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Is the concept of worldview dead in contemporary anthropology? During a recent discussion on an anthropology listserve, a “firestorm” was created by the use of the term “worldview.” The majority of respondents opined that they no longer considered worldview a valuable analytic construct within anthropology. So, has worldview analysis been largely abandoned within contemporary anthropology? This spirited banter prompted a simple research project to assess how prevalent the worldview concept and usage of the term is held within wider anthropology circles. The project was conducted— using a ten year and ten pages deep anthropology-filtered Google search—to see if the term is still being used and by whom.
This paper discusses preliminary findings; and an initial analysis suggests that far from what has been suggested, “worldview” remains in strong usage within contemporary anthropology. A second interesting finding is that remaining theoretical interest in the topic appears most particularly within a unique subset of anthropological specialties (e.g. cognitive anthropology, medical anthropology, psychological anthropology and linguistic anthropology) that typically characterize the newly emerging paradigm of the anthropological sciences.