Anthropology, History, and Doubt
This introduction sets out the basic themes of the relationship between anthropological evidence and theory and the Christian faith. It situates this study in the context of British social anthropology, and reflects on why the particular figures covered in the main chapters were chosen. It also presents a brief history of British social anthropology: the social evolutionism of the early period, the move to functionalism which was accompanied by the new standard of participant-observer fieldwork, and then the addition of structuralism and its interests in abstractions. Subsequent trends included a humanistic turn, emphases on process, symbolism, meaning, and indigenous exegesis, and turning the anthropological gaze directly on modern, industrial societies. Finally, the assumption that the discipline of anthropology has an anti-faith bias is documented.
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