The Invention of Culture

Roy Wagner

The Invention of Culture
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Roy Wagner

Revised edition
189 pages | © 1975, 1981
Paper $22.00 ISBN: 9780226869346 Published March 1981
The Invention of Culture, one of the most important works in symbolic anthropology in recent years, argues that culture is not a given that shapes the lives of the people who share it. Rather, it is people who shape their culture by constantly manipulating conventional symbols taken from a variety of everchanging codes to create new meanings. Wagner sees culture arising from the dialectic between the individual and the social world; his analysis is situated in the relation between invention and convention, innovation and control, meaning and context. Finally, the author points out that the symbolization processes that generate the construction of meaning in culture are the same as those that anthropologists use to "invent" the cultures they study.
1. The Assumption of Culture
The idea of culture
Making culture visible
The invention of culture
2. Culture as Creativity
Fieldwork is work in the field
The ambiguity of "culture"
The wax museum
"Road belong culture"
3. The Power of Invention
Invention is culture
The necessity of invention
The magic of advertising
4. The Invention of Self
An important message for you about the makers of time
Learning personality
On "doing your own thing": The world of immanent humanity
Learning humanity
5. The Invention of Society
Culture "change": Social convention as inventive flow
The invention of language
The invention of society
The rise of civilizations
6. The Invention of Anthropology
The allegory of man
Controlling culture
Controlling nature
The end of synthetic anthropology
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