Ted C. LEWELLEN : Political Anthropology : An Introduction

Publication Information : Book Title : Political Anthropology : An Introduction. Contributors : Ted C. Lewellen – author. Publisher : Bergin & Garvey. Place of Publication : Westport, CT. Publication Year : 1992.

Foreword to the First Edition

In this succinct and lucid account of the sporadic growth of political anthropology over the past four decades, Ted Lewellen traces the development of its theoretical structure and the personal contributions of its main formulators. He makes available to the wider public of educated readers the issues, problems, perplexities, and achievements of political anthropologists as they have striven to make sense of the multitudinous ways in which societies on varying levels of scale and complexity handle order and dispute, both internal and external. He assesses the strength and probes the weaknesses of successive anthropological approaches to the study of political structures and processes, viewed both cross-culturally and in intensive case studies. The result is a commendable guide to the varied sources of this increasingly important subdiscipline, a guide which, as far as I know, is unique of its kind ; his criticisms are sharp, his style genial, and his judgments just. As a student of the first generation of British political anthropologists of the structural-functionalist school, and a teacher of the medial generation of American political anthropologists, I can vouch for the accuracy and balance of Professor Lewellen’s conclusions, and applaud the penetration of his criticisms, even when they are directed at positions promoted by those of my own theoretical persuasion.

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