Vivanco - Tarzan - Chapter 02
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Simmel and Frazer
The Adventure and The Adventurer
Aram A. Yengoyan
Adventure, by its various definitions and by what it embraces, comes in many
expressions, some might be near as an aspect of quotidian life, others might
be far and distant such as dreams and venturing into totally new contexts.
Adventure and anthropology are coupled like Siamese twins. The reasons
are numerous and they take us in many directions, thus, I will explore what
I consider some of the important ones. The best of adventure might tell us
something different and new from normal anthropological enquiry and
even from abstract theories like structuralism. Anthropology was born out
of adventure, and its roots are quite recent in comparison to how the West
understood the foundations of adventure and exploration, which were prior
to anthropology's nineteenth century foundations. Since anthropology started
as an academic discipline, its empirical findings came from adventure and
adventurers in the form of colonial officials, explorers, missionaries, administrators,
and the intrepid traveler. One can quickly note that, in the
broader sense, mutatis mutandis, the necessities of forging anthropology as
a science could only have been done by denigrating its roots in adventure.
Examination, however, of Georg Simmel's and Sir James Frazer's writings
on adventure reveal the basic juxtaposition of adventure and anthropology.