Agrarian Civilization and Modern World Society

Keith Hart

Goldsmiths College London

To my mind, the most revealing summary of Jack Goody’s intellectual motives is to be found in the preface to Production and Reproduction (1976), the book that launched the series of large-scale comparative investigations for which he is now best known. I take as the text for this article the opening paragraphs and closing sentence of that preface:

When I first took a berth on a boat to West Africa, I did not do so with the sole purpose of getting to know something about an African society or, more generally, the “savage mind.” I was certainly very involved with the problems of getting to know another culture, another way of looking at the world. But other concerns ...

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