Europe and the People Without History (Paperback)

Europe and the People Without History By Eric R. Wolf, Thomas Hylland Eriksen (Foreword by) Cover Image
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Offering insight and equal consideration into the societies of the "civilized" and "uncivilized" world, Europe and the People Without History deftly explores the historical trajectory of so-called modern globalization. In this foundational text about the development of the global political economy, Eric R. Wolf challenges the long-held anthropological notion that non-European cultures and peoples were isolated and static entities before the advent of European colonialism and imperialism. Ironically referred to as "the People Without History" by Wolf, these societies before active colonization possessed perpetually changing, reactionary cultures and were indeed just as intertwined into the processes of the pre-Columbian global economic system as their European counterparts. Utilizing Marxian concepts and a vivid consideration for the importance of history, Wolf judiciously traces the effects and conditions in Europe and the rest of the "known" world, beginning in 1400 AD, that allowed capitalism to emerge as the dominant ideology of the modern era.

About the Author

Eric R. Wolf (1923–1999) had an illustrious and influential career as Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at H. Lehman College and the Graduate School of the City University of New York.

Praise For…

"The work of a powerful theoretical intelligence, but one informed by a lived sense of social realities."
— Times Literary Supplement

"Wolf's intention is to show that European expansion not only transformed the historical trajectory of non-European societies but also reconstituted their historical accounts of their societies before European intervention. . . . His historical sweep and analytic breadth are astounding, and he gives approximately equal weight to historical 'winners' and 'losers.'"
— American Journal of Sociology

"Wolf's empirical knowledge is exceptionally wide. . . . He relies on a skillful selection of phenomena in time and space that are reasonably representative of the totality. . . . The book is very well written and with a profoundly human touch."
— Ethnos

"Wolf has created a history of connection rather than one of segregation. . . . This absorbing and stimulating book . . . provides a convincing and, dare I say, new perspective. . . . By emphasizing a common past, Wolf moves away from weary polarities of active 'white' centre and passive 'non- white' periphery and suggests both a more complex and a more informed sense of the relationship between Europe and the rest of the world."
— European Update

"In this big and important book, Eric Wolf begins and ends with the assertion that anthropology must pay more attention to history. . . . It is with pleasure, then, that one reads a critical analysis that rejects pseudo- historical oppositions and explores with such care the historical processes by which primitive and peasant pasts have become a fundamentally altered primitive, peasant, and proletarian present."
— Dialectical Anthropology

"Wolf's intention is to explain the development and nature of the chains of cause and consequence which linked populations in the post-1400 world. The outcome is a tightly structured and elegant book."
— Oceania

Product Details
ISBN: 9780520268180
ISBN-10: 0520268180
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: September 21st, 2010
Pages: 536
Language: English