in Social Analysis
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This is an excellent project. Making an anniversary out of the publication of The Invention of Culture (IOC) allows an interesting cross-section of scholars to set down, briefly, the effect which they think the work has had, and still has. Yet in one sense this is a self-defeating exercise: as some of the authors point out (Dalton and Stassinos) Wagner never stays in the same frame twice. A formula in his world view must always be in the past tense, for once a position is formulated, it has done its job. So in his own unfolding oeuvre, the ‘effect’ of IOC is located (refashioned) ‘elsewhere.’ Indeed, several of these papers find it necessary to draw from other parts of his work (Dalton, Murray and Stassinos). In another sense, what emerges from these essays is the prescience of Wagner’s work; the fact, for example, that IOC seemed to anticipate some of the melting pots into which the study of culture was to fall and its continuing vitality.