Anthropology, the need for comparison and the absence of English peasants.
Alan talks about the effects of moving from history to anthropology and the
effects of working as an anthropologist in a Himalayan community in Nepal
in 1968. It changed everything and altered the way I saw things. Looking at
Earls Colne through the experience of having worked in a real peasant society
brought home the strangeness and the fact that England was so unlike a peasant
society. Alan talks about the nature of the paradigmatic shift he tried to
make in ‘The Origins of English Individualism’, the nature of blinkers, passionate
curiosity. Likewise, to understand Japan he had to go to China. Comparison
is essential, not through logical steps. Emotional and imaginative leaps and
how they are made.