Barcelona 2002 Colloquium

--{ Barcelona 2002 }--

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Board Games in Academia V


Thierry Wendling

H.J.R. Murray and the Study of Games in the Era of the Cambridge School of Ethnology

Heading chess and board-game historian, H.J.R. Murray (1868-1955) used so many anthropological references in his study of board-games that he can be considered a true armchair ethnologist of games. Through a general worldwide survey, he reconstructs the history of board-games from their invention. In his approach he was notably inspired by the Cambridge School of Ethnology. Though his contribution remains a valid illustration of the theory of diffusionism, it was unfortunately underestimated by the tenants of the new anthropology who, from the 30 onward, prefered intensive local study to general comparison. This paper will focus on the intellectual context of this era and will clarify the methodological and theoretical aspects of Murray's study of several hundred games.


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