Evans-Pritchard SirEdwardEvan

Evans-Pritchard SirEdwardEvan

(1902-73) British structural-functionalist social anthropologist. His major works include Witchcraft, Magic and Oracles among the Azande (1937), The Nuer (1940), Kinship and Marriage among the Nuer (1951) and Nuer Religion (1956). After being trained by MALINOWSKI, Evans-Pr itchard undertook ETHNOGRAPHY in the southern Sudan. His writings illustrate both the rationality of apparently pre-logical thought (among the Azande) and the possibility of a peacefully anarchic stateless society (as exemplified by the Nuer). Though he is usually classed as a structural functionalist, his writings stress the affinity of anthropology to history, and not to science. In contrast to his predecessor at Oxford, RADCLIFFE-BROWN, he felt that to search for universal laws of social behaviour was pointless. His particular interest in religion is seen as being a result of his conversion to Catholicism in 1940. That his influence is still so great is probably a result of his focus on humanistic description. He characterized himself as ‘first an ethnographer and second a social anthropologist’.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000