A Bridge over Troubled Waters, or What a Difference a Day Makes

From the Drama of Production to the Production of Drama

in Social Analysis

Gluckman's paper, "The Bridge," challenged received social anthropology, initially in segregated South Africa, at the LSE, and more generally, by illustrating that professional observers and participants in social situations are profoundly mutually interinvolved with one another despite wide cultural differences. While retracing his own history within it, the present writer relates this new anthropology to the methods of modernist literature (and to changing natural science approaches) in which writers such as Joyce and Woolf, and more recent successors, revealed the culture of an epoch in the closely analyzed incidents of even a single day. They paralleled Freud's methods in psychoanalysis and the specific analyses of discrete political situations in Marx, as well as in later developments of television, film, and the visual arts. After Gluckman's move to the Rhodes-Livingstone Institute, Oxford, and finally Manchester, he and his colleagues and students are shown as developing this interpretive method in very varied contexts.