It is true that anthropology might have worked sometimes (or many, actually) as a colonial device and as a tool to subtly (or not, in some cases) construct appropriate (or inappropriate, depending on the point of view) notions of cultural identity whose essential purpose may have been to foster some political operation of domination (or some barren causerie, at best) in the face of any call for an otherwise unattainable (or fake, as some may put it) scientific insight.

That said, and without denying the ethos (or pathos) of deconstruction, the great anthropologist Maurice Godelier (author of The Making of Great Men and The Enigma of the Gift) gives us in his last book (Au fondement des sociétés humaines, Albin Michel, 2007, first twenty pages available in French here) a quite compelling list of important truths that anthropology have to deliver to whoever cares. Namely: (1) that there are things that can be given away, things that can be sold and things that cannot be neither sold nor given but that need to be kept; (2) that never a society has been grounded in family or kinship; (3) that always more that a woman and a man has been needed to make a child; and (4) that human sexuality is essentially asocial. Whow.


  1. 1 Save the Holy Family « Test Society

    […] Godelier, see also a comment in That Said.) No Comments Leave a Commenttrackback addressThere was an error with your comment, please […]

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