Not Really a View from Without: The Relations of Social Anthropology and Sociology

J. D. Y. Peel

in British Sociology Seen from Without and Within

Published by British Academy

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780197263426
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734298 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Occasional Papers

Not Really a View from Without: The Relations of Social Anthropology and Sociology

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This chapter argues that the histories of social anthropology and sociology in Britain have been so closely intertwined and overlapping that they cannot really be seen as external to one another at all. The two disciplines have common origins in the social thought of the Enlightenment. This was an enquiry into the character of the emergent, modern society of contemporary Europe, with a view to realizing the conditions for human emancipation from tyranny, ignorance, and poverty. By the early 1950s, sociology at the London School of Economics started to acquire the coherence and momentum that would power its lift-off in the 1960s. Many sociologists and anthropologists were attracted by the new analytical possibilities offered by structuralism, but they were also drawn by external circumstances to address issues of social change. The resurgence of Marxism, as much a feature of the late 1960s and 1970s as the rise of structuralism, was much more a response to events in the world than a movement internal to the realm of ideas.

Keywords: Britain; sociology; social anthropology; Europe; structuralism; Marxism; London School of Economics; social change

Chapter.  9479 words. 

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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