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Individualism, Capitalism and the Modern…

Individualism, Capitalism and the Modern World: Essays, talks and lectures

by Alan Macfarlane

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 149106661X, Paperback)

I was born and have lived between worlds. My infancy was in Assam on the borders of India and Burma. When I returned to England at the age of five, and subsequently attended ten years of English single sex boarding schools, I learnt how to be ‘modern’ and British. I learnt to be an individual, self-reliant and separated from my family and to transact in the capitalist and industrial world around me. The shock of contrast between my roots and my experience was kept alive by frequent periods of anthropological fieldwork in Asia. I spent fifteen months on doctoral research in 1968-70 and then more than two years on sixteen subsequent visits to a remote hill village in the Annapurna mountains of central Nepal. I also visited many parts of Japan and China on fifteen expeditions from 1990 onwards. My central question has long concerned the conditions and consequences of the emergence of the unusual, unexpected and strange bundle of features which we term ‘modernity’, including individualism, capitalism and industrialism. I explored this first in The Origins of English Individualism (1978). I rejected much of what I had accepted in my earlier education, including the model partially derived from Marx, Weber and Durkheim. From then onwards I have explored what has happened and its consequences through a series of books, including 'The Culture of Capitalism' (1987), 'The Savage Wars of Peace' (1997), 'The Riddle of the Modern World' (2000) and 'The Making of the Modern World' (2002). A synthesis of my views on how we arrived where we are now is in my book 'The Invention of the Modern World', the Wang Gouwei lectures at Tsinghua University, published in Chinese and English in 2013. While working on these books and exploring different cultures, I wrote a number of shorter lectures, talks and essays on various aspects of the great transition to modernity. These are often rough and informal, showing in an unpolished way how my thought was developing. I have decided to collect them together in a single volume, though they are also available on my website: www.alanmacfarlane.com

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 19 May 2016 13:29:20 -0400)

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