Doctoral studies

subject area
university status  
Tarragona, Spain



Language: Spanish Studies in Spanish
Subject area: humanities
Kind of studies: full-time studies
University website:
Anthropology is the study of humans and human behaviour and societies in the past and present. Social anthropology and cultural anthropology study the norms and values of societies. Linguistic anthropology studies how language affects social life. Biological or physical anthropology studies the biological development of humans.
The great attraction of cultural anthropology in the past was precisely that it seemed to offer such a richness of independent natural experiments; but unfortunately it is now clear that there has been a great deal of historical continuity and exchange among those "independent" experiments, most of which have felt the strong effect of contact with societies organized as modern states. More important, there has never been a human society with unlimited resources, of three sexes, or the power to read other people's minds, or to be transported great distances at the speed of light. How then are we to know the effect on human social organization and history of the need to scrabble for a living, or of the existence of males and females, or of the power to make our tongues drop manna and so to make the worse appear the better reason? A solution to the epistemological impotence of social theory has been to create a literature of imagination and logic in which the consequences of radical alterations in the conditions of human existence are deduced. It is the literature of science fiction. … [S]cience fiction is the laboratory in which extraordinary social conditions, never possible in actuality, are used to illumine the social and historical norm. … Science fiction stories are the Gedanken experiments of social science.
Richard Lewontin "The Last of the Nasties?" in New York Review of Books (2/29/96)
Economics and cultural anthropology … have as their clear presuppositions one or the other of the two states of nature. Locke argued that man’s conquest of nature by his work is the only rational response to his original situation. … Economics comes into being as the science of man’s proper activity, and the free market as the natural and rational order. … Rousseau argued that nature is good and man far away from it. So the quest for those faraway origins becomes imperative. … What economists believe to be things of the irrational past—known only as underdeveloped societies—become the proper study of man, a diagnosis of our ills and a call to the future. … Economists teach that the market is the fundamental social phenomenon, and its culmination is money. Anthropologists teach that culture is the fundamental social phenomenon, and its culmination is the sacred. Such is the confrontation—man the producer of consumption goods vs. man the producer of culture, the maximizing animal vs. the reverent one.
Allan Bloom (1987) The Closing of the American Mind. p. 361-363
Adventure has no place in the anthropologists profession; it is merely one of those unavoidable drawbacks, which detract from his effective work through the incidental loss of weeks or months
Claude Lévi-Strauss (1955) Tristes Tropiques

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