Clyde Mitchell and A. L. Epstein
Urban perspectives
in Anthropology after Gluckman
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Chapter 4 turns from rural research by the home town anthropologist Colson to urban research by Clyde Mitchell, whose lack of a home town in his early life and need to pay attention to railway timetables – his Scottish father worked on the South African railway – may well have been formative for a life-long disposition towards following people newly on the move, especially strangers encountering fresh situations and innovating in towns. Arguably, Mitchell’s formative disposition appears to be dual: both an affinity with mapping, navigating and finding the way through flux and complexity, and also a fascination with empirical bits of the kind a mathematician might parse. Chapter 4 complements a review of Mitchell’s seminal urban studies, especially on the Kalela dance, by giving a full account of the fiercely controversial attack, led by the Marxist sociologist Bernard Magubane, on Mitchell’s work in collaboration with A. L. Epstein. Carrying forward the interest in Gluckman’s impact, this chapter examines the nature of Mitchell’s interdependent, if ambivalent, relation with his mentor and friend, Gluckman, from whom he learned and whom, in turn, he taught, in good measure through restatements and revisions of Gluckman’s work and ideas.

Anthropology after Gluckman

The Manchester School, colonial and postcolonial transformations

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