The Problem of Context in Social and Cultural Anthropology

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58 Citations (Scopus)


This article addresses the problem of the construction of context as a key analytical concept in the methodology of social and cultural anthropology. It takes a developmental view, showing how the problem has been re-defined over time. It also adopts a 'transdisciplinary' approach plotting the development of the problem under different disciplinary conditions. It argues that context is linked to interpretation in terms of connection and disconnection of phenomena construed as relevant or not. It also argues that context is a social construct: it has a 'social life', and this life is susceptible to anthropological analysis. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-456
Number of pages20
JournalLanguage and Communication
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2002


  • context
  • interpretation
  • social and cultural anthropology


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