The second edition of Anthropology adds important new material on questions of culture versus power, Max Weber's thought, the potential of applied anthropology, and the rise of public anthropology, while briefly touching on the anthropology of globalization. As in the previous edition, Barrett remains committed to exploring the impact of postmodernism on the practice and theory of anthropology, positing that it is a formless and ultimately short-lived approach. Including case studies to demonstrate real-world applications of the theories discussed, Barrett's Anthropology remains an essential text for students and teachers of anthropology.
Paradise concentrates on the transformed class system of one community in rural Ontario. In a comparison of the decade following the First World War and the 1980s, Stanley R. Barrett analyses the changing face and structure of a town as it has had to adapt to modern social and economic realities. Particular attention is paid to the phenomenon of the commuter in search of affordable housing and the influx of immigrants of varied ethnic backgrounds, and the interaction between these newcomers and long-term residents. What is striking is just how massive the changes in small-town Ontario have been since the Second World War—to the extent of almost obliterating long-assumed distinctions between rural and urban society.
In examining the rise of right wing extremism in Canada, a nation with a traditional reputation for tolerance, Barrett considers a wide range of political convictions, from confessed fascists to essentially ordinary, law-abiding, but highly conservative individuals who are deeply concerned about the future of Western Christian civilization.
Barrett’s study, grounded in a scientific tradition that has regularly exposed racial myths, is guided by humanist values that celebrate individual worth. It sheds new light on a growing phenomenon that threatens those values.
He argues that anthropological theory has failed to be cumulative. It has been characterized by oscillation and repetition – theoretical orientations have appeared and disappeared, only to be discovered once again. Addressing numerous conceptual contradictions which have never been resolved, he introduces novel concepts such as salvage theory and backward theory, and argues that in many respects anthropological theory resembles the structuralists interpretation of myth.
Social life, he asserts, is inherently contradictory, although concealed by numerous mechanisms, most of which reinforce the status quo. Attacking the illusion of simplicity which has dominated positivistic approaches and the out-dated identification of anthropology with non-Western, primitive, and tribal societies, Barrett contends that power and privilege everywhere should be the basic concerns of anthropological inquiry.