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New Left Review I/58, November-December 1969


David Goddard

Limits of British Anthropology

Anthropological studies in Britain grew up in the context of European, and especially British colonialism as a part of the colonial situation. Anthropologists for the most part did not question the colonial situation and the fact that they participated in it by investigating subjugated peoples. As they took the colonial situation for granted, often capitalizing on it and sometimes actively supporting it, they did not perceive that colonialism created a colonial people—‘the native peoples’—under the economic, political and spiritual domination of an alien power which possessed and ruthlessly used the means of violence against them. Instead, they chose to see colonial peoples in terms of a ‘primitive’ concept, denying in effect their colonized status.

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