Written in the last two decades of her life, Cultures and Crises finds Mary Douglas developing analyses of critical conditions facing contemporary societies, sometimes in the company of distinguished co-authors across the whole gamut of social sciences. The essays focus on the collaborative development of 'cultural theory' from the 'grid and group' analysis of the 1970s through to its application and elaboration in her later thought. The material covers questions of culture and institutions, the challenges to culture posed by climate change and the nature of risk in culture. What emerges is the most complete picture of Mary Douglas's cultural theory that is currently available to us. The book will add to the legions of Douglas's readers across the disciplinary divisions of the social sciences. Mary Douglas was one of the most widely read social anthropologists of the 20th Century. She is celebrated both as a literary stylist and an anthropological thinker who challenged common presuppositions and understandings of religion, ecomy and society. As a cornerstone of modernism in social anthropology, and a precursor of 21st Century interdisciplinarity, her work remains highly influential both within and outside the social sciences. Richard Fardon is Mary Douglas's Literary Executor and Head of the Doctoral School and Professor of West African Anthropology at SOAS, University of London, UK.
Mary Douglas's literary executor, Richard Fardon, is Professor of West African Anthropology at SOAS, University of London. A former student of Mary Douglas, his intellectual biography of her was published by Routledge in 1999, and updated by a Memoir in the Proceedings of the British Academy Memoir, 2010. Richard Fardon is Professor of West African Anthropology and Head of the Doctoral School at SOAS, University of London. He writes as a social anthropologist and an ethnographer of West Africa with wide interests that include art, intellectual history, religion, politics, and identity.