Chapter

Introduction

Eric R. Wolf

in Pathways of Power

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2001 | ISBN: 9780520223332
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520924871 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520223332.003.0001
Introduction

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This chapter presents an account of the author's life. The underlying theme is the issue of power and his central concern with power and its historical trajectories. He believed that anthropology is a cumulative enterprise and that new work should build on that which came before, whether to develop it further or to criticize it and change course. The chapter refers to the author's determination during graduate school to learn all that was presented. He thought even then that a discipline was marked as much by past efforts which came to naught as by shining promises of clarification in the future. One had to understand both, and sometimes the endeavors of the past were as interesting for the questions asked as they proved to be uninspired in their execution. The author's writings review the history of how anthropology brought the study of complex societies and world systems into its purview.

Keywords: power; anthropology; complex societies; historical trajectories; world systems

Chapter.  3905 words. 

Subjects: Theory and Practice of Anthropology

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