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Pathways of Power$
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Eric Wolf

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780520223332

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520223332.001.0001

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Perilous Ideas

Race, Culture, People

Chapter:
(p.398) 28 Perilous Ideas
Source:
Pathways of Power
Author(s):

Eric R. Wolf

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520223332.003.0029

This chapter raises questions about the provenience of the key anthropological ideas of race, culture, and peoplehood or ethnicity, as well as about their conceptual reach and continued efficacy in changing times, focusing on the concept of race, because it remains a major source of demonology in this country. It also considers the concept of culture, especially the idea that humans depend heavily on behavior which is learned, not inborn, and that this capacity for learning has fostered the proliferation of quite varied bodies of thought and action. The study briefly discusses the notion of peoples, envisaged these days as social entities—ethnic groups or nationalities—that are conscious of themselves as owners of distinctive cultural traditions passed on along the lines of shared descent. The relation between professional dialect and more general discourse needs to be understood as part of the wider interplay between anthropology and other kinds of public understanding.

Keywords:   race, culture, ethnicity, social entities, professional dialect, anthropology

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