About the Book
Is there a basic difference in thinking between Western and non-Western societies? This long-debated yet highly topical problem forms the central question to which distinguished contributors in the fields of psychology, linguistics, history, and sociology and, more particularly, of social anthropology and philosophy, address themselves in this interdisciplinary collec-tion. They are: Barry Barnes, Benjamin N. Colby and Michael Cole, Ruth Finnegan, Ernest Gellner, Robin Horton, J. M. Ita, Hilary Jenkins, Steven Lukes, Nobuhiro Nagashima, S. J. Tambiah, W. H. Whiteley, and Sybil Wolfram. The central ideas of this classic work are reformulated and refined in the various contributions with different possible dichotomies discussed such as: 'traditional/modern', 'industrial/non- industrial', or 'scientific/non-scientific', and 'thinking, ' analyzed in terms of its thought processes, content, logic or social background. The material in the book, which is dedicated to Sir Edward Evans-Pritchard, falls within the general area of the comparative sociology of knowledge, and will thus particularly interest philosophers, social anthropologists, and sociologists. The volume is however conceived in an interdisciplinary spirit and will be of interest to anyone seriously concerned to examine the nature of thinking in our own and other societies. ""The essays gathered here are dedicated to E.E. Evans-Pritchard, whose pioneering fieldwork of the 1920s-30s led to a reshaping of social anthropology through his publications and teaching at Oxford after the War, and up to the early 1970s. He opened up a range of issues not only linking the peoples of the educated West with the wider world, but also linking anthropology with ongoing concerns in political science, philosophy, linguistics, and literary and religious studies. Over the years since its first appearance, the relevance of this book has undoubtedly increased along with the current complexity of human contact and communication. It will surely be welcomed by a new generation of readers."" -Wendy James, CBE, FRAI, FBA, Social Anthropologist Ruth Finnegan OBE, FBA, Emeritus Professor Open University. Her work has mainly been on oral performance, narrative, the ethnography of music, and communicating (including extra-sensory perception). Her publications include Oral Literature in Africa, The Hidden Musicians, Communicating: the Multiple Modes of Human Communication, Why Do We Quote? and, most recently, the novels Black Inked Pearl, Voyage of Pearl of the Seas, and The Helix Pearl. Born in Ireland, she now lives in Old Bletchley, southern England. Robin Horton, FBA Professor at the University of Port Harcourt in Rivers State, Nigeria, is an English social anthropologist and philosopher who, in a series of influential works since the 1950s, has challenged and expanded views in the study of religion and anthropology--most notably, his celebrated Patterns of Thought in Africa and the West: Essays on Magic, Religion and Science. He has lived in Africa for four decades where he continues to conduct research on African indigenous religions, magic, mythology, and rituals.