The Content and Limits of Anthropology – Essay

For him, the society is holistic. He also rejects positivism. As a matter of fact, there is much that is common in Marxian anthropology and the struc­turalism of Levi-Strauss.

Both are against positivism, against empiricism and part studies rather than wholes. Discussing the simi­larities between Levi-Strauss’ structuralism and Marxian anthropology, Godlier observes:

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This complex theoretical situation determines the critical relation­ships which the Marxist approach has with anthropology along with two other trends which attempt to create conditions for a general re­newal of this scientific discipline, that is, the neofunctionalism of ‘cultural ecology’ and the structuralism approach of Claude Levi- Strauss. Both use a materialistic approach.

The first studies societies afresh, considering than as parts of larger wholes, different eco-systems of nature. Like Marxism, it pays particular attention to the material bases of society’s functioning.

The second, again like Marx­ism, rejects the methods of positivist empiricism and endeavours to take into account the social realities in terms of structure.

Godlier has also given the contents of anthropology. In a broader way, he says that it studies non-western societies, non-literary societies and colonized societies. These societies have a backward mode of pro­duction.

They are pre-capitalist and pre-industrial. The social organization of all these societies constitutes the contents of anthro­pology. In short, these contents can be characterized as below:

(i) Non-literate,

(ii) Uncivilized,

(iii) Arrested in development,

(iv) Moneyless,

(v) Non-industrialized,

(vi) Non-urban,

(vii) Lacking economic specialization,

(viii) Low level of technical achievement,

(ix) Traditional, and

(x) Small scale.

Godlier has provided a specific approach to the study, of non-west­ern societies. But, all non-western societies do not constitute the contents and subject matter of anthropology.

He has specified the non-western societies also. Usually, these societies are primitive and do not exhibit the traits of capitalism, industrialism, technology, and absence of surplus production.

The basic element, which differentiates Marxist anthropology from the general anthropology, is its stress on modes of production. Second, social anthropology borrows its meth­odology from history.

In short, Godlier’s concept of anthropology moves towards methodological, neo-fuctionalism and structuralism. In a precise and broader way, it studies the classless society.