By: Brian Morris
264 pages, Figs
The multiple ways in which people relate to animals provide a revealing window through which to examine a culture. Western cultures tend to view animals either as pets or food, and often overlook the vast number of roles that they may play within a culture and in social life more generally: their use in medicine, folk traditions and rituals. This comprehensive and very readable study focuses on Malawi people and their rich and varied relationship with animals - from hunting through to their use as medicine. More broadly, through a rigorous and detailed study the author provides insights, which show how the people's relationship to their world manifests itself not strictly in social relations, but just as tellingly in their relationships with animals - that, in fact, animals constitute a vital role in social relations. While significantly advancing classic African ethnographic studies, this book also incorporates current debates in a wide range of disciplines - from anthropology through to gender studies and ecology.
'Provides a unique insight into a culture that enjoys a rich and varied relationship with animals ... Extensive detail provides a superb view into the social life of rural Malawi... Although based upon examination of a single culture, Morris incorporates ecological and anthropological concepts that expand this study of attitudes to nature to create a comprehensive ethnographic analysis, both informative and very readable.' Choice 'The Power of Animals deserves to become an anthropological landmark, setting the stage for a new generation of ethnographies that give proper weight and significance to people's interactions and interrelations with other animals and the natural world. The cultural depth and richness that emerges from Morris's approach makes other comparable studies seem shallow in comparison.' Anthrozoos
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