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About the House

About the House
Lévi-Strauss and Beyond


Janet Carsten, Stephen Hugh-Jones, Roxana Waterson, Maurice Bloch, Monica Janowski, Thomas Gibson, Signe Howell, Susan McKinnon, Peter Riviere, Vanessa Lea
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  • Date Published: May 1995
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521479530
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About the Authors
  • The domestic unit is inseparable from its homestead, and the 'house', at once a physical place and a social unit, is often also a unit of production and consumption, a cult group, and even a political faction. Inspired by Lévi-Strauss's suggestion that the multi-functional noble houses of medieval Europe were simply the best-known examples of a widespread social institution, the contributors to this collection analyse 'house' systems in Southeast Asia and South America, exploring the interrelationships between buildings, people, and ideas. They reveal some of the ways in which houses can stand for social groups and serve as images of process and order.

    • Outlines groundbreaking new approaches to the study of kinship
    • Suitable for interdisciplinary and comparative purposes - architecture, anthropology, ethnoarchaeology, human geography
    • Examines a compelling new subject and includes a thorough combing of the relevant literature
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The essays … are replete with fascinating data that fulfil a central promise of contemporary anthropology … at a time when fewer and fewer detailed ethnographies seem to be published.' Book Review Essays

    'Mark this volume as another milestone in the rehabilitation of kinship studies. About the House is a worthwhile collection that both implements and critically evaluates Lévi-Strauss's notion of the 'house society' in studies drawn from Southeast Asia and Amazonia. For both the teacher and the scholar, this book is worth the reading.' Peter Gose, University of Regina

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    Customer reviews

    07th Aug 2013 by Adam12345

    Nice book

    29th Oct 2013 by Andreav

    An excellent study of the concept of house in the two systems are not usually considered by Western research. Particularly interesting is the comparative analysis. The language, though technical, is easily understood by students and recent graduates the book however, is an essential reading for anyone who wants to study urban sociology and, in general, social groups. andrea valori _

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 1995
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521479530
    • length: 316 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 153 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.46kg
    • contains: 14 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction Janet Carsten and Stephen Hugh-Jones
    2. Houses and hierarchies in island Southeast Asia Roxana Waterson
    3. The resurrection of the house amongst the Zafimaniry of Madagascar Maurice Bloch
    4. The hearth-group, the conjugal couple and the symbolism of the rice meal among the Kelabit of Sarawak Monica Janowski
    5. Houses in Langkawi: stable structures or mobile homes? Janet Carsten
    6. Having your house and eating it: houses and siblings in Ara, South Sulawesi Thomas Gibson
    7. The Lio house: building, category, idea, value Signe Howell
    8. Houses and hierarchy: the view from a South Moluccan society Susan McKinnon
    9. Houses, places and people: community and continuity in Guiana Peter Riviere
    10. The houses of Mebengokre (Kayapo) of Central Brazil: a new door to their social organization Vanessa Lea
    11. Inside-out and back-to-front: the Maloca and the house in northwest Amazonia Stephen Hugh-Jones.

  • Editors

    Janet Carsten, University of Edinburgh

    Stephen Hugh-Jones, University of Cambridge


    Janet Carsten, Stephen Hugh-Jones, Roxana Waterson, Maurice Bloch, Monica Janowski, Thomas Gibson, Signe Howell, Susan McKinnon, Peter Riviere, Vanessa Lea

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