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The Value of Comparison Peter van der Veer

The Value of Comparison

Peter van der Veer

Published
ISBN : 9780822361398
Hardcover
208 pages
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 About the Book 

In The Value of Comparison Peter van der Veer makes a compelling case for using comparative approaches for the study of society and the need to resist the simplified civilization narratives popular in public discourse and some social theory. He takesMoreIn The Value of Comparison Peter van der Veer makes a compelling case for using comparative approaches for the study of society and the need to resist the simplified civilization narratives popular in public discourse and some social theory. He takes the quantitative social sciences and the broad social theories they rely on to task for their inability to question Western cultural presuppositions, demonstrating that anthropologys comparative approach provides a better means to understand societies. This capacity stems from anthropologys engagement with diversity, its fragmentary approach to studying social life, and its ability to translate difference between cultures. Through essays on topics as varied as iconoclasm, urban poverty, Muslim immigration, and social exclusion van der Veer highlights the ways that studying the particular and the unique allows for gaining a deeper knowledge of the whole without resorting to simple generalizations that elide and marginalize difference.