Anthropology


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Philosophy of language
Chomsky, Wolfe and me

I took on Noam Chomsky’s ideas about language and unleashed a decade of debate and ridicule. But is my argument wrong?

Daniel Everett

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Social psychology
Masters of reality

The trances and healing powers of shamans are so widespread that they can be counted a human universal. Why did they evolve?

Thomas T Hills

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Anthropology
No drama, King Obama

In Javanese culture, a ruler must stand chivalrously above strife: cool, intelligent and self-contained. Sound familiar?

Edward L Fox

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Thinkers and theories
Impossible choices

Learning from his family, his animals and his work with tribal people, Gregory Bateson saw the creative potential of paradox

Tim Parks

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Anthropology
Trial by fire

From fire-walking to the ice-bucket challenge, ritual pain and suffering forge intense social bonds

Dimitris Xygalatas

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Family life
Against ‘natural’ parenting

We’re opportunistic, inventive and flexible animals, and there is no ‘natural’ or ‘right’ way to bring up our children

Olga Mecking

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Anthropology
Riches beyond belief

If you want to know what money is, don’t ask a banker. Take a leap of faith and start your own currency

Brett Scott

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History
It never was golden

‘The good old days’ is a virulent falsehood that infects those whose defences have been weakened by fear and insecurity

Alan Jay Levinovitz

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Human evolution
The hunt for human nature

We still live in the long shadow of Man-the-Hunter: a midcentury theory of human origins soaked in strife and violence

Erika Lorraine Milam

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Anthropology
Did laughter make the mind?

A psychological relief valve and a guard against despotism, laughter is a uniquely human – and collective – activity

Chris Knight

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Anthropology
Human rites

Rituals bind us, in modern societies and prehistoric tribes alike. But can our loyalties stretch to all of humankind?

Harvey Whitehouse

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Anthropology
Infanticide

There is nothing so horrific as child murder, yet it’s ubiquitous in human history. What drives a parent to kill a baby?

Sandra Newman

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Anthropology
Envy’s hidden hand

Namibian hunter-gatherers deride those who stand out. What does this tell us about why, and how, we care about fairness?

James Suzman

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Anthropology
Magic bowls of antiquity

Ancient Babylonia’s magic bowls offer a glimpse into the society of the Talmud, and today’s shadowy antiquities market

Samuel Thrope