In Search of the Primitive
Anthropology is a kind of debate between human possibilities-a dialectical movement between the anthropologist as a modern man and the primitive peoples he studies. In Search of the Primitive is a tough-minded book containing chapters ranging from encounters in the field to essays on the nature of law, schizophrenia and civilization, and the evolution of the work of Clause Lévi-Strauss. Above all it is reflective and self-critical, critical of the discipline of anthropology and of the civilization that produced that discipline. Diamond views the anthropologist who refuses to become a searching critic of his own civilizations as not merely irresponsible, but a tool of Western civilization. He rejects the associations which have been made in the ideology of our civilization, consciously or unconsciously, between Western dominance and progress, imperialism and evolution, evolution and progress.
"By a brilliant but unorthodox American anthropologist .... a beautifully presented set of ideas, which should be read by anyone seriously interested in anthropology. Diamond stands out as one of the most perceptive of those who are arguing for a reformation of anthropology."
"Putting the whole of 'Civilization* in perspective and going beyond it is the most difficult and demanding task before us. Thinkers of the Left and Right, Occident and Orient, will be challenged to go beyond the social myths of the last six thousand years. Dr. Diamond's work is of key importance in this undertaking, a pioneering venture, courageous and clear. In Search of the Primitive is a door-crack of light from a forgotten outdoors of the spirit: the old and future world of true human nature in nature. It is a highly sophisticated use of analytical intelligence in the service of fullness of being. Stanley Diamond is an upper-upper paleolithic intellectual-hunter on the track of the biggest game of all-the state."
"This brilliant and profound work is a landmark in the development of an emancipatory anthropology. In an age of increasing narrowness, Stanley Diamond stands in the great tradition of those for whom the pursuit of knowledge is a critical endeavor aimed at bettering our condition."
—Joel Kovel, M.D., Albert Einstein College of Medicine.