory to their studies of human cultural and social systems. Several of the world’s leading anthropologists, such as Roy Wagner, Marshall Sahlins, Marilyn Strathern, and Arjun Appadurai – have similarly drawn upon particular elements of chaos theory for their inspiration, but as yet there is no focused, comprehensive treatment of the applicability of chaos theory to anthropology’s distinctive ethnographic and cross-cultural materials. This edited volume fills the gap, with both accessible theoretical discussions of chaos theory applications in anthropology and detailed ethnographic and historical illustrations from Africa and Melanesia.
Mark S. Mosko is Professor of Anthropology in the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at the Australian National University.
Fred Damon is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Virginia.