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The Anthropology of Numbers : Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology - Thomas Crump

The Anthropology of Numbers

Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology

Paperback Published: 14th December 1992
ISBN: 9780521438070
Number Of Pages: 212

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Why do the Nuer stipulate forty cattle in brideprice? Why is the number ten so important in North American mythology? What does the anthropologist Clifford Geertz really mean to say when he talks about the correspondence of Balinese time cycles? Numbers play some part, often quite central, in almost all known cultures, yet until now the subject has never been examined in detail from an anthropological perspective. This book is the first attempt to find out how people in a wide range of diverse cultures and in different historical contexts, use and understand numbers. The opening chapters provide the basis for looking at the way numbers operate in different contexts, by looking at the logical, psychological and linguistic implications. The following eight chapters deal with specific themes: ethnoscience, politics, measurement, time, money, music, games and architecture. The final chapter relates such operations to social, economic and cultural factors.

'The book makes a lively, well-informed, and thoroughly unconventional contribution to its subject ... it should and will be read by any with an interest in this branch of anthropology.' R. H. Barnes, Anthropos 'Crump has soothed, stimulated, and occasionally transported me in the contemplation of numbers and mysteries.' Eric Korn, The London Review of Books

List of illustrationsp. vi
Prefacep. vii
Acknowledgementsp. x
The ontology of numberp. 1
The cognitive foundations of numeracyp. 14
Number and languagep. 31
Cosmology and ethnosciencep. 47
Economy, society and politicsp. 60
Measurement, comparison and equivalencep. 72
Timep. 81
Moneyp. 92
Music, poetry and dancep. 103
Games and chancep. 115
Art and architecturep. 128
The ecology of numberp. 146
Notesp. 151
Referencesp. 180
Indexp. 190
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521438070
ISBN-10: 0521438071
Series: Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 212
Published: 14th December 1992
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.2  x 1.3
Weight (kg): 0.31