International Encyclopaedia
of the Histories of Anthropology

In the two decades following the Second World War, Meyer Fortes (1906-1983), an Africanist anthropologist, was a central figure in British social anthropology. Sometimes reduced to the rank of Radcliffe Brown’s disciple, his theoretical influences extend far beyond, from Freud to Parsons. He formulated an original theoretical synthesis and designed the most robust version of the descent theory, based on his field surveys among the Tallensi of Ghana. Fortes is currently out of date, but a reassessment of his legacy is called for.

Keywords: Social anthropology | Functionalism | United Kingdom | Ghana | Tallensi | Family and kinship | Political systems | Kinship systems | Radcliffe-Brown

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