Social Scientist. v 2, no. 22 (May 1974) p. 67.

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Review Article

Social and Anthropological Research


ANTHROPOLOGY, Vol III, Indian Council of Social Science Research, 1972, pp 335, Rs 30.

THIS volume gives a good idea of the scope, setting and theoretical possibilities of the 'official^ sciences and is an excellent example of how, far from being 'value free,' such state-backed academic efforts are not only partial to the classes that control the state but also consciously omit works that reflect the ideology of classes opposed to them.

The fields of sociology and social anthropology are particularly susceptible to this kind of distortion, especially as these academic disciplines as taught at universities in capitalist countries today were created to counteract the progress of Marxism Leninism, the ideology of the working class, in order to defend capitalism in its reactionary phase, imperialism.

The survey of ^Tribal Ethnography in India" by L P Vidyarthi in this volume illustrates this point. He has categorised the development of tribal studies in three phases: formative (1774-1919), constructive (1920-1949) and analytical (1950-). In fact, a closer look reveals only two phases: British and American. The first two 'phases^ are really one^ and Vidyarthi points out,

Indian anthropology, which was born and brought up under the influence of British anthropology, matured during the constructive phase also on the lines of British anthropology (p 39).

Further, the first 'phase' is really not Indian at all, as only one Indian anthropologist, S^ Roy, appears at the tail end of it, in 1912. His major works then fall into the next period. Looking more closely, it is found that major serious attempts to study tribes are after 1850, as may be seen in the increase in the number of journals on such studies. The

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