By Northcote Whitridge Thomas
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2010
Online Publication Date:February 2012
Original Publication Year:1906
Subjects: Social and cultural anthropology , Australian History
N. W. Thomas (1868–1936) was one of the first government anthropologists of the colonial era and published one of the first studies of central African languages. This book, written in the early stages of his career, is a study of kinship structures in indigenous Australian peoples, and was first published as part of the Cambridge Archaeological and Ethnological Series in 1906. Thomas develops and defines fundamental anthropological concepts used today – such as consanguinity as a distinct term affecting descent, status and duties in a society – and emphasises the importance of seeing kinship terms as a social description, instead of merely describing biological relationships. His deconstruction of Lewis H. Morgan's theory of social evolution is also of interest for constructing a historiography of social anthropology. This volume contains views on ethnicity which were acceptable at the time it was first published.
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