Anthropology Max Gluckman
Emanuel Marx
  • LAST REVIEWED: 05 April 2019
  • LAST MODIFIED: 21 February 2023
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199766567-0052


Max (Herman) Gluckman (b. 1911–d. 1975) was a South African who became a pathbreaking British social anthropologist. In his studies of South and Central African societies he realized how deeply the colonial regimes and the global economy affected every aspect of peoples’ lives. As director of the Rhodes-Livingstone Institute in Northern Rhodesia and later as professor of social anthropology at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, he made long-term plans to study this modernity in urbanization, industrialization, and labor migration. While seeking to implement the research programs according to plan, he never prevented his colleagues and students from following their own inclinations and ideas. In the 1950s and 1960s the Manchester department assimilated and contributed to a constant flow of innovative ideas, such as the social field, social networks, the extended case study, and the analysis of social situations. It also engaged in several new areas and fields of study, such as rural and urban communities and industrial organizations in England and Wales, and the adaptation of new immigrants to various social formations in Israel. The lively and sometimes even aggressive propagation of the new ideas of the Manchester network induced anthropologists in other departments to refer, jokingly at first, to a Manchester School of Anthropology. Discussions about whether such a school ever existed continue to this day.


The only full list of publications and research was prepared by Gluckman in the early 1970s and first published in Gluckman 2012. A useful bibliography of Gluckman’s major writings on Africa is Werbner 1984.

  • Gluckman, Max. 2012. Politics, law and ritual in tribal society. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.

    New edition includes an introduction by Sally Moore and a list of Max Gluckman’s publications, research, and professional activities. This work is the most complete bibliography available. Originally published in 1965.

  • Werbner, Richard P. 1984. The Manchester School in south-central Africa. Annual Review of Anthropology 13: 157–185.

    DOI: 10.1146/

    The article deals with the achievements of the Manchester School in the 1950s and 1960s and discusses Gluckman’s major writings on Africa. Available online for purchase or by subscription. Also see Biographies.

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