Andrew Strathern

Andrew Strathern is Professor of Anthropology at University College, London. His most recent book, Ongka: A Self-Account by a New Guinea Big-Man, was published in 1979.

Taking heads

Andrew Strathern, 18 June 1981

In the last twenty years social anthropologists, dissatisfied with the formulations of their seniors, have experimented with a number of approaches, some of which, such as structuralism, have achieved notoriety while remaining obscure and contentious. Michelle Rosaldo is in search of meaning in culture, taking as her object of analysis the ‘text’ of what people say and do and constructing her work essentially as a translation of that text. No ‘ism’ attaches as a label to this enterprise, but it belongs to a trend in which Clifford Geertz, editor of the series to which this book belongs, has been prominent, and which Paul Rabinow has summarised in the maxim: ‘All culture is interpretation.’

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