artigos e ensaios - 1991 / Mariza Peirano

For a sociology of India:

Some comments from Brazil

"We have, then, this problem of 'communication' - or gap in communication - among those who are contributors to the sociology of India ... The establishment of a common ground for discussion, therefore, remains as important a task now as it has been in the past and as difficult as Dumont says he found it".

T.N. Madan (1982: 417)

The history of anthropology has been built on controversies and debates of various sorts, generally among figures, who are already prominent or become so in the process. It is interesting to note that the ideas of opponent who is apparently defeated are seldom overcome; more often than not, they are assimilated into the discipline's "tradition". What marks the controversies is not only differences of theoretical stance but also problems of communication and consequent misunderstandings.

One may here recall that, in the early 1950s, Evans-Pritchard's views on the relationship between anthropology and history instigated a vigorous debate in the discipline, which involved everybody who was anybody at the time, including Radcliffe-Brown and Alfred Kroeber. In the 1960s, it was the time for the Correspondence colunms of Man to carry several discussions, some of which developed around a central topic and a leading figure, and for which the editor seemed to delight in making up colourful titles. Of the several topics discussed in more than one issue, "Virgin Birth" was one of the longest and most controversial, showing Edmund Leach at his best, debating the issue of the lack of concept of paternity among Malinowski's Trobriand Islanders.Leia na íntegra...