Fredrik Barth is one of the towering figures of twentieth-century anthropology. This intellectual history traces the development of Barth's ideas and explores the substance of his contributions. In an accessible style, Thomas Hylland Eriksen's biographical study reveals the magic of ethnography to professional anthropologists and non-practitioners alike.
Exploring his six decade career, it follows Barth from early ecological studies in Pakistan, to political studies in Iran, to groundbreaking fieldwork in Norway, New Guinea, Bali and Bhutan. Eriksen argues that Barth's voracious appetite for fieldwork holds the key to understanding his remarkable intellectual development and the insights it produced. The book raises many of the same questions that emerge from Barth's own work - of unity and diversity, of culture and relativism, of art and science.