Recent Developments in French Anthropology of France and the Role of the Mission du Patrimoine Ethnologique

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Essay Excerpt

This essay concerns the development, over the last 20 years, of French anthropological studies of France.1 In a recent article, Christian Bromberger writes of French anthropological studies of France the following: 

If, in the late seventies, a man from Mars had wanted to find out about the ways of life of our people simply by looking at anthropological writing, he would have concluded that we were a country of farmers, living in villages, in old rural houses, who spend their time telling each other folk-tales in the evenings and acrimoniously competing for land and other types of property through the use of matrimonial strategies. [1997:295, my translation] 

It was in reaction to this type of study that, about twenty years ago, some anthropologists, such as Isac Chiva, decided to break away from this older anthropology of France focused on a folkloric past rather than on existing contemporary society.  (Langlois, 409)

About the Author

Langlois is a Professor at the Mission du Patrimoine Ethnologique in Paris.

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