Description and Comparison in Cultural Anthropology

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How are different cultures to be described and compared? This book provides a clear and concise discussion of the theoretical issues involved in ethnographic description and comparative study. Taking up the classic problems in the study of of social organisation, Professor Goodenough describes the major issues in the cross-cultural study of kinship and the family, revealing the kinds of constants, both formal and functional, on which such study must be based. The result is new definitions of marriage, family and parenthood for use in cross-cultural analysis and a greater understanding of this form of analysis itself. The statement on the interdependence of description and comparison in cultural anthropology and its implications for a science of culture, provides fresh insights into cross-cultural analysis for both the theoretical and the practical anthropologist.