Meyer Fortes

The Person, the Role, the Theory

in The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology
Adam Kuper London School of Economics

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In the two decades after the Second World War, Meyer Fortes was a central figure in what was then called ‘British social anthropology’. Sometimes dismissed as simply a follower of Radcliffe-Brown, Fortes’ theoretical influences in fact ranged from Freud to Parsons. He formulated a distinctive theoretical synthesis, and produced the most influential version of ‘descent theory’. Fortes is currently out of fashion, but four decades after his retirement from the Cambridge chair a revaluation is in order.

Contributor Notes

Adam Kuper was a doctoral student in Social Anthropology at Cambridge 1962–1966. He is currently Centennial Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics and a Visiting Professor at Boston University.

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  • Worseley, P.M. 1956. The Kinship System of the Tallensi: A Revaluation. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 86(1): 3775.


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