The concept of primitivity in the early anthropological writings of A.P. Elkin
McGregor, Russell (1993) The concept of primitivity in the early anthropological writings of A.P. Elkin. Aboriginal History, 17 . pp. 95-104.
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'A civilized and a primitive race are in contact and, indeed, in c1ash These are the terms in which A.P. Elkin, in the 1930s, persistently described the problems of Aboriginal-European interaction in Australia. What did he mean by these words? And why did an anthropologist whose orientation was avowedly functionalist continually invoke the twin concepts of 'primitive' and 'race'? The key feature of functionalist anthropology was its synchronic approach to the study of clearly delimited units termed 'societies'. To this enterprise, what was the relevance of the inherently time-oriented notion of primitivity or the biologically based idea of race? Partly, it may have been that these concepts were items of intellectual baggage inherited from an earlier anthropology and not yet subjected to adequate disciplinary scrutiny by the new generation of scholar. Yet it was more than this. The concept of a primitive race performed a significant function in Elkin's functionalist anthropology. This paper examines some manifestations of the primitive race concept in Elkin's writings of the 1930s, both as an item of inherited intellectual baggage and as an explanatory device to which he had frequent recourse.
|Item Type:||Article (Refereed Research - C1)|
|Keywords:||Elkin, A.P.; Anthropology; Australian Race; Australian Aborigines|
|FoR Codes:||21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2103 Historical Studies > 210301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History @ 50%|
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History) @ 50%
|SEO Codes:||95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 100%|
|Deposited On:||10 Aug 2010 13:18|
|Last Modified:||12 Feb 2011 21:32|
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