Guide to applied ethnology.
Foreign cultures, particularly those of the countries of the South, arouse the interest not only of tourists seeking a change of scenery but also of all those who, missionaries, cooperators, volunteers and other agents of governmental or non-governmental organizations , are called to go there for humanitarian, ecological, religious, political, cultural or economic reasons.
Whether they are doctors or nurses, administrators, agronomists, teachers, artisans or even preachers, all must face, in contact with these other civilizations, structures of thought and automatisms of behavior and language very different from their own. Which they are not always well prepared for.
Hence the importance, as Marc Spindler underlines in his preface, of “drawing attention to the otherness, the strangeness, the difference of the civilizations thus encountered during long or short missions in the countries of the South. And the challenge is not only to warn, but also to provide tools that will allow us to better understand in depth the different civilizations that excite the Western imagination. This is why Lothar Käser patiently traces the avenues and detours that lead to the heart of these civilizations, in a way inviting the reader on a real journey into what makes a culture and its transmission process. Each area it deals with – environment, economic organization, technology, language, kinship, religion, medicine, animism, etc. – constitutes a step on this journey.
Author: LOTHAR KASER