Philip Carl Salzman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Philip Carl Salzman is professor of anthropology at McGill University.


Salzman received a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1972. He has done field research among pastoral peoples, in Baluchistan (Iran), Rajasthan (India), and Sardinia (Italy).[1]

He has a particular interest in the study of social change, and in "the ways in which particular groups have transformed over time." Perceiving change as "part of social organization rather than extraneous to it."[1]

Salzman is drawing attention for his book Culture and Conflict in the Middle East.[2]

He applies his expertise in the study of tribal societies to contemporary conflicts. He demonstrates "how the dual pattern of tribal self-rule and tyrannical centralism continues to define life in the Middle East, and using it to explain the region's most characteristic features, such as autocracy, political mercilessness, and economic stagnancy. It accounts [...] for [...] Islam's 'bloody borders' - the widespread hostility toward non-Muslims."[3]

"The Arab Middle East has remained largely a pre-modern society, governed by clan relationships and violent coercion. People... tend to trust only their relatives, and then only relative to their degree of closeness... A pervasive cult of honour requires that people support their own groups, violently if necessary, when conflict arises.

"What is missing in the Arab Middle East are the cultural tools for building an inclusive and united state. The cultural glue of the West and other successful modern societies --consisting of the rule of law and constitutionalism, which serve to regulate competition among unrelated groups -- is absent in the Arab world. The frame of reference in a tribalized society is always "my group vs. the other group." This system of "balanced opposition" is the structural alternative that stands in stubborn opposition to Western constitutionalism [...] Islam [...] has failed as a political organizing principle.."[4]

David Brooks describes Salzman's work as arguing that, "many Middle Eastern societies are tribal. The most salient structure is the local lineage group. National leaders do not make giant sacrifices on behalf of the nation because their higher loyalty is to the sect or clan. Order is achieved not by the top-down imposition of abstract law. Instead, order is achieved through fluid balance of power agreements between local groups." [5]

Public reception[edit]

Stanley Kurtz calls Culture and Conflict in the Middle East "a major event: the most penetrating, reliable, systematic, and theoretically sophisticated effort yet made to understand the Islamist challenge the United States is facing in cultural terms." [6]



  • 2012 Classic Comparative Anthropology: Studies from the Tradition, Waveland Press.
  • 2008 Postcolonial Theory and the Arab-Israeli Conflict edited with Donna Robinson Divine, Routledge Press
  • 2007 Culture and Conflict in the Middle East, Humanity (Prometheus).
  • 2007 Thinking Anthropologically: A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR STUDENTS, Second Edition, edited with Pat Rice. Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall. 121 pp.
  • 2004 Pastoralism: Equality, Hierarchy, And The State. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
  • 2003 Thinking Anthropologically: A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR STUDENTS, edited with Pat Rice. Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall. 99 pp.
  • 2001 Understanding Culture: An Introduction To Anthropological Theory. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland. 165 pp. (Reviewed: JRAI 8 [4]:809, 2002)
  • 2000 Black Tents Of Baluchistan. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press. 390 pp. Winner of the Premio Pitrè–Salomone Marino.
  • 1999 The Anthropology Of Real Life: Events In Human Experience. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland, "Guide to Contemporary Anthropology" Series, 108 pp.
  • 1996 Antropologia Delle Societa` Pastorali Tribali E Contadine//The Anthropology Of Tribal And Peasant Pastoral Societies, U. Fabietti & P.C. Salzman, editors. Como, Italy: Ibis; Pavia, Italy: Collegio Ghislieri. 472 pp.
  • 1992 Kin And Contract In Baluchi Herding Camps, Baluchistan Monograph Series II. Naples: Istituto Universitario Orientale & Istituto Italiano per Il Medeo ed Estremo Oriente. 109 pp.
  • 1990 Nomadic Peoples In A Changing World, P.C. Salzman and J.G. Galaty, editors, Naples: Istituto Universitario Orientale. 470 pp.
  • 1982 Contemporary Nomadic And Pastoral Peoples: North Africa, Asia, And The North, P.C. Salzman, editor, Studies in Third World Societies, No. 18.
  • 1982 Contemporary Nomadic And Pastoral Peoples: Africa And Latin America, P.C. Salzman, editor, studies in Third World Societies, No. 17
  • 1981 Change And Development In Nomadic And Pastoral Societies, J.G. Galaty and P.C. Salzman, editors, Leiden, Brill.
  • 1981 The Future Of Pastoral Peoples, J.G. Galaty, D.R. Aronson, and P.C. Salzman, editors, Ottawa, International Development Research Centre.
  • 1980 When Nomads Settle: Processes Of Sedentarization As Adaptation And Response, P.C. Salzman, editor, Bergin/ Praeger.

Chapters and Articles[edit]

  • 2007 "Making Ideas Researchable," P.C. Salzman & P. Rice, in Thinking Anthropologically: A Practical Guide For Students, Second Edition, edited with Pat Rice. Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall. 121 pp.
  • 2006 "Sardinia," Encyclopedia Of Anthropology, James Birx, ed.Sage. pp. 2053–2054.
  • 2006 "Lineage Systems," Encyclopedia Of Anthropology, James Birx, ed.Sage. pp. 1478–1479.
  • 2006 "Anthropology, Characteristics of, " Encyclopedia Of Anthropology, James Birx, ed. Sage. pp. 142–144.
  • 2006 "Baluchistan," Encyclopedia Of Anthropology, James Birx, ed.Sage. pp. 331–332.
  • 2006 "Karl Popper," Encyclopedia Of Anthropology, James Birx, ed.Sage. pp. 1899–1900.
  • 2006 "Post-colonialism," Encyclopedia Of Anthropology, James Birx, ed.Sage. pp. 1910–1912.
  • 2005 "The Iron Law of Politics," Politics And The Life Sciences 23(2):20-49, August
  • 2003 "Introduction" (with Pat Rice), in Thinking Anthropologically, Salzman and Rice, eds. Prentice Hall.
  • 2003 "What Anthropologists Are Looking For: Patterns," in Thinking Anthropologically, Salzman and Rice, eds., Prentice Hall (2003).
  • 2003 "Thinking Theoretically," in Thinking Anthropologically, Salzman and Rice, eds., Prentice Hall (2003).
  • 2002 "On Reflexivity," American Anthropologist 104(3):805-813.
  • 2002 "Pastoral Nomads: Some General Observations Based on Research in Iran", Journal Of Anthropological Research 58(2):245-264.
  • 2002 "Highland Sardinians and their Environment", in Conservation And Indigenous Mobile Peoples: Displacement, Forced Settlement And Sustainable Development, D. Chatty, editor. Oxford: Berghahn.
  • 2002 "What is an Ethnography?" ANTHROPOLOGY NEWS 43(4):49.
  • 2001 "Ethnography, Humanity, and Imagination: Seeing Culture and Society through the Eyes of an Individual", in Strategies In Teaching Anthropology (Second Edition), David McCurdy and Patricia Rice, editors. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
  • 2001 "Toward a Balanced Approach to the Study of Equality", CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY 42(2): 281-284.
  • 2000 "Hierarchical Image and Reality: The Construction of a Tribal Chiefship", Comparative Studies In Society And History 42 (1):49-66.
  • 1999 "Is Inequality Universal?", Current Anthropology 40 (1): 31-61.
  • 1999 "Mobilia e nomadismo", La Ricerca Folklorica 40:37-46, special issue on Societa Pastorali D’Africa E D’Asia, edited by Maria Arioti and Barbara Casciarri.

Articles Available Online[edit]


  1. ^ a b Entry with the McGill Universities website
  2. ^ Scholar: Tribalism Rules in Iran, Iraq and Syria
  3. ^ The Middle East's Tribal Affliction, Assyrian International News Agency, 1/22/2008
  4. ^ Why Arabs Suffer, National Post, 01/11/2008
  5. ^ "A Network of Truces," by David Brooks, New York Times, April 8, 2008
  6. ^ PREVIEW: I and My Brother Against My Cousin

External links[edit]