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The Cultural Relations of Classification
An Analysis of Nuaulu Animal Categories from Central Seram

Part of Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology

  • Author: Roy Ellen, University of Kent, Canterbury
  • Date Published: April 2011
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9780511881763

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About the Authors
  • Ethnobiology is concerned with the social and cultural transformation of biological knowledge. Roy Ellen, who has worked among the Nuaulu people of eastern Indonesia for more than twenty years, argues here that ethnobiology is a key theoretical area of anthropological enquiry, because it relies on accessible ethnography to explain the interrelationship between collective representations and cognitive processes. He demonstrates this through a detailed analysis of Nuaulu classification of animal knowledge: the relationship between animal words and animal categories; the construction of different categories and their relationship to one another, and the actual language of classification. The classifications are shown to be context-bound and socially embedded, of practical importance to their users, and to reflect an interaction between culture, cognitive processes and the material world. This is an innovative study, which takes our understanding beyond the taxonomic abstraction characteristic of earlier work in the field.

    • A comprehensive and original attempt to describe zoological systems which should be invaluable to those in the field
    • No comparable work for the people of eastern Indonesia
    • Carefully and methodically arranged
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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2011
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9780511881763
    • contains: 22 b/w illus. 34 tables
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. The language of classification
    3. Processes of identification and the structure of categories
    4. The relations between non-basic categories
    5. Consistency, sharing and flexibility
    6. Social intrusions and cultural styles
    7. Changes in classifying behaviour
    8. Cognition and cultural relations of prehension
    Appendices
    Notes
    References
    Indexes.

  • Author

    Roy Ellen, University of Kent, Canterbury

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