Manifestations and Processes

Barth, Fredrik: Manifestasjon og prosess

"Wherever I am in the world I see life as it is presented to me, as a manifestation of the thoughts, intentions and interpretation of a group of people in the way they are formulated through processes such as co-operation, exchange, conflict, learning, transmission of traditions, community relations and power structures."

How are different societies structured? How can we analyse the changes occurring within them? Are social relations based on an exchange of services? Why do conflicts arise between different peoples even when they live in the same country? What is the relationship between natural relations and social structures? How is knowledge constructed in different cultural traditions and how does knowledge acquired by a people help to structure their understanding and perceptions?

These questions are central to Fredrik Barth's writing. In this selection of essays - half of them already established classics from more than 30 years of research - the other half recent articles - the nucleus of one of the leading anthropologists of our time is presented. The author has gathered an enormous amount of experience and knowledge from the four corners of the world and we are here given the opportunity of following a consolidated analysis and theoretical discussions that sum up extensive research work. Barth has probably carried out more ethnographic field work than any other anthropologist, covering both Asia and Africa, and it is this breadth that is presented here.

These essays are, as the author points out, not the building blocks in any one consistent anthropological theory. Instead the essays display the never-ending struggle being played out to expand the different perspectives and methods used for analysis as well as presenting new models that undermine any narrowly defined concepts and challenge existing frameworks.

First published: 1994, Universitetsforlaget

Fredrik Barth: Biography and bibliography

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