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Uses and critiques of ‘civilisation’
Jeremy C.A. Smith

exploratory and open to further amplification by successive generations. Durkheim and Mauss worked at the interstices of concepts of civilisations as, first, spatial wholes and, second, as constituted in interaction. The imprecise, compact and ambiguous nature of their perspective puts them on the cusp of the two approaches I have posited here. Their early sketches of the characteristics of civilisations coincided with Durkheim’s survey of ethnographies of non-​stratified cultures in The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. They brought recognition of the complexity of

in Debating civilisations