|Bloch, Maurice E. F. (b. 1939)|
French-British anthropologist. Ph.D. from Cambridge, UK. Fieldwork among the Merina of Madagascar. Wrote important neo-marxian work on power, history, kinship, ritual (etc.) in the 1970's and 80's (including his monograph on the historical development of Merina circumcision ritual: From blessing to violence: History and ideology in the circumcision ritual of the Merina of Madagascar, 1986). Notable later work on language and cognition (cognitive psychology).
In his famous 1986 monograph, Bloch proposes an influential theory of ritual and power, which states that ritual form may remain constant in the face of dramatic historical changes, which place the ritual (in the monograph, a Merina circumcision ritual) at the service of various social groups and power holders. This perspective was later followed up and further developed in a theoretical volume on circumcision rituals and the role of violence in ritual (see Prey into Hunter: The Politics of Religious Experience, 1992).
Bloch's work (with Jonathan Parry) on money as a moral (rather than a purely economic) factor in social relations has also been very influential (see Money and the Morality of Exchange, 1989).
Since the 1990's, Bloch has increasingly turned his attention to cognitive science and has written several controversial works on the relationship between cognitive science, memory and culture.
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