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'Anthropology' by R.R. Marett, Home University Library of Modern Knowledge London: Williams and Norgate Ltd New York: Henry Holt and Co. 

1925 [6th edition]

Chapter 1: Scope of Anthropology

p. 7-8. 'Anthropology is the whole history of man as fired and pervaded by the idea of evolution. Man in evolution--that is the subject in its fullest reach. Anthropology studies man as he occurs at all known times. It studies him as he occurs at all known parts of the world. It studies him body and soul together--as a [p. 8] bodily organism, subject to conditions operating in time and space, which bodily organism is in intimate relation with a soul-life, also subject to those same conditions. Having an eye to such conditions from first to last, it seeks to plot out the general series of the changes, bodily and mental together, undergone by man in the course of his history. Its business is simply to describe. But, without exceeding the limits of its scope, it can and must proceed from the particular to the general; aiming at nothing less than a descriptive formula that shall sum up the whole series of changes in which the evolution of man consists.'

p. 8-9. 'Anthropology is the child of Darwin. Darwinism makes it possible. Reject the Darwinian point of view, and you must reject anthropology also. ... Darwinism is a working hypothesis ... [p. 9] What is the truth that Darwinism supposes? Simply that all the forms of life in the world are related together; and that the relations manifested in time and space between the different lives are sufficiently uniform to be described under a general formula, or law of evolution.'

p. 10 'With Darwin, then, we anthropologists say: Let any and every portion of human history be studied in the light of the whole history of mankind, and against the background of the history of living things in general.'

p. 11-12 'At any rate, anthropology stands or falls with the working hypothesis, derived from Darwinism, of a fundamental kinship and continuity amid change between all the forms of human life. 

It remains to add that, hitherto, anthropology has devoted most of its attention to the peoples of rude--that is to say, of simple--culture, who are vulgarly known to us as "savages." ... We anthropologists are out to secure this: that there [p. 12] ahll not be one kind of history for savages and another kind for ourselves, but the same kind of history, with the same evolutionary principle running right through it, for all men, civilized and savage, present and past.'

p. 12 '... anthropology, though a big thing, is not everything.

It will be enough to insist briefly on the following points: that anthropology is science in whatever way history is science; that it is not philosophy, though it must conform to its needs; and that it is not policy, though it may subserve its designs.

Anthropology is science in the sense of specialized research that aims at truth for truth's sake.'

p. 12-13 'The scientific mood, however, is uppermost when one says: Here is a particular lot of [p. 13] things that seem to hang together in a particular way; let us try to get a general idea of what that way is. Anthropology, then, specializes in the particular group of human beings, which itself is part of a larger particular group of living beings. Inasmuch as it takes over the evolutionary principle from the science dealing with the larger group, namely biology, anthropology may be regarded as a branch of biology. Let it be added, however, that, of all the branches of biology, it is the one that is likely to bring us nearest to the true meaning of life; because the life of human beings must always be nearer to human students of life than, say, the life of plants.'

p. 19-20 'Hitherto, the trouble with anthropologists has been to see the wood for the trees. Even whilst attending mainly to the peoples of rude culture, they have heaped [p. 20] together facts enough to bewilder themselves and their readers. The time has come to do some sorting; or rather the sorting is doing itself. All manner of groups of special students, interested in some particular side of human history, come now-a-days to the anthropologist, asking leave to borrow from his stocks of facts the kind that they happen to want. 

p. 20-21 '... Be it supposed that a young man or woman who wants to take a course, of at least a year's length, in the elements of anthropology, joins some university which is thoroughly in touch with the scientific activities of the day ... [p. 21] In such a well-organized university, then, how would our budding anthropologist proceed to form a preliminary acquaintance with the four corners of the subject? ... Man is a many-sided being; so there is no help for it if anthropology also is many-sided.

For one thing, he must sit at the feet of those who particular concern is with prehistoric man. ...'

[p. 22] 'Again he must be taught something about race, or inherited breed, as it applies to man. A dose of practical anatomy--that is to say, some actual handling and measuring of the principal portions of the human frame in its leading varieties--will enable our beginner to appreciate the differences in outer form that distinguish, say, the British colonist in Australia from the native "black-fellow," ... At this point, he may profitably embark on the details of the Darwinian hypothesis of the descent of man ...'

[p. 23-24] 'Further, our student must submit to a thorough grounding in world-geography with its physical and human sides welded firmly together. ... His next business is to master the main facts about the natural conditions to which each people is subjected--the climate, the conformation of land and sea, the animals and plants. From here it is but a step to the economic life--the food supply, the clothing, the dwelling-places, the principle occupations, the implements of labour. ... No less important is it to work steadily through the show-cases of a good ethnological museum. ... 'The communications between regions--the migrations and conquests, the trading and the borrowing of customs--must be traced and accounted for. Finally, on the basis of their distribution, ... the chief varieties of the useful arts and appliances of man can be followed from stage to stage of their development.'

p. 24-25 'To what extent, then, must our novice pay attention to the history of language? [p. 25] ... language is no longer supposed to provide, by itself at any rate, and apart from other clues, a key to the endless riddles of racial descent.' [Marett then suggests that time needs to be spent on social organization, history of law and religion]

p. 30 '... it is well for the student of man to pay separate and special attention to the individual agent. The last word in anthropology is: Know thyself.'

p. 31-33 [Marett discusses the importance of stratigraphical method for studying prehistoric man]

p. 40-42 [Marett discusses eoliths as part of a look at the 'stone-age']

pp. 59 et seq 'Race'

p. 63 'To see what race means when considered apart, let us first of all take your individual self, and ask how you would proceed to separate your inherited nature from the nature which you have acquired in the course of living your life. It is not easy.' [He suggests that one way is to look at two twins, one of whom loses a leg and therefore whose activities are limited, and whose different occupations affects the way they look but not 'the same underlying nature and bent'. [he then discusses, in what appears to be a rather old-fashioned for 1925 way, the different ways race had been and could be distinguished into colour, 'head-shape' etc]

p. 72 'Oh for an external race-mark about which there could be no mistake!'

p. 92 'What then, you exclaim, is the outcome of this chapter of negatives? Is it driving at the universal equality and brotherhood of man? Or, on the contrary, does it hint at the need of a stern system of eugenics? I offer nothing in the way of a practical suggestion. I am merely trying to show that, considered anthropologically--that is to say, in terms of pure theory--race or breed remains something we cannot at present isolate, though we believe it to be there.'

pp. 94 et seq Environment

p. 95 '... it remains the fact that our material circumstances in the widest sense of the term play a very decisive part in the shaping of our lives.'

p. 128-9 'Our conclusion, then, must be that the anthropologist, whilst constantly consulting [p. 129] his physical map of the world, must not suppose that by so doing he will be saved all further trouble. Geographical facts represent a passive condition, which life, something by its very nature active, obeys, yet in obeying conquers. We cannot get away from the fact that we are physically determined. Yet physical determinations have been surmounted by human nature in a way to which the rest of the animal world affords no parallel. Thus man, as the old saying has it, makes love all the year round. Seasonal changes of course affect him, yet he is no slave to the seasons.'

pp. 130 et seq 'Language'

p. 130 'The differentia of man--the qualit that marks him off from the other animal kinds--is undoubtedly the power of articulate speech.'

pp. 152 eq seq 'Social Organization'

p. 152-3 'If an explorer visits a savage tribe with intent to get at the true meaning of their life, his first duty, as every anthropologist will tell him, is to acquaint himself thoroughly with the social organization in all its forms. The reason for this is simply that only by studying [p. 153] the outsides of other people can we hope to arrive at what is going on inside them. "Institutions" will be found a convenient word to express all the externals of the life of man in society, so far as they reflect intelligence and purpose. Similarly the internal or subjective states thereto corresponding may be collectively described as "beliefs." Thus, the field-worker's cardinal maxim can be phrased as follows: Work up to the beliefs by way of the institutions.

Further, there are two ways in which a given set of institutions can be investigated, and of these one, so far as is practicable, should precede the other. First the institutions should be examined as so many wheels in a social machine that is taken as if it were standing still. You singly note the characteristic make of each, and how it is placed in relation to the rest. Regarded in this static way, the institutions appear as "forms of social organization." Afterwards, the machine is supposed to be set going, and you contemplate the parts in movement. Regarded thus dynamically, the institutions appear as "customs."'



[By the way, there is an interesting bit of annotation on page 58 of the Balfour copy of this edition:

Marett writes: 'And Mr Snare [Fred Snare, the flintknapper from Brandon] is not merely an artisan but an artist. He has chipped out a flint ring ... whilst with one of his own flint fish-hooks he has taken a fine trout from the Little Ouse that runs by the town.'

Besides this in capitals in pencil, by an unknown person is 'Utter Rot. No trout in Ouse'

This site appears to support the annotater. ]

Quotes transcribed by AP April 2013

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Supported by the John Fell OUP Research Fund


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