Jack Goody

Jack Goody was a distinguished British anthropologist who made enduring contributions to our understanding of subjects ranging from inheritance systems to the relationship between technology and literature. A towering figure in the Anthropology Department of the University of Cambridge for over fifty years, in his early work he focused on the LoWiili people of Northern Ghana and their relationship to literacy. His later work focused on larger-scale comparative historical sociology, tackling subjects such as the origins of capitalism, the relations between Europe and Asia and the history of Islam. Polymathic and wide-ranging, Goody managed to thread together a grasp of detail with a gift for drawing out wider ramifications, and his concern to avoid Eurocentrism led him to undermine the conventional view of the ‘rise of the West’ and pursue important work on what he called the ‘Eurasian Miracle’. Polity has published several of his most important books, including Capitalism and Modernity, Islam in Europe and The Eurasian Miracle.