Adams, Matthew S. “Formulating an Anarchist Sociology: Peter Kropotkin’s Reading of Herbert Spencer.” Journal of the History of Ideas 77, no. 1 (2016): 49–73. doi:10.1353/jhi.2016.0004.
Author’s Abstract: The work of Herbert Spencer was a crucial influence on the development of Peter Kropotkin’s historical sociology. However, scholars have underestimated this relationship; either overlooking it entirely, or minimizing Kropotkin’s attachment to Spencer with the aim of maintaining the utility of his political thought in the present. This article contests these interpretations by analyzing Kropotkin’s reading of Spencer’s epistemological, biological, and political ideas. It argues that Kropotkin was engaged in a critical dialogue with Spencer, incorporating many Spencerian principles in his own system, but also using this reading to articulate a distinctive anarchist politics.
Bargheer, Stefan. “Anthropology at War: Robert H. Lowie and the Transformation of the Culture Concept, 1904 to 1954.” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 53, no. 2 (2017): 133–54. doi:10.1002/jhbs.21845.
Author’s Abstract: The concept of culture used in American anthropology has fundamentally transformed throughout the first half of the twentieth century. The changing resonance of the work of Robert H. Lowie offers revealing insights into this development. Lowie was part of the first generation of students of Franz Boas that highlighted the importance of individual variation for the study of both primitive and civilized societies. Yet, its initial resonance notwithstanding, the culture concept that prevailed in the discipline went into a different direction as the result of anthropologists’ involvement in the war effort. It was advanced by the second generation of Boas’ students such as Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead, who stressed the homogeneity of cultures. The contrast highlights the diversity of approaches available within anthropology in the first half of the century and the crucial impact of World War II in determining which of these possibilities became institutionalized in the decades after the war.
Colón, Gabriel Alejandro Torres, and Charles A. Hobbs. “The Intertwining of Culture and Nature: Franz Boas, John Dewey, and Deweyan Strands of American Anthropology.” Journal of the History of Ideas 76, no. 1 (2015): 139–62. doi.org/10.1353/jhi.2015.0002.
Authors’ Abstract: This article argues that John Dewey, influenced by Franz Boas and early American anthropology, made the first attempt to understand nature from a modern anthropological perspective. We first explain how Boas helped develop the culture concept, which played a key role in the development Dewey’s own understanding of experience. In support of our interpretation of Dewey’s anthropology of nature, we conclude with some consideration of how Dewey’s anthropological philosophy served as an inspiration for anthropologists Ruth Benedict, Gene Weltfish, Alexander Lesser, and Leslie White.
Kuper, Adam. “Meyer Fortes: The Person, the Role, the Theory.” The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology 34, no. 2 (2016): 127–39. doi:10.3167/ca.2016.340209.
Author’s Abstract: In the two decades after the Second World War, Meyer Fortes was a central figure in what was then called “British social anthropology.” Sometimes dismissed as simply a follower of Radcliffe-Brown, Fortes’ theoretical influences in fact ranged from Freud to Parsons. He formulated a distinctive theoretical synthesis, and produced the most influential version of ‘descent theory’. Fortes is currently out of fashion, but four decades after his retirement from the Cambridge chair a revaluation is in order.
Sander, Sabine, Cyril Levitt, and Neil McMaughlin. “Beyond Fields, Networks, and Fame: Lawrence Krader as an ‘Outsider’ Intellectual.” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 53, no. 2 (2017): 155–75. doi:0.1002/jhbs.21846.
Author’s Abstract: This paper investigates the intellectual biography of the American philosopher and anthropologist Lawrence Krader (1919–1998) as a contribution to the sociology of intellectuals and history of ideas. We trace Krader’s career trajectory to his intellectual self-concept, his scholarly and political worldviews, and his financial independence. Krader entertained a self-concept of a lone pioneer that led him to reject the competition for attention as highlighted in the current literature, dominated as it is by an emphasis on field, habitus, the accumulation and reproduction of power, and symbolic capital. His self-concept and his happier financial circumstance kept him relatively aloof from key intellectual networks and narrow institutional constraints. Our paper seeks to combine the new sociology of ideas with its focus on institutions and networks with traditional Wissenssoziologie that emphasized the role of class, status, and worldviews to explain the rise and fall of theories and thinkers.
Urry, James. “Anthropological, Ethnological and Ethnographic Concerns in Colonial Australia in the 1840s.” Treaty of Waitangi Research Unit, Treaty Research Series, no. 14 (2016): 1–37.
From the Article: “The aim of this paper is to examine how anthropology, and its related fields of ethnology and ethnography, was discussed in various colonies in Australia before 1850.”