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Alain Testart (1945–2013): An Evolutionist in the Land of the Anthropologists

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image of Historical Materialism

Alain Testart (1945–2013) was one of the major social anthropologists of his time. He left behind a considerable and original body of work dealing with social structures and their evolution which afforded keys to the reinterpretation of archaeological material. A one-time self-professed Marxist, he had abandoned this theoretical framework many years ago. Nevertheless, since they tackle questions that are crucial to those who want to understand the past in order to change the present, his writings are a precious source of information and of thought-provoking reasoning.

Affiliations: 1: Université Paris Diderot


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1. Cauvin Jacques Naissance des divinités, naissance de l’agriculture 1994 Paris CNRS
2. Darmangeat Christophe Le communisme primitif n’est plus ce qu’il était – aux origines de l’oppression des femmes 2012 Paris Smolny
3. Darmangeat Christophe , Pétillon Jean-Marc "‘Structures sociales et blocages techniques dans l’Australie aborigène. Quelques éléments critiques’" Techniques & Cultures 2016 64
4. Johnson Allen W. , Earle Timothy The Evolution of Human Societies – From Foraging Group to Agrarian State 2000 [1987] Stanford Stanford University Press
5. Marx Karl Marx/Engels Collected Works 1990 Vol Volume 27 London Lawrence and Wishart
6. Marx Karl "Capital, Volume iii " Marx/Engels Collected Works 1998 Vol Volume 37 London Lawrence and Wishart
7. Testart Alain Les chasseurs-cueilleurs ou l’origine des inégalités 1982 Paris Société d’Ethnographie (Université Paris X-Nanterre)
8. Testart Alain Le communisme primitif: Economie et idéologie 1985 Paris Maison des Sciences de l’Homme
9. Testart Alain Essai sur les fondements de la division sexuelle du travail chez les chasseurs-cueilleurs 1986 Paris EHESS (Cahiers de l’Homme)
10. Testart Alain "‘La question de l’évolutionnisme dans l’anthropologie sociale’" Revue Française de Sociologie 1992 Vol 33 155 187.
11. Testart Alain L’esclave, la dette et le pouvoir: Etudes de sociologie comparative 2001a Paris Errance
12. Testart Alain "‘Moyen d’échange/moyen de paiement: Des monnaies en général et plus particulièrement des primitives’" Aux origines de la monnaie 2001b Paris Errance
13. Testart Alain "La servitude volontaire" Les morts d’accompagnement 2004a Vol Volume I Paris Errance
14. Testart Alain "La servitude volontaire" L’origine de l’État 2004b Vol Volume II Paris Errance
15. Testart Alain Éléments de classification des sociétés 2005 Paris Errance
16. Testart Alain Des dons et des dieux: Anthropologie religieuse et sociologie comparative 2006 Second Revised Edition Paris Errance
17. Testart Alain Critique du don: Études sur la circulation non marchande 2007 Paris Syllepse
18. Testart Alain La déesse et le grain: Trois essais sur les religions néolithiques 2010 Paris Errance
19. Testart Alain "‘Les modèles biologiques sont-ils utiles pour penser l’évolution des sociétés?’" Préhistoires Méditerranéennes 2011 Vol 2 1 18
20. Testart Alain Avant l’histoire: L’évolution des sociétés, de Lascaux à Carnac 2012 Paris Gallimard
21. Testart Alain L’amazone et la cuisinière 2014 Paris Gallimard
22. Testart Alain "‘The Significance of Food Storage among Hunter-gatherers: Residence Patterns, Population Densities, and Social Inequalities’" Current Anthropology 1982 Vol 23 523 537 [with comments]
23. Testart Alain "‘Game Sharing Systems and Kinship Systems among Hunter-gatherers’" Man 1987 Vol 22 287 304
24. Testart Alain "‘Appropriation of the Social Product and Production Relations in Hunter-gatherer Societies’" Dialectical Anthropology 1988 Vol 12 147 164
25. Testart Alain "‘Some Major Problems in the Social Anthropology of Hunter-gatherers’" Current Anthropology 1988 Vol 29 1 31 [with comments]
26. Testart Alain "‘Reconstructing Social and Cultural Evolution: The Case of Dowry in the Indo-European Area’" Current Anthropology 2013 Vol 54 1 23 50
27. Testart Alain "‘What Is a Gift?’" Hau 2013 Vol 3 1 [chapter translated from Critique du don]

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