In this introductory chapter Jos Platenkamp presents the main tenets of the reports written by an international group of professional anthropologists with research experience in societies of the Canadian Arctic, Africa, Asia, Oceania and Southern Europe. They all address the question how as ‘strangers by vocation’ they were received by the people among whom they lived and worked. Platenkamp emphasises that, the profound distinctions between them notwithstanding, these societies share some core ideas about the status and values assigned to the stranger. In doing so these societies offer a critical comparative perspective on the various ‘Western’ perceptions in this respect.
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