Our title, the “anthropology of the alien,” sounds like a contradiction in terms. Anthropos is man, anthropology the study of man. The alien, however, is something else: alius, other than. But other than what? Obviously man. The alien is the creation of a need—man’s need to designate something that is genuinely outside himself, something that is truly nonman, that has no initial relation to man except for the fact that it has no relation. Why man needs the alien is the subject of these essays. For it is through learning to relate to the alien that man has learned to study himself.