Taboo, Truth and Religion:Franz Beieman Steiner: Selected Writings

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Franz Steiner's study of Taboo is internationally recognized as a classic in its field. In a newly researched introductory chapter, based on a thorough study of Steiner's unpublished papers, this edition for the first time places the book in its context and offers a new reading of the text. More than just a critique of existing taboo theories, as it has often been seen, this study offers a profound analysis of danger behavior and pollution in "non-civilized" societies. This provided an important starting-point for Mary Douglas' Purity and Danger. A key aspect of Steiner's achievement lies in his attempt to reconcile detailed, faithful ethnographic analysis with anthropological comparison. His analysis of taboo thus provides a case study with wide-ranging ramifications.

This new edition makes a classic text available once again to students and general readers. A major new introduction based on archival research offers, for the first time, a biography and critical study of Franz Steiner; it not only places him in the context of British and European thought but also shows his importance for contemporary debates, among them deconstruction and Orientalism.

Publication Date: 
October 21, 1999