Current Anthropology 1978

Barkow, Jerome H. Social Norms, the Self, and Sociobiology: Building on Idea of A. I. Hallowell. Current Anthropologist. 1978 Vol.19 (1): 99-112

Barkow opens this article by stating that Hallowell is important to sociobiology because he attempted to turn the attention of American Anthropologist Association members in a biosocial direction and posed new problems sociobiology needed to address if it continued its “new synthesis” methodology (99). Barkow’s intent is to convey the pertinence of Hallowell’s ideas to sociobiology in order to limit the problem of biological reductionism (99). Reductionism is a belief that one explanation is entirely adequate and all other explanations are unnecessary or wrong (114).

At the 1949 AAA conference, Hallowell laid out themes he believed anthropologists should address. These tasks concerned the evolution of behavior, specifically of language, of symbolic activity, of self-awareness and of the self (99). Barkow suggests that Hallowell was indeed a pioneering sociobiologist for raising these issues although he is not recognized as such. Hallowell addressed questions sociobiology is still attempting to answer today concerning the diversity of human and primate behavior on a bicultural level. Sociobiology must deal with the dynamic nature of human social behavior on a cultural and biocultural level, just as Hallowell did (100).

Hallowell presents sociobiology with the challenge of explaining the evolution and origin of self-awareness, which is basic to human diversity; to answer this question Barkow highlights Hallowell’s idea on cognitive mapping (100). Self-awareness occurs when the central nervous system acts as ‘an information processing system,’ evaluates itself in relation to the outside world and an internal representation develops (101). Barkow suggests three separate theories by which our ancestors began to internalize cognitive maps of themselves and normative structured behavior. The first theory is in accordance with Hallowell’s idea suggesting the internalization of significant others, a nurturing mother and a dominating male, lead to self-awareness. When our ancestors evolved from tree dwellers to more terrestrial individuals, necessary comprehensive cognitive maps of other individuals developed. This increased self-awareness, since the self constantly evaluates itself in accordance with other individuals (101). The second theory supported by the sociobiologist Trivers suggests that as individuals increasingly participate in reciprocal altruistic acts, they began to interpret rules of conduct and norms of reciprocal conduct (101). Finally, the theory of kin selection supported by Hamilton, lends favor to an inherent preference given to genetically close kin in the survival process (101). All three theories highlight close kin members as the first cognitive internalizations. This said, these three possible methods of internalization may have merged, creating the self and the self’s conformity to social norms (102).

Barkow believes the theories of Trivers and Hamilton are interpreted in a biological reductionistic way since the term altruism has two meanings. The first meaning of ‘altruism’ is to commit an act to further another individual’s disposition, without care for one’s own interest. The second term, employed by sociobiologists, uses ‘altruism’ as an explanation for increasing inclusive fitness of an individual’s genetic family (102). The strict empirical approach leaves out all other factors acting upon the situation. Barkow argues that sociobiology needs to balance the uniqueness of evolutionary and biological principles in reference to Hallowell’s biocultural work. While considering the dangers of biological reductionism, Hallowell’s ideas suggest a more behavioral approach to the development of cognitive maps and normative social structure. Barkow wants sociobiology to build on the ideas of Hallowell to deter the risk of biological reductionism.

COMMENTS

Many of the commentators agree with Barkow’s assumption that sociobiology’s approach to understand the origin and evolution of self-awareness and social norms is limited. Sociobiology should be understood as a cultural biology or a biocultural field. Kenneth Beals agrees with the need for a broader perspective in the field of sociobiology and concurs with Barkow’s assessment of Hallowell’s importance in the historical development of sociobiology. Whitney Davis makes a lengthily general assessment of what sociobiology is and the problems it addresses, specifically describing the difficulty of illustrating a link between behavior and genetics. The behavioral and psychological aspects of the evolutionary process must be understood at a deeper level. There exists a necessity to test the scientific hypothesis in order to replace the sterile speculation (108). The majority of commentary found Barkow’s article extremely well written and intellectually stimulating.

REPLY

Barkow replies to the commentaries by underscoring sociobiology’s incompleteness as a theory, since it limitedly ascribes to (reciprocal) altruism, which ultimately leads to reductionism. Reductionism implies that a single level of explanation is sufficient and all other explanations are unnecessary or wrong. By suggesting that only altruism can explain the evolution of social norms and self, sociobiology limits the scope of the dynamic human condition.

CLARITY: 4
DAVID LUKOWSKI Loyola University of Chicago (Dr. Kathleen Adams)

Barkow, Jerome. Social norms, the self, and sociobiology. Current Anthropology March, 1978 vol.19(1): 99-116

Barkow argues that Hallowell was a crucial, though unheard and unheeded, component in sociobiology. He feels that sociobiology should focus on the diversity and fluidity of human social behavior, not on its limits. Barkow credits Hallowell with teaching “us how to deal with this diversity from an evolutionary perspective.”

He looks at Hallowell definition of the self, which he sees as being the human possession of a central nervous system that internally represents the organism as it is modified by its own actions. Once this is established, Barkow illustrates how we, as organisms, regulate ourselves. Combining Hallowell, Trivers and Hamilton, Barkow gives three explanations for the evolution of human normative behavior. Hallowell’s explanation lays in the ability to internalize significant others. According to Barkow, Hallowell believed that the ability to internalize norms was a result of internalizing those significant to oneself. Repeated interaction with the dominant male or first mother of one’s group, resulted in specific learned behavior, replayed even in their absence. As a result, the behavior became normative and no longer is associated with a particular event.

Trivers’ explanation deals with the “biological” form of altruism. His theory is based on the idea of reciprocal altruism; an act of altruism is often followed by a reciprocal act, thus creating a normative system of rules. If an infraction of these rules occurs, the individual looses the benefit of altruistic attentions from others. Therefore, according to Trivers, following the rules/norms is a form of survival.

Lastly, Barlow talks about Hamilton’s idea of kin selection, which is based on the ideas of Hallowell. Hamilton believes that humans try to maximize their “inclusive fitness, defined as their genetic representation in the next generation.” He illustrates this with the idea that a parent with four children owns 100% of his or her genes, while the offspring of said parent owns 200%. It is therefore beneficial for the parent to risk his or her own life for the continuing survival of the offspring, creating social norms of behavior. According to Barkow, the complementary way in which these three theories fit together is not accidental. In fact, Barkow believes that without the inclusion of Hallowell, Both Trivers and Hamilton face the problem of biological reductionism, Thus Barkow’s argument that Hallowell, though over looked, was a fundamental character in sociobiology.

Comments

Those commenting on Barkow’s article were split evenly between those who agreed and those who did not. Those who agreed with Barkow’s statement that Hallowell was a crucial pioneer of sociobiology, tended to be in favor of sociobiology themselves. Most felt that Barkow’s portrayal of Hallowell’s idea was refreshing and reopened the debate concerning sociobiology and how much of human behavior is biological verse how much is cultural. Those in disagreement with Barkow varied in their complaints. Some felt that Hallowell was not a sociobiologist though his points were valid ones, while others felt that Hallowell’s points were not new or of interest. Still others felt that reductionism was not a bad thing leaving the article without purpose.

Reply

Barkow begins his reply by restating the premise of sociobiology. He agrees that sociobiology is an incomplete theory in the sense of phylogenesis. However, he stresses that a species behavior is seen as either consistent or inconsistent with the expectations of sociobiology. If found inconsistent, it is assumed that ecology created selective pressures causing the “apparent aberration.” As to the question of reductionism, he answers clearly, stating that reductionism sees one level of explanation as being sufficient. He goes on to show how there are typically more than one level of explanation and how each one can be argued in a valid way. Lastly, he asks those commenting, to at least see that Hallowell’s ideas interacted with others’ to create “ our present constellation of species characteristics.”

CLARITY: 4
AMAYA WEBSTER Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Beck, Brenda E. F. The Metaphor as a Mediator Between Semantic and Analogic Modes of Thought. Current Anthropology. March, 1978 Vol. 19(1):83-97.

In this article Beck analyzes the use of metaphor in understanding culturally abstract relationships, viewing metaphor as a mediator between levels of thought. Beck focuses on the “essential nature” of the metaphor—that which “juxtaposes elements of concrete image in order to formulate more abstract relationships”. Anything manmade can have metaphoric and “real” qualities, although the difference between the two is sometimes difficult to ascertain. Thus, because metaphors point to the existence of a given set of abstract relationships concealed within a comprehendible image, in doing so, they help us negotiate the position of concepts within reality.

A central segment of Beck’s argument involves the concept of synaesthesia: “perception by a sense other than the one directly stimulated” (e.g. a “warm” color). She claims that semantic codes are constructed from a base, pre-linguistic reservoir. Over time, semantic structures become connected with these associations at the non-verbal, emotional level. On the non-verbal level, there are not clear categories; on the contrary, there is reasoning by analogy. We perceive shape, smell, touch, color, simultaneously, and then our perceptions become connected with our network of prior associations.

Beck also critiques Levi-Strauss’s and Leach’s attempts to distinguish between metaphor and metonym. Here, metonym is rich in sensory imagery, but lacks logic, whereas metaphor is a process of abstraction but lacks sensory imagery. For Levi-Strauss and Leach, the need to contrast metaphor and metonym derives from the belief that metaphor can be defined only in relation to something else (e.g. metonym). In contrast, Beck maintains that a symbol is meaningful alone. The creation of a verbal metaphor is thus a process by which observations and associations at the “experimental level” are moved to the verbally ordered level.

For instance, at the first level an apple is an immediate object that can be experienced by the senses and can evoke connected memories. The second level of thought contrasts the apple with other “things” (e.g. fruit versus leaves). The metaphor, “to be the apple of one’s eye,” connects feelings of the apple to a totally new category description of feelings. Beck adds that metaphors are often used in proverbs, riddles, and ritual, usually where verbal paradigms are inadequate. In fact, Beck asserts that riddles and proverbs force us to examine hidden relationships and patterns. Like metaphors, they challenge rigid categories of thought. Ritual similarly evokes our senses to help explain why and how things occur. Furthermore, she claims that by studying the shifting content of metaphor, we can monitor the adjustment that a cultural code must experience when faced with change.

COMMENTS

Although Beck received much praise from the eleven individuals that reviewed her paper, several central concerns were raised. The most serious was from Edmonson, who asserts that the construction of metaphors is impossible without language and therefore Becks’s suggestion that metaphors serve to link semantic and non-semantic processes is invalid. Fónagy contends that synaesthesia cannot be explained at a psychological, sensory level. Several commentaries (Fernandez, Sapir and Crocker, and Levinson) suggest that Beck might have differentiated between the various logical types of metaphor that can exist independent of the particularities of language. Further, they point to the fact that one metaphor may have many meanings. Finally, several commentators doubt how metaphor can be practically used to understand cultural change. After all, few, if any, studies have demonstrated how metaphor interacts with conformity and conflict, and Beck, too, fails to provide an example of this.

RESPONSE

Beck responds to several of the criticisms posed, arguing that metaphor is possible without language. Thus, she directly dismisses Edmonson’s critique, offering examples of chimpanzees “thinking” in metaphor. In response to the suggestion that she distinguishes between types of metaphors, she states that the various subtypes of metaphor are just as likely to be universal as the logic of metaphor itself. And because it is true that metaphors can have multiple meanings, it is not useful to categorize them by type or meaning. Beck does acknowledge Fónagy’s concern that the psychological level of metaphor over the biological aspects should be of greater concern to anthropologists. Nevertheless, she notes that the mental structures that allow for metaphor transformation are present in non-human primates. Finally, Beck agrees that study in relation to metaphor and change is needed, suggesting that first a large collection of metaphoric knowledge should occur. As change happens, we should ask if new metaphors rest on the same thematic bases as the old ones. Eventually, we will attain a greater understanding of cultural change.

CLARITY: 3
MEGAN GOSTOLA Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Berreman, Gerald B. Scale and Social Relations. Current Anthropology June, 1978 Vol.19 (2): 225-245.

Berreman challenged the broad, complex anthropological issue of defining scale as a social issue that subsumes minute and grand layers of society and personal interactions. His purpose is “to draw attention to the complexity and diversity of the concept [of scale] without undertaking to analyze that complexity in any definitive way” (225). He overtly introduced his combined part structural-functionalist, part interactionist theoretical perspective while also alluding to theories proposed by Tonnie, Maine, Durkheim and other recent social theorists. Berreman succinctly defined scale in this instance “to mean the maximal size of the social, political, economic, and ideological-communication networks which significantly involve and affect the members of a social entity” (228). Berreman stated that the problems in defining scale in diverse societies are related to the complex, multiple factors that are necessary components of understanding scale. Some of the factors include: historical influences, social continuity, social structure and organization, and size of the community. The article’s structure is explicitly outlined in parenthetical numeration. His data relies heavily on his own field research with the Aleuts’ society and different sized societies in India.

Berreman analyzed the effects of post-contact inclusion of the small-scale Aleuts into the large-scale Russian trading network, and variations of intercaste interaction among diametrically opposite communities in India – small, isolated mountain villages to larger plains villages, and both to a contemporary Indian city (225). The article is focused on these three instances of Berreman’s own research and his examination of their social relations in relation to scale. Berreman discreetly inserts his assertions concerning the challenge of defining scale in his general discussion of his fieldwork, which caused some confusion in defining scale. Berreman, however, clarified the ambiguity in his concluding remarks. In an amalgamated list of twenty-six items, he cataloged the different levels of scale anthropologists need to consider in accurately defining and or in a pedant discussion of scale in the anthropological context.

The article requires extensive knowledge concerning applications of anthropological theoretical orientations in order to decipher his examination of scale. The examples drawn from of his field research are helpful in understanding the practical applications of the levels of scale to a social network.

COMMENTS

The nine anthropologists who commented on Berreman’s article all agreed that Berreman offered a thorough presentation of scale, addressing issues that were previously ignored or considered separate. Yet the majority also remarked on the confusing nature of the article’s organization in providing an intelligible definition of scale. The critical comments and suggestions were often fueled by the commentators’ personal theoretical preference.

REPLY

Berreman’s reply was a thorough examination and explanation of some of the confusing areas of the article’s discussion. He reaffirmed the purpose of the article and primary issue of scale and human interaction. He recognized the complexity of the scale issue that was apparent in the title, though rejected by the editors, of his current ‘Summary’ section. The original title of this section emphasized that the article does not draw definitive answers to the “processes of social interaction” and scale, being entitled ‘Inconclusion’ (243). Berreman further acknowledges that “in sum, ‘scale’ s a concept that is widely used in anthropology, both explicitly and implicitly, and is therefore worth looking into” by himself and in subsequent analyses (242).

CLARITY: 2
EMILY M. FREEMAN Loyola University Chicago (Kathleen Adams)

Berreman, Gerald D. Scale and Social Relations. Current Anthropology June, 1978 Vol.19(2):225-243.

In this article, Gerald D. Berreman examines the concept of “scale,” paying particular attention to its applicatory relevance as a component in the comparative analysis of social organization. Berreman first clarifies his particular theoretical point of view, which he labels an “interactionist” perspective. He elucidates this stance, describing it as emphasizing the ways in which perceptions and knowledge drive human behavioral choices. Berreman’s particular interest lies in the dynamics of stratification and pluralism and the effect these elements have on peoples’ experiences.

Berreman begins his analysis by emphasizing the intricacies involved in deconstructing the concept of scale. He concedes that he has no “theory of scale,” but rather aims to draw attention to his empirically derived “intuitions” about the ways in which the scale of societies affects human relationships. He emphasizes the significance of the implications of such insights, since social organization is necessarily expressed through interactions. Berreman concedes that operationalizing the definition of scale is problematic, but explains that for the purposes of his article he uses the term “to refer roughly to the size of a society as size influences the nature of social organization (including its complexity) (228).”

Using his own comparative field research, Berreman presents summary data to support several conclusions regarding scale as it relates to social interactions. Specifically, he refers to fieldwork done with the Aleuts of Alaska’s westernmost islands, the Pahari of the mountain villages and the Desi of the plains villages of north central India, and the people of the Northern India city of Dehra Dun. He spends a significant amount of the article exploring birth-ascribed social stratification (castes in Indian societies) and posits that these designations function most effectively in intermediate-scale societies, since in this context social relations are neither extremely personal nor anonymous. Related with this point, he argues that in small-scale societies (he calls these Type 1), status tends to be involute, whereas in large-scale societies (Type 2) it is generally fragmented, internally inconsistent, and dependent on the situation. Berreman remarks that large-scale societies generally differ from small-scale ones with respect to issues of complexity, diversity, and the resultant differentials in individual visibility and responsibility, social flexibility and permeability. Berreman argues that scale varies directly with the impersonality of social interaction and social control, the complexity of social and cultural differentiation, the opportunities for social mobility and individual redefinition of identity, and the anonymity of personal life.

In their responses to this article, the commentators (Yehudi A. Cohen, Victor S. Doherty, Marilyn Gates, Ulf Hannerz, Fuad I. Khuri, Robert F. Murphy, Stuart B. Philpott, K.N. Sharma and Zoltán Tagányi) raise a number of interesting points. More than one criticism draws attention to Berreman’s methodological approach and finds it lacking in a simplicity that necessarily impedes a more complete analysis of the idea of scale. Gates writes, “Berreman is well aware of this scale problem, but he needs either a theory of scale or an explicit methodology” (238). Hannerz argues for the necessity of an extensive discussion of the history of the notion of scale. He also criticizes Berreman’s stance for inadequately problematizing, in a systematic manner, the idea of power. Murphy praises the originality of the article on the grounds that Berreman makes “a pioneering attempt to approach the evolutionary question of differences of scale of societies from an interactionist perspective” (239). Tagányi applauds Berreman’s efforts to apply the folk-urban continuum (the idea of scale) to his fieldwork and dichotomic analysis.

Berreman responds to his commentators by first stating that he intended his essay to be an exploration of scale and human relations- what he calls process- and not social structures and institutions, or organization. He nevertheless concedes that he wandered past social relations in his analysis. He refers to Sharma’s discussion of cross-caste interaction and urban complexity in India and recognizes the importance of such an analysis in elucidating asymmetrical power relations. Berreman concludes by acknowledging the incomplete nature of his piece but affirms that it is a step in the right direction and ought to stimulate spirited discussion.

CLARITY: 4
EMILY SAUER Macalester College (Karen Nakamura).

Ciparisse, Gerard. An Anthropological Approach to Socioeconomic Factors of Development: The Case of Zaire. Current Anthropology March, 1978 Vol.19 (1):37-41.

Ciparisse’s purpose in this article is to show how an anthropological study has led him “to suggest certain approaches to the planning of [Zaire’s] rural economy, its production, and its sociocultural life” (38). While Ciparisse mentions that his suggestions about Zaire arise from an anthropological study, he makes no mention of what anthropological study, when the study took place, or whether or not he is the individual who conducted the fieldwork.

Ciparisse dedicates much of the article to describing the operation of the “clan” of Zaire, which is the basis for Zaire’s social structure. He provides detailed explanations of how the deceased still play an integral role within the clan, and what positions living members of the clan maintain. Ciparisse further divides the clan into patrilineal or matrilineal. He places strong emphasis, and provides more in-depth information, on matrilineal descent, since it differs vastly from the social organizations of the Western world (39).

Following his elaborate descriptions of the clan, Ciparisse projects how the clan, as the primary social structure of Zaire, affects the behaviors of the people of Zaire. More specifically, he discusses how the clan affects various aspects of life such as wealth and savings, interfamilial relationships, and economic growth. Ciparisse also makes mention of conflicts that result from the operations of the clan, as well as alternatives to resolve the existing conflicts. One such example of conflict is as follows: because the clan’s primary purpose is to provide subsistence for its members as opposed to mass production and widespread distribution of various goods, the clan is not as advanced economically as the rest of the modern world. In order to resolve this conflict, Ciparisse projects that since the elder members of the clan maintain such a strong a significance to the entire clan, they “…need to encourage younger members to participate in more intense economic activity as to allowing them to undertake enterprises with their approval and under their supervision” (40).

In his conclusion, Ciparisse revisits his initial purpose for the article and states, “The main object nevertheless remains that through the example of Zaire we become aware of the need for extensive studies of behavior, motivation, and social and economic ties, and this at the very beginning of any development project” (41).

CLARITY: 3
KATIE SYRACOPOULOS Loyola University Chicago (Kathleen Adams)

Ciparisee, Gerard. An Anthropological Approach to Socioeconomic Factors of Development: The Case of Zaire. Current Anthropology March 1978 Vol.19(1):37-41.

In this article, Gerard Ciparisee argues that socioeconomic factors are important to take into consideration when implementing development projects. In this article he looks specifically at Zaire. He shows how important clan structure and rules within rural societies are and how often the rules of the society go against the desires of a individual clan member to produce enough surplus to aid the country’s development. He suggests that anthropologists should be involved in more development projects and that with greater involvement, he hopes to see fewer cases of projects breaking up the social structures that are in place in the society.

Many development projects ignore pre-existing social structures and try to enforce a ‘Western’ view of what a country should strive for, emphasizing capitalism and individual gain. In Zaire, clans work for group survival and do not take a individualist approach in the society. The Western view of individual survival, i.e. making the most profit for oneself and not sharing it with others who are in need goes again the Zairian practice of surplus redistribution.

The data Ciparisee used demonstrates how the capitalist system would interfere with clan structure. Ciparisee states that 70% of Zaire is rural and rural areas are predominantly governed by clan rules and regulations. The capitalist notion of individual gain does not work in Zaire (or if it does, it divides the society) because of the societal rule that all resources are indivisible and inalienable (no one in the clan can take a piece of land, river, swamp or forest; all the property belongs to dead ancestors) as well as the fact that the old receive more than the young and the chiefs more than the elders because their respective needs are thought to be different. In this system the people who are most able to increase development (i.e. selling surplus to get the country out of debt) really have no desire to because the society rules say that they must give the surplus to their elders.

After discussing the social structure of rural Zaire, Ciparisee gives a background of failed development projects due to a lack of investigation into the socioeconomic structures of underdeveloped nations. He describes many examples of why clan structure is so important when implement development projects. Substituting a self-sufficient economy and clan solidarity with behavior based on marginal profit and increased importance on individual gain has been the downfall of development projects instituted by European Administration, missionary activities and Western commercial enterprises in these areas.

At the end of the article Ciparisee argues that development organizations should always take into consideration the clan structure and societal rules when implementing development projects to make sure the project does not send people into further problems, possible conflicts between elders and the youth or cause a mass exodus from the rural areas into the cities. He suggests ways in which the development projects can involve the whole community (especially the elders) so that everything remains in balance.

The article is well organized, it brings up the topic of development projects in general sense following it by concrete examples of how kinship/clan structure affects a development project’s success of failure. He concludes the article by stating suggestions for possible project improvements and the need for more attention to be paid to the socioeconomic factors already in existence in a society.

CLARITY: 4
HELEN BAKER Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Ciparisse, Gerard. An Anthropological Approach to Socioeconomic Factors of Development: The Case of Zaire. Current Anthropology March, 1978 Vol.19(1):37-41

The main issue surrounding this article is the failures of development projects in rural areas and why they are failing. The author, Gerard Ciparisse, advocates the use of anthropological studies of clan structures and the understanding of “local realities” in anthropology and the producing of development plans. He feels that data collected through anthropological study “not only clarify, but are essential to an understanding of the social and economic obstacles or avenues to development.” Using Zaire as a model, Ciparisse attempts to demonstrate how anthropological studies of local realities could assist development programs in becoming more effective.

The author organizes the article into two distinct parts. The first part focuses on giving the reader the basic understanding of Zaire’s social culture and how the nature of their social structures present an obstacle to development programs. For one thing, Zaire’s social structure is based on a clan system where the elders and chief not only make the decisions but profit greatly from communal living and sharing of natural resources, food and income. The elders and chief act as guardians of the land which belongs, in the Western frame of thinking, to the deceased members of the clan and it is the job of the chief and elders to keep the ancestral owners happy which ensures the success of the land. Ciparisse repeatedly explains the cultural and social factors that create a desire on the part of the clan elders and chief to minimize economic growth and prevent the individual from seeing direct benefits of his labor. Because wealth and land are distributed so the elders receive more than the young and the chief more than the elders, a young man gains nothing form surplus of production and therefore need only work enough to ensure he benefits from the trickle down effect. However, clan members in trouble receive support in the way of wealth and food from the tribe and again the need for individual surplus is down played.

The second part of this article suggest ways in which social structure and modern day development can be combined in ways that may help the success of development programs. Ciparisse suggests that in order for a society based on clan structure to succeed economically and socially the internal values must be respected. He proposes that as long as the elders of the tribe loose neither their prestige nor control over resources, the youth might be able to adopt economic innovations like governing marginal surplus. According to Ciparisse, either the elders will be pushed aside in matters of socioeconomic activity, or a way in which old traditions and new methods will join in a way that the youth will be supported by the elders and economic progress and social development can take place. Although, he offers no real ways in which this could happen, Ciparisse concludes his article with what he feels should be the initial step. A development project that includes “a systematic study of local, social and economic characteristics and of evolutionary factors that favor assimilation of new techniques introduced by the project.” He also emphasizes the importance of clan structure and how development programs have been organized according to western, not Zaire’s concepts.

CLARITY: 2
AMAYA WEBSTER Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

DeGarine,I. Population, and Culture in the Plain Societies of Northern Cameroon and Chad: The Anthropologist in Development Projects. Current Anthropology 1978 Vol.19 (1): 42-65.

DeGarine evaluates the role an anthropologist plays in agricultural and economic development projects. He reveals how anthropologists can be vital assets to the creators of development projects and provides examples of the unique type of data a field anthropologist may obtain. He concludes with observations of how anthropologists are subject to constraints because of the job requirements on development projects.

DeGarine’s data is drawn from five years of research with five tribes living in the northern part of two former French colonies, Chad and Cameroon (42). The five tribes are the North Masa, South Masa, Tuburi, Kera, and Musey. He then describes the geographic region, noting the various seasons, rainfall and the ecosystems in relation to agricultural development. He delves into the economic and socioeconomic aspects of the lives of the tribal members and their surrounding neighbors. He describes daily life, noting tribal members participation in varying degrees of farming, fishing, and animal husbandry depending on their location in relation to the local flood zones or dry areas.

Next, DeGarine presents various dimensions of change occurring in these villages, focusing in particular on cash cropping. He discusses the new cash crops, observing that when cotton was introduced it was immediately abandoned in heavy flood areas but favored in the dry zones. Rice on the other hand has been hard to introduce. As he explains, rice takes up too much grazing land for the cattle herding tribes and planting is strictly regulated and some tribes do not regard rice as a worthwhile food product for consumption.

DeGarine also discusses the challenges anthropologists face when dealing with development projects because of the nature of the job. He chronicles applied anthropology’s historic abuses. Beginning with the colonial period, applied anthropologists have periodically been hired to “counsel political and governmental authorities dealing with culture conflicts” (55). He also observes “the tradition of somewhat political ethnological advisors to the powers-that-be in developing countries has persisted” (55). Moreover, anthropologists are “required to make the local population accept a programme of which the terms are decreed”(56) which is problematic. Anthropologists conforming their research to the dictates of development projects are placing the projects’ ideals first, over the needs of the people who will be impacted.

In closing, DeGarine observes that the people being affected by agricultural projects are never present in the process. He suggests that anthropologists train “national” anthropologists, which would result in local anthropologists working in development projects in their own territory. This would enable development project participants to acquire representation within this process. He doubts, however, that this idea will catch on.

COMMENTS:

The majority of the commentators support DeGarine. They focus on a variety of different themes. These include DeGarine’s call for anthropological accountability, responsibility to the participants and the process of information acquisition for development projects. Handwerker’s observations concern the lack of representation of development project participants: “Where are the people who have been, or will be, affected by development policies for better or for worse?” (60). The only criticism raised was that there were too many foci in the paper, which would be best presented in multiple articles.

CLARITY: 4
NICOLE ANDERSON-MURILLOW Loyola University Chicago (Kathleen Adams)

De Garine, I. Population, Production, and Culture in the Plains Societies of Northern Cameroon and Chad: The Anthropologist in Development Projects. Current Anthropology March, 1978 Vol.19(1):42-65,208-9.

De Garine’s article examines the role of the applied anthropologist in development work, citing the theoretical example of Northern Cameroon and Chad. The article consists of two parts. The majority of the paper consists of a “human economist” case study of five tribal groups in Northern Cameroon and Chad. However, the main argument can be found in the final discussion of the applied anthropologist’s role in development projects. The latter, smaller part of the article is a critique of the anthropologist’s place in development. In this section de Garine argues that due to the nature of the anthropologist’s work and the nature of development work, the anthropologist’s contribution to development is destined to be overlooked, ignored, misused, and under appreciated.

He reasons that the anthropologist is called on as a temporary consultant to a project limiting the effectiveness of the anthropologist in influencing the long term decision making and the possibility of thorough research of the affected peoples. The anthropologist is most often engaged to describe a situation, help tailor a questionnaire for the local population, foresee the pitfalls of a project, and to predict the sociocultural effects of an already decided upon course of action. Additionally, anthropologists engaged to work in development are in a weak position with little power to effect any positive change. De Garine claims that the anthropologist “rarely has a real effect on the unfolding of a project”(56). He argues that project leaders prefer to have the “expert” opinion of anthropologists with specialties unconnected to the project and unfamiliar with the location to avoid the protective attitude some anthropologists feel towards a people or culture they have studied in depth. The role of the anthropologist is to temper the aggressiveness of development projects and see that they are applied gradually and moderately. De Garine concludes that the solution to the problem of anthropologists in development projects is to have national specialists as advisors because they would have a stronger position to influence the direction of a program.

The overview of the tribes—North and South Masa, Tuburi, Kera, and Musey—is meticulous and systematic. He examines production, education, fertility, marriage, and other demographic factors to place these tribes into sociocultural context. He examines issues of population, food production, agricultural techniques, economic changes, and the interactions between these as a method of evaluating changing quality of life. He notes that his analysis could be quite useful to the applied anthropologist or development worker. The supporting data is drawn both from administrative sources, such as the census, and his own research.

The commentators largely agreed with his critical views. The majority believe that de Garine’s examination of applied anthropology is a relevant contribution to the field of applied anthropology and discussed the ramifications of his observations. Of Two commentators disagreed with de Garine’s final recommendation that national social scientists be involved with development rather than foreign specialists. Additional criticisms include: de Garine never defines development; he does not explore the idea that cattle can be stores of value rather than merely objects of ostentation; his discussion of applied anthropology is wordy and would be better as an independent article. Finally, he never clearly states his main theme or objective.

In response to comments de Garine acknowledges that his discussion of applied anthropology “would have made a separate paper”(208). He says while national anthropologists may be no more effective than outsiders, they will likely be better tolerated. He felt that his thesis was clear: “the quality of life as the plains people see it has not improved”(208). He defends himself against a number of other criticisms by claiming to have covered the issues raised in the text; for example, his discussion of the value of cattle.

CLARITY: 2
KITTY HARDING Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Diener, Paul and Eugene E. Robkin. Ecology, Evolution, and the Search for Cultural Origins: The Question of Islamic Pig Prohibition. Current Anthropology 1978 19:493-540.

Diener and Robkin critique cultural ecologists’ theories concerning Islam’s prohibition on consuming swine. They also posit their own theory on how this should be studied. The authors begin by evaluating the functional ecological theory, determining that it is ahistorical and acontextual, explaining only function and not origin. An evolutionary approach (examining history and context) is needed to determine origin. These two approaches are distinct but complementary paradigms.

Because Marvin Harris is famed for studying this “riddle of culture,” they begin by critiquing his approach to this issue. They demonstrate that his assumptions concerning swine homeothermy, efficiency, productivity and handling, and Middle East ecology are inaccurate. Harris’ argument that the prohibition of pork consumption fulfills an ecological goal is attacked as lacking evidence, and the authors accuse him of contrarily positing that prohibition meets psychological, and not ecological, needs.

Harris’ approach is contrasted with that of Sir James Frazer (who argued that pig prohibitions began as an attempt to prevent herders from gaining power). Harris argues that environmental destruction is behind the prohibition, while the authors argue, following Frazer, that the prohibition caused that destruction. They advocate Frazer’s theory that the tradition began in urban areas and not with herders. The authors support Frazer’s view that the prohibition is a part of their values concerning purity and danger, rejecting Harris’ view of the phenomenon as an isolated one.

Similarly deemed invalid is Martin Orans’s argument that functional ecology cannot explain the origin of certain cultural practices, but can be used to determine the relative frequency of certain traits. Relationships (e.g. that a certain practice occurs in a society when a given environmental factor is present) do not prove causality. Further, assigning probability of practice occurrence in such relationships is arbitrary. This approach, like functional ecology, is ahistorical. The past cannot be inferred from present forms. Ecological function must be examined in historical and cultural context using empirical means.

Diener and Robkin posit their own theory of anthropological inquiry: “dialectical dialogue” (505), which frames a system study as an interaction between the system and the researcher. The authors examine perceived problems with the etic and emic approaches in the areas of observation, units of behavior, theory construction, interaction of the unit with its larger context, historical development of cultures, and impact of sponsorship on research and its use. They argue that dialectical dialogue is a combined evolutionist and functionalist approach with history, context, and an empirical means of study, thus overcoming the problems of other theoretical approaches.

COMMENTS

Most of the commentators agreed that regardless of their other critiques, the paper’s greatest strength was to stress separation of the evolutionary and functional explanations. Harris defends his knowledge of the issues that the authors criticize him on (i.e., issues of thermodynamics and ecology in Islamic lands). He also says that although he is criticized as being a “static ecologist,” he recognizes the importance of certain processes over time in a network of influence on the development of certain practices. Further, he claims that the authors are also cultural materialists, despite their claims to the contrary. Patai states that the authors are misusing Frazer’s theory, as he was concerned only with beliefs and customs, not ecology and politics.

REPLY

The authors refute Harris’ statements concerning homeothermy and ecology as being contradictory. They restate that functional ecological explanations cannot explain complex situations, and that they operate under many assumptions without offering new evidence supporting their conclusion. They also refute critiques that they have constructed a functional-ecological argument: These reflect a misunderstanding of their work. Finally, they draw parallels between their approach and that of Frazer.

CLARITY: 3
JAMIE MANDELL Loyola University Chicago (Kathleen Adams)

Deiner, Paul, Eugene E. Robkin. Ecology, Evolution, and the Search for Cultural Origins: The Question of Islamic Pig Prohibition. Current Anthropology, September 1978 Vol.19 No.3: 493-540.

In this article, Deiner and Robkin address the question of pork prohibition in Islam. They propose that in addressing this question both ecological theory and evolutionary theory are crucial in understanding how cultural systems operate as well as understanding why those cultural systems exist and how have they developed. In the article, the authors critique the theories of Marvin Harris as related to the Muslim prohibition of pork based on the notion that ecological theory disregards the role of history in the development of cultural systems.

The article is organized into five sections not including the introduction and conclusion. In the first section, the authors address issues of ecology and evolution in biological theory, stressing that in order to explain both origins and functions of cultural elements, it is necessary to have both a functional-ecological and evolutionary perspective. This point is the basis for their critique of Harris’ argument in the following sections that pork was prohibited in Islamic practice solely because of ecological concerns. The authors critique and dismiss multiple elements of Harris’ argument, grounded in the ecological functional school, based on their perceptions of his misinterpretations of ecology in the Middle East. In the next section, the authors go on to suggest that even if his ecologically based studies were scientifically sound, his argument does nothing to address the issue of origins. Deiner and Robkin continue by putting forth an evolutionary perspective of the prohibition of pork in Islam by exploring the hypothesis by Frazer that with the rise of states, urban communities, and social hierarchy, the pig and the peasant began to be viewed as drainers of resources. They focus on the idea of purity and danger in Islamic society, stating that the ban Mohammad placed on pigs was a political-economic strategy aimed at providing the adequate grain resources for growing urban communities in the Middle East. Finally, the authors critique basic assumptions they view as being made by ecological anthropologists, continuing to question the validity of the functional-ecology perspective as it fails to address issues of historical development.

The large amount of comments regarding the article by Deiner and Robkin vary a great deal. Several respondents agree with the authors’ critique of Harris’ work but find fault with the evolutionary perspective they put forth, stating that their argument is ripe with incorrect historical and theological statements regarding the development of Islam, and question their inclusion of the section addressing ethics and epistemology. Harris in particular takes offense at their critique of his work, stating that the article misrepresents his arguments as a functionalist instead of being grounded in cultural materialist theory. Though some respondents support the argument put forth by Deiner and Robkin, on the whole they find fault with the development of their argument on both factual and theoretical grounds.

In their extensive reply, Deiner and Robkin address a number of issues, first the critique of their inclusion of the section addressing ethics and epistemology, stating the importance of the addressing of the faults of the ecological movement in anthropology. They continue to address the cultural ecology of pigs in the Middle East, reevaluating point by point their critique of Harris’ theories. They also readdress the question of the logic of functional-ecological explanation in explaining origins of cultural practices. They also address issues that respondents made about issues of historical and theological addressed in their original article. They end by stating that they intended their article not be an attack of Harris as a person but rather they intended it to be a critique of his social theories.

CLARITY: 4
EMILY RACKOW Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Fuchs, Andrew. Coca Chewing and High-Altitude Stress: Possible Effects of Coca Alkaloids on Erythropoiesis. Current Anthropology June, 1978 Vol. 19(2): 277-291.

While the narcotic cocaine, (derived from the Erythroxylon coca shrub) produces euphoric and pleasurable effects for its users, Andrew Fuchs insists the Aymara and Quechua Indians in the Andean highlands use Erythroxylon coca for different reasons. Fuchs argues throughout his work that the stated motivations for coca chewing by the highland Andean Indians, corresponds seemingly well with the scientific research conducted on the physical properties and effects of the plant on Indians in highland areas. While the often cold climate associated with highland Andean lifestyles is undoubtedly a physical stress on the people, scientific research measuring body temperature heat loss on coca chewers conclude (though not definitively) that cocaine may indeed reduce some body heat loss. The findings comply with the given Andean reason for coca chewing, reduction of cold sensations. However, Fuchs also notes that some behavioral patterns, such as coca chewing during warm and wet time periods, are not compatible with the notion that coca chewing is simply functional for body heat loss prevention. Fuchs also goes on to argue that the reason for highland coca chewing is that it alleviates dizziness and high altitude-stresses. He correlates his argument with scientific studies determining large numbers of polycythemic cases among highland populations. Numerous studies suggest polycythemia is a significant stress on populations at high altitudes, and different surveys conclude that the number of coca chewers increases with the increase in altitude, suggesting that coca chewing serves as some form of medical relief. However, variables such as migration patterns, the economic status of chewers, and social status of coca chewing itself, are not taken into account in the surveys and these variables could have had a major impact on the amount of coca chewing in different areas.

Throughout the article, Andrew Fuchs relies heavily on other scientists’ work and research to supplement his own theory on highland Andean coca chewing. By reconciling the stated motivations of coca chewing with actual scientific research of the effects of Erythroxylon coca, Fuchs concludes that coca chewing is not an addiction or pleasurable activity, but rather a functional aid and supplement to life in a high altitude environment.

COMMENTS

The critical responses to Fuchs’ article were both extremely technical and broad in nature. For example, some responses focused on different biological studies concerning Erythroxylon coca and highland populations that were misinterpreted or simply ignored. Other responses were simply critical of Fuchs’ method. One critic noted that Fuchs did not conduct his own research (but still praised him for his article), while another critic faulted him for basing his work on the belief that the stated reasons for coca chewing were indeed true and factual. However, the overall response to Fuchs’ article was quite positive, and though some critics may have had small problems with certain areas of the work, overall the critics seemed to show an appreciation for his logical approach and theory on coca chewing.

REPLY

Andrew Fuchs’ reply focuses mainly on specific biological misunderstandings or misrepresentations as assessed by the critical responses. However, he also explains that his purpose in writing the article was to use the available ethnographic and scientific data on coca chewing to create some hypothesis regarding its widespread use in the Andes. Furthermore, he notes that further studies are necessary for there to be any definitive conclusions drawn concerning coca chewing.

CLARITY: 4
ALANA STEPHANSEN Loyola University Chicago (Kathleen Adams)

Fuchs, Andrew. Coca Chewing and High-Altitude Stress: Possible Effects of Coca Alkaloids on Erythropoiesis. Current Anthropology June, 1978 Vol.19(2):277-291.

Fuchs uses available ethnographic and physiological data to suggest the possibility that coca chewing for Andean Indians may be beneficial to individuals suffering from long-term hypoxia exposure and hypoxia-induced chronic mountain sickness.

A general trend Fuchs first states is that as the altitude increases, so, too, does the proportion of Indians chewing coca. There are complications in the data (for instance, Cachicoto at 2,400 feet has more coca chewing in general than Yacango at 6,150 feet) which Fuchs gives a few possible reasons for. The relationship of “increased altitude, increased coca chewing” is not completely without exception, even with those explanations. Several instances where this does not apply must be acknowledged. For instance, the indigenous peoples of the East Andean Montaña are known to chew coca, yet ethnographers studying the area have found limited coca use. Furthermore, where indigenous lowland peoples use coca, the preparation is considerably different than that of the Andean population. He suggests that this highlights that the reasons for chewing coca between the two groups differ. One must also consider in the relationship the socioeconomic status of the people, for mestizos and Europeans rarely are seen chewing, whereas Indians do not hide the fact that they do. This could be due to the fact that coca chewing is generally associated with the lower class.

After establishing the general relationship of higher altitudes to higher coca chewing rates, Fuchs’ general progression of argument can be summarized as: 1) coca chewing with lime is more a common practice in high altitudes; 2) this likely reflects the biobehavioral adaptation to hypoxia stress; 3) polycythemia is a biological response to hypoxia, but polycythemia is detrimental because of the concomitant increase in blood viscosity; 4) evidences exists illustrating that coca use at high altitudes can depress erythropoiesis; 5) coca-induced depression of erythropoiesis can reduce polycythemic stress, resulting in the improved health of the Andean Indian. He also states that coca chewing can indeed work anesthetically against cold and hunger, and this may be one large reason why coca is chewed.

Fuchs cites previous research in order to back his points, and uses graphs as visual aids. Many of his explanations eventually involve detailed technical information in order to properly argue his case. He states that one of the strengths of his explanation is that some of the symptoms found in chronic polycythemia are identical to those that coca chewers are attempting to alleviate through their use, such as fatigue and pain. His main intention is to provide information suggesting his hypothesis, but he does this in hopes that more detailed research will be undertaken in the future.

COMMENTARY

In general, the commentators found his hypothesis to be interesting, and many suggested that further research would indeed not only be valuable to the study, but that it would also be necessary to fully accept his proposal. Roderick E. Burchard, for instance, felt that the coca issue was more complex than Fuchs claims, although Burchard also states that Fuchs’ theory helped him realize that there was more than he understood as well. He also felt that Fuchs misunderstood some of his own works and that the difference in preparation of coca leaves as a significant basis for reasons behind coca use was misleading. Some, such as Paulo Roberto de Azeredo, felt that generally this sort of second hand study would not work, but Fuchs was an exception. Others, such as A. Roberto Frisancho, said that, although the hypothesis was interesting, the data did not support it. Solomon H. Katz felt that the hypothesis was important and attractive, but that the paper needed clarification. Katz suggested other tests to use in tandem. Michael A. Little hoped that the topic would be studied more in depth in the future, but that the argument as it stood was not very strong. He summarized Fuchs’ argument, then proceeded to show the faults in each point.

REPLY

Fuchs restated that his hypothesis was based on the available data and as such was an interpretation. He pointed out that virtually all commentators felt his hypothesis was interesting, yet very little else could be agreed upon. There was no sufficient evidence in the commentaries to reject his hypothesis. He explained a graph that had caused some controversy, and elaborated where necessary to better support his theory. In general, he agreed more with Katz and Little than commentators such as Frisancho and Burchard, who based some of his argument off a study by Montesinos that Fuchs then examined critically. He felt the most serious counter-evidence to his theory was given by Picon-Reategui, who did not give further information and the finding had not been published, so Fuchs was uncertain how to respond.

CLARITY: 3
CHELSEA ADAMS Macalester College (Karen Nakamura).

Godelier, Maurice Infrastructures, Societies, and History. Current Anthropology, 1978 Vol 19(4):763-771.

In this article Maurice Godelier discusses four different topics: the distinction between infrastructure and superstructure, the relationship of labor process and production, the difference between ideological and non-ideological realities, and the role of violence and consent in power and order (763). Godelier assumes that his audience is well versed in Marxist ideologies and philosophies. He uses several examples and relies on the work of others, particularly that of Karl Marx (763, 764).

Godelier underscores the distinction between infrastructure and superstructure. He argues that “the distinctions between infrastructure and superstructure is not a distinction between institutions, but a distinction between different functions within a single institution” (764). Godelier neglects to offer a definition of superstructure until late in the article when he gives examples of groups where superstructure (kinship, politics, and religion) function as social relations of production (also a function of infrastructures). Godelier also states that superstructure, unlike infrastructures “…do not function directly and internally as relation of production” (765). For example, it is not universal that kinship is dominant in societies.

Godelier further observes that it is only in capitalist societies that infrastructure and superstructure exist as different institutions. This is because capitalist societies separate different institutions from politics to art, to religion, and to economics (765). He does not elaborate on how these institutions are separated by capitalism.

In discussing man’s relationship with material, Godelier talks about Ideel realities, which are patterns and ideas needed in order for production to take place (764). Ideological is described by Godelier as “any idea that legitimizes an existing social order, along with the relations of domination and oppression” (766). According to Godelier, it does not matter whether the ideology is correct; if it is the idea of the dominant group, it becomes legitimate. Godelier notes that anthropologists Deleuze and Guattari believe that the weak are being dominated simply because it is the natural thing to do. The dominant group has to legitimize their dominance and this can come in the form of violence. For instance, among the So people in Uganda, selected elders are initiated to communicate with the ancestors. It may seem as if the non-members of this dominant group consented to domination by these selected elders. However, if one looks closely, one will find that any non-member caught communicating with the ancestors was automatically punished.

COMMENTS

There were five comments on this article. Maurice Bloch noted the unclear assumptions that Godelier made regarding ideology. Henri Claessen found it hard to comment on the article because he did not agree with any of it and critiqued Godelier for failing to use the word “culture” in describing infrastructure and superstructure. David Gilmore agreed with Godelier’s article: his only problem was that it “stops too soon” (769). Zoltan Taganya describes the article as highly influenced by both French structuralism and Marxism. Perhaps the best comment made was that of Oriol Pi-Sunyer who points out that “to get the most out of [the article] the reader must have done his homework, a task which involves not only familiarity with the classical Marxist corpus, but also some background in contemporary Marxist anthropology” (769).

REPLY

Godelier’s reply did not arrived in time for the press deadline.

CLARITY RANKING: 1
MARIA ROSA LAWENKO Loyola University Chicago (Kathleen Adams)

Godelier, Maurice. Infrastructures, Societies, and History. Current Anthropology Dec., 1978 Vol. 19 (4): 763-771.

This article is Godelier’s response to an inquiry about his opinion on ideology and class. His neo-Marxist argument is built on both Marxist and structuralist social theories, thus dealingwith issues of production in society. His ideas are organized into four sections, which define the terms infrastructure, superstructure, and ideology, while working through problems in Marxism. Though he draws on ethnographic studies of Australian Aboriginees and ancient Sumerians to support his claims, his article focuses almost entirely on theory.

The first of these sections serves to make the distinction between infrastructure and superstructure in societies. He makes the claim that this difference is not institutional, but functional – they are separate entities within a single institution. He opines that the infrastructure is formed by a combination of ecological and geographical conditions, productive forces, and social relations. He supports his point by concluding that “relations of kinship function as relations of production.” He states that a social activity must work as part of production in order to play a dominant role. The second section describes how economic determination relates to a superstructure’s domination, “the dominant social relations within a society are those which… function as relations of production.” This leads into the third section, where he describes his views on ideology. Here, the “idéel,” or representations and ideas created through language, is discussed in relation to ideology. The author explains that the ideél upholds the structures of domination in societies and questions functional views of ideology. This leads into the fourth section, where he explains the formation and upholding of the class system. It details the two phenomena of violence and consent, the things that the author believes to be the strongest idéels in supporting class structures. He explains that class is a shared idea blacked by the threat of violence. He also discusses how domination arose out of an exchange of services, in which the dominant class’s services were less material and governed the workings of life. Thus, he concludes that it is easy to think about the abolition of classes, but it is impossible to escape the way that relations of production and productive forces work with each other to support class structures.

CLARITY: 3
CAROLYN WATERS Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Henneberg, Maciej, Janusz Piontek, and Jan Strzatko. Natural Selection and Morphological Variability: The Case of Europe from Neolithic to Modern Times. Current Anthropologist, March 1978 Vol.19(1):67-82.

In this article, Henneberg, Piontek and Strzatko set out to show the variability in skeletal characteristics of populations in Europe from Neolithic to modern times. The authors assert that evolutionary forces no longer act upon humans because of the development of culture. The authors modify this claim to include population genetics because biological evolution cannot be dismissed. According to the authors, natural selection affects man through “differential mortality and differential fertility” (68). Since differential mortality is the key factor, the authors develop the biological-state index (Ibs).

Throughout the paper, the authors use the biological-state index equation and other statistical equations to analyze their data. The data analyzed by the authors comes from “anthropological publications concerning collections of excavated skeletons,” which is summarized in Table 1 (68). The table includes the period, a series number and the location the material was obtained from. This data represents an indirect approach because some of the publications do not include the scope of skeletal data the authors required. Once the data was analyzed, the authors presented it via tables and graphs.

The authors raise two hypotheses concerning the selective pressures from the Paleolithic to modern times. First, when a decrease in natural selection forces occurs, there is an “increase in intragroup variability of characters with a polygenic mode of inheritance” (68). Second, when there is a decrease in natural selection forces and the populations are living with a “similarity of cultural demands under conditions of incessant gene exchange,” there is a reduction in “interpopulational differences” and a “decrease in intergroup variability of average values of characters with a polygenic mode of inheritance and greater morphological similarity of various groups” (68).

Much of the article is statistical analysis supporting these two hypotheses. Over the defined periods, according to the authors, the statistics show less variation among the skeletal remains. Without prior knowledge of the subject presented, the study is difficult to understand fully.

COMMENTS

Throughout the comments submitted, most of the scientists’ views of the article included praise for the attempt to provide a “methodological link between physical anthropology and paleodemography” (75). Many of the reviewers believed the development of the argument was incomplete and faulty. Some of the scholars thought it would have been more complete if the argument focused on more than one evolutionary factor. Kenneth Beals suggested some of his work would be helpful in developing the analysis further, even though it had yet to be published. Some of the scientists thought the authors did not define the time spans as well as regional spans to allow for accurate analysis and comparison.

REPLY

The authors believed the commentators misunderstood their intent, although I agreed more with the commentators than the authors. Because of the misunderstanding, the authors dedicated much of the reply to clarification. The authors hoped the commentary would focus upon methodological questions. Since this did not occur, the authors expanded upon how and why they focused their methodology. The focus upon natural selection was partly decided upon because of the indirect approach taken with the data. Doubts and concerns were raised about correlations of the data and the authors reasserted their analysis to show the correlation. The authors based the reply heavily upon statistics.

CLARITY: 3
BRIAN GUTHRIE Loyola University Chicago (Kathleen Adams)

Henneberg, Maciej, Janusz Piontek, and Jan Strzatko. Natural Selection and Morphological Variability: The Case of Europe from Neolithic to Modern Times. Current Anthropology March, 1978 Vol.19(1):67-82.

The article addresses the general question of human differentiation and how we can account for such variation over time within our species. One existing viewpoint of human differentiation recognizes natural selection along with cultural evolution as a process for change. Another viewpoint negates the present impact of natural selection, seeing culture as the sole adaptive mechanism. The authors note that natural selection does affect inter- and intragroup variability in humans.

The first hypothesis is the decrease in the intensity of natural selection from the Paleolithic to modern times in Europe led to an increase in differences among populations. The authors’ second hypothesis is that the decrease in natural selection along with cultural factors led to a decrease in differences between populations. Analyzing skeletal materials from groups of humans across Europe from the Neolithic Period up to modern times, the authors choose several physical characteristics of the skull to measure. Much of the evidence supports the first hypothesis, rather than the second. For the first hypothesis, the authors calculate the mean values of the biological state index, which measures the intensity of selection pressures, and the standardized value of observed standard deviations, which represents the variations of morphological features. These calculations show a relationship between an increase in differences among a population and a decrease in the intensity of natural selection. Similarly, the authors support their second hypothesis by applying the data from the skeletal materials to a formula. The standard deviations of the data, which represent the variability between groups, and the mean values of the characteristics, support their thesis that variations of physical skeletal characteristics between populations decrease with time.

Each formula used is explained to show specifically show the numbers support their conclusions. Graphs and tables accompany the evidence to illustrate the points made. These visual aids present the sources of the data, what areas of Europe were represented among the populations used, and the results of their calculations. The authors also recognize that other factors besides natural selection could contribute to changes in variability among and between populations. In conclusion, natural selection affects variability between and among species. With the development of culture, the diminished effect of natural selection, and migrations, differences between human populations are fading.

The commentators generally commend the authors for analyzing the influences of natural selection on skeletal variations. They criticize their methods, their analysis and their theoretical assumptions. A major criticism is that their samples do not represent a diverse group and are too small. They also question the assumption that natural selection is the only possible factor that influences human variability. They suggest that alternative factors could include genetic drift, inbreeding, isolation, and most importantly, migration. Some commentators also ask for a more specific explanation of how the decrease in the intensity of natural selection affects human variability.

The authors respond to the commentators by defending the quality of their data samples. They stress that their samples represented the average samples available of skeletal materials. They also explained the process of reaching their hypothesis to decide that natural selection is the main factor that contributes to human variation. The authors dismissed the importance of migratory factors influencing skeletal variation.

CLARITY: 3
LAUREN GREENBERG Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Johnson, L. Lewis. A History of Flint-Knapping Experimentation, 1838-1976. Current Anthropology 1978 Vol.19 (2): 337-372.

Johnson’s article outlines a detailed history of published flint-knapping (the creation of stone tools by process of removing flakes through percussion or pressure) experimentation within archaeologically-oriented sources. She is careful to note that her article deals almost entirely with knapping and is incomplete in regards to ground stone tools, the use of tools, and contemporary knapping by groups like Australian aborigines (337). Her history includes only those experiments performed by experienced knappers specifically to test the “artifactural nature” (337) of the tools.

The history is divided into nine categories to better define the eras of study. The first deals with experiments prior to 1879. The next seven are divided into subsequent decades (1880-1889, 1890-1899, etc.) Within each category, Johnson explores the works published during this time, discusses major trends in flint-knapping experimentation, and indicates particularly important studies.

Johnson argues modern investigators first explored flint-knapping in order to better identify man-made lithics (the archaeological term for stones that have been intentionally altered by humans). The next purpose of such experimentation that she notes is to understand the manufacturing process involved in making tools (358). This, she argues, gave rise to the reproduction of specific tools like projectile points, scrapers, and axes. The trend has only reached its climax recently, with some archaeologists attempting to identify the work of particular prehistoric knappers. The final trend Johnson observes is the attempt to understand the physics of fractures in lithic raw materials like chert and obsidian. In all of this work, Johnson stresses the circumscribing theme of sharpening the focus and developing the complexity of experiments (358). Now, she argues, archaeologists can examine a lithic artifact and determine, within a limited range of possibilities, how that artifact was created. Additionally, she admits that not all knapping experimentation has been progressive: some archaeologists have been ignorant of the work of their predecessors and consequently taken steps in the wrong direction. Johnson closes by saying that flint-knapping experiments have matured enough that archaeologists can glean useful information from humanity’s oldest form of technology (359).

COMMENTS

Commentary following Johnson’s article is profuse. The majority of archaeologists and knappers who offer criticism mention their delight at the completion of such a research-driven and useful work. The major critiques of the work are few but voiced by many reviewers. One is a wish that the author had more fully addressed experiments conducted with heat treatment of lithic raw materials. A second, voiced most strongly by Daniel Cahen, is that Johnson should have drawn stronger “conclusions from more than a century of experimentation or used the historical development to present new perspectives for future research in this field” (360). Third, several scholars wish that Johnson had placed more emphasis on ceasing the duplication of knapping experiments because of ignorance of original studies. Still another criticism is that the author should have better related knapping experiments to archaeology and anthropology as a whole. The article’s only scathing detractor is Brian Hayden who states that the history has an “almost total lack of purpose or unifying theme” and that Johnson “never even attempts to present a rationale for imposing this article on the reader” (361).

REPLY

In Johnson’s reply, she thanks the commentators, with the exception of Hayden, for their praise and notes that their positive reinforcement convinces her that her efforts with this article were well spent (366). She proceeds to address some minor disagreements between herself and her reviewers on a number of trivial issues and closes with the announcement of a new knapping newsletter.

CLARITY: 4
WILLIAM H. RUDOLPH Loyola University Chicago (Kathleen Adams)

Kolaja, Jiri. An Observation on Soviet Society. Current Anthropology, 1978. 19(2): 373-377.

Jiri Kolaja aims to explain how sociology in the U.S.S.R. is both an academic and governmental institution. His main argument is that the sociology in the U.S.S.R. is biased due to a corrupt political agenda and government involvement within the field. Based on his analysis of one article, he begins his argument that most Soviet sociologists received their training in fields other than sociology. He concludes that they need more specific training in sociology.

Kolaja believes that the U.S.S.R. is interested in sociology only to further their political ideology. Then, he mentions multiple sociological articles written by Soviets concerned with Soviet ideals. Kolaja continues to argue Soviet bias by referring to specific issues in the journal Sotsiologicheskie Issledovaniya (373). To show a bias exists, he lists every article in both issues, mentions very few details about their content, and uses examples that present a biased picture themselves. Ultimately, the list and descriptions of these articles may show some underlying political agenda, according to the author.

Kolaja specifically addresses the importance of a report by Rutkevich, noting all the foci of all the references Rutkevich uses. Kolaja concludes that these references are politically oriented. Then, he lists that Rutkevich believes Soviet sociology should be concerned with “administration, learning about social structure, life-images in the family, and control and guidance in relation to Soviet society and how it can manipulate these variables” (373,374). In addition, Rutkevich thinks that Soviets should criticize oppositional thinking (374). Kolaja concludes that Soviet sociology should become more scientific and less political.

COMMENTS

Three sociologists and two anthropologists reviewed this article and came to similar conclusions. The general feeling is that this subject has already been researched greatly and covered in much detail. One commenter expresses his opinion that Current Anthropology is not the place for this article. Many commenters believe Kolaja has gaps in his argument and could argue his point better if he had used a few examples of articles and explains their significance rather than listing them. However, all of Kolaja’s colleagues agree that Soviet sociology has a political bias and should do more to use scientific methods in their research. Also, they agree that it is a good sign that sociology is an emerging field in the U.S.S.R. and that this shows some hope for objective science.

REPLY

In reply to his colleagues, Kolaja acknowledges there is disagreement concerning methodological issues in the Soviet Union and that three more Soviet journals are now publishing sociology-related articles.

CLARITY: 4
QUINN COLLING Loyola University Chicago (Kathleen Adams)

Kohl, Philip L. The Balance of Trade in Southwestern Asia in the Mid-Third Millennium B.C. Current Anthropology, 1978 Vol.19(3):463-474.

Kohl examines the archaeological data on trade in early Iran and discusses it’s implications for our understanding of the establishment of state societies. Kohl believes that trade is a determinant of culture, as societies exchange not only products, but also ideas. Kohl states that in researching the influence of trade, one must recognize the product’s manufacture and transport, how trade was organized, and most importantly, why the product was traded.

Kohl begins by reviewing his fieldwork data from Tepe Yahya, Iran. He focuses on period IVB1 (2600-2500 B.C.), which is characterized by the production of carved bowls (termed Intercultural Style vessels). Of the vessels found, 81% were recovered in the strata of Period IVB1. The other 19% come from later periods and are theorized to be heirlooms (464). The vessels are almost identical to pieces found in Mesopotamia and Khuzistan. Evidence suggests that vessels were transported from Tepe Yahya to other Sumerian and Indus Valley civilizations. Kohl believes the Intercultural Style vessels signify the emergence of class stratification and are central to the interpretation of trade relations between ancient civilizations.

Kohl interprets the structure of trade in the mid-third millennium as a dichotomy between urban lowlands and specialized highlands. The lowland communities utilize irrigation agriculture and depend on food surplus as their main product. In contrast, the highland communities have little agriculture and depend on luxury items as their main product. Trade was balanced between these societies because their goods were complementary and promoted interdependence. Evidence shows that these communities began to trade after Sumerian leaders started collecting luxury items as temple decorations and symbols of their power. Highlands specialized in luxury goods production and were forced to turn to the lowlands for food. Tepe Yahya became one such highland, specializing in Intercultural Style vessels.

Trade of the vessels was short-lived. It was presumably difficult to transport fragile goods over the 1,000-mile route for an extensive period. More importantly, Kohl argues, “The original network was like a giant house of cards, totally dependent upon every structural member” (473). The communities’ interdependence created the strong resistance to change that accounts for the short period of Intercultural Style vessel production.

Kohl assesses his conclusions on long-distance trade, questioning the validity of the arbitrary boundaries that distinguish regions. Furthermore, he recognizes the folly of archaeology, as one person alone cannot be familiar with the entire system in which a society interacts.

COMMENTS:

All fifteen commentators acknowledge that Kohl’s discussion is stimulating, although many found points of dissent. Several question the intensity of the interdependence between communities. Gilman argues that it would be impossible to transport the necessary amount of sustenance from Mesopotamia to Tepe Yahya for an interdependent relationship to form. Some cite the lack of archaeological evidence; others speculate that the extent of the dichotomy was over-emphasized. Other commentators express disappointment at Kohl’s failure to analyze Intercultural Style vessels’ design in relation to their function, popularity, and significance. Additionally, Hamlin and Stark both berate Kohl for not proposing a tangible theoretical perspective for his data.

REPLY:

Kohl reconciles the opposing views on the extent of the dichotomy by reducing the argument to its basic anthropological foundation, dependent on whether one accepts diffusionist or independent evolution doctrines. To the criticism of his lack of analysis of the vessels, Kohl states that the meaning of many of the designs has not been discovered. He refers to his study of the design elements, in which he concluded that “their exact meaning was irrelevant in that it was abundantly clear that the designs functioned as symbols and that that fact alone was important” (486). Furthermore, Kohl responds to the critique that he failed to form a theoretical perspective by arguing that explanations of historical events need not follow the scientific method.

CLARITY: 3
MARISSA BROSTED Loyola University Chicago (Kathleen Adams)

Kohl, Philip L. The Balance of Trade in Southwestern Asia in the Mid-Third Millennium B.C. Current Anthropology, September 1978 Vol.19(3): 463-475

In his article, Kohl stresses the importance of studying trade in ancient Mesopotamia and Sumer. He asserts that through study of trade patterns, we can learn about the societies of these areas, as well as their political relationships. Responding to allegations that the dichotomy of production and exchange have been over-emphasized by archeologists, Kohl argues that this relationship is the clearest window into dead civilizations.

Kohl begins by establishing the existence of trade relations in the third millennium B.C. Iranian Peninsula. The presence of certain patterns of ceramic and carved vessels, dubbed ‘Intercultural Style’ artifacts throughout the Persian Gulf area is noted, as is the discovery that materials which were mined in specific areas were found in all parts of the peninsula. Extensive trade having thus been proved, Kohl turns to the effects this trade had on contemporary society.

It is unknown how much of third-millennium trade was controlled by the state, and how much was conducted by private individuals. However, it is known that because of localized production, communities as a whole had specific trade needs. In the highly populated lowlands, agriculture produced grain surpluses, but the absence of mines created a need for minerals, ceramics, and metals. Surrounding highland areas were much less populous, and were generally rich in mined goods. However, the lack of fertile ground meant that food was produced at very low levels. Therefore, these two areas required constant trade with one another in order to maintain equilibrium. As time went on, these relationships became increasingly important, and eventually the people of the highlands became extremely dependent upon those of the lowlands. .

Kohl claims that certain aspects of these ancient communities can be inferred from this information. First, he claims that lower Mespotamia would have entered a state of dependence upon the highlands, caused by their relative wealth and control of crucial commodities. Most importantly, he counters the belief that lowland Mesopotamia was divided into isolated, unfriendly kingdoms. While he acknowledges the geographical potential for such a situation, he claims that in order to counter the power of the highlanders, Mesopotamia would have developed a unified society. This, he says, would have formed ‘Southern Mesopotamia into a single cultural and political whole.’

There have been assertions by some archeologists that trade was but one of many variables in the development of ancient civilizations. Kohl, however, argues that Mesopotamia arose as a unified society as a direct result of trade dynamics.

CLARITY: 3
REBECCA DRISCOLL-OLSON Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Leacock, Eleanor. Women’s Status in Egalitarian Society: Implications for Social Evolution. Current Anthropology 1978 Vol. 19(2): 247-273.

Leacock discusses egalitarian societies, noting they have evolved and adopted foreign ideas as a result of exterior influences. These ideas include the adaptation of a hierarchical social structure and the practice of male superiority over women. Leacock’s analysis addresses three major problems in the understanding of social institutions: the distortion of data due to anthropologists’ “culturally bound premises about male-female relationships” (255); the way in which “power relations depend upon access to or control of wealth” (255); and the overlooked “autonomy of women in egalitarian societies” (255).

According to Leacock, “relative male dominance and female deference is a constant theme in the ethnographic record” (251). Many anthropologists have written ethnographies through the lens of a class-orientated, patriarchal society. Leacock uses the work of Landes (The Ojibwa Woman), Morgan (League of the Iroquois and Ancient Society), and Le Jeune (Jesuit Relations) to demonstrate the ethnocentrism embedded in anthropologists’ ethnographies. Leacock states that we have little information concerning the contribution of women beyond “brief remarks concerning food preparation, and home and child care”(247).

Leacock uses her study of the Montagnais-Naskapi people to describe the egalitarianism of band societies, and illustrates that “nothing with regard to the autonomy of women in the social structure of egalitarian band societies necessitated special deference to men”(249). She explains that the pre-colonial egalitarian band societies were not territorially restricted. Band societies consisted of small groups that coalesced when resources permitted, and splintered when resources were lacking. Chiefs did not exist, and decision making was a group effort. Each individual contributed to the well being of the band. As a result the concept of authority was different from that of class-oriented societies. Egalitarian band societies did not dichotomize public and private spheres and both men and women contributed equally to the decision-making processes. This eliminated the superior/inferior divider between men and women’s status.

Leacock believes these band societies were forced to evolve into hierarchical societies due to European colonization’s imposition of economic and political systems (from 1450-1640). Citing Wallerstein, she observes the worldwide dominance of the socio-economic, class-based system of capitalism, which impacted the status of women in egalitarian band societies (254). Band societies went from hunting-gathering to advanced agricultural systems. This evolution “promoted the growth of private property and economic classes, formed the individual family into an independent economic unit, and removed from the hands of women any authority and placed it solely in those of men”(255). Accordingly, women in modern band societies became oppressed.

Leacock believes women’s social roles in egalitarian societies were not predestined, but are products of the social, political, and economic systems that promoted the subordination of women.

COMMENTS

Many commentators supported Leacock’s questioning of the credibility of ethnographic records. Past anthropologists have overlooked the importance of women’s contributions (beyond child rearing and food preparation). Many agreed that hierarchical Western societies have imposed their habits upon colonized cultures. However, Leacock is criticized for her assumption that all societies begin as egalitarian then inevitably become class-based due to the imposing habits of the western world. This assumption implies that social-economic structures travel on a unilinear evolutionary path. Leacock’s analysis is considered speculative and theoretical and she is criticized for not providing enough data to make her argument convincing.

Some commentators critiqued her terminology, noting that words such as “egalitarian”, “collective”, and “communal” were used too broadly. They contend Leacock’s terms may alter the concepts she is addressing. Some offered vocabulary suggestions to help clarify her propositions.

REPLY

Leacock agrees that her use of supporting ethnographic data is limited, and that she should have incorporated more supporting data. Concerning the use of terminology such as “autonomy” versus “equal,” Leacock states that she is open to suggestion. She held her ground on words such as “egalitarian,” and “collective,” defending her selections and explaining her rational.

CLARITY RANKING: 2
GUADALUPE HERNANDEZ Loyola University Chicago (Kathleen Adams)

Leacock, Eleanor. Women’s Status in Egalitarian Society: Implications for Social Evolution. Current Anthropology, June 1978 Vol. 19: 247-274.

Eleanor Leacock addresses the issue of women’s status in egalitarian society. She argues that the analysis of women’s status is inextricably linked to the analysis of a larger social-economic structure as well as an understanding based on our own hierarchical society. She further states that these things distort most, if not all analysis, and thus emphasizes that a critical re-evaluation of ethnographic materials and gender representations is important. Leacock points out that most analysis of female status (or lack thereof) in traditional egalitarian society is skewed because it is based on a view of the society of study as one destined to be like our own; this unilinear evolutionist view, she argues, is what dooms these analyses from stating the matter in a clear and objective way.

Leackock outlines the functioning of egalitarian societies, explaining that an understanding of them as based on production for use and control by the producers over their work lays the basis for examining the interconnected process through which specialization of labor and production for exchange led to private property, class difference, and the subservience of women in the economic family unit. Thus, she argues that before western influence, societies that existed in bands or villages and were organized so that all individuals had access to production and trade and enjoyed individual autonomy. This meant that there was no reason for stratification or differences in power between genders. She argues that this happened in most societies only when they came into contact through trade or monetary transactions with other civilizations, thereby placing emphasis and power in the hands of the men, who were the ones to trade and had access to the resulting resources. This change, she says, was often what began the devaluation of women’s roles in society to that of simply the reproducer.

To extract this knowledge, she argues the necessity of going back to re-interpret older ethnographic texts of egalitarian societies before this change and of editing out the ethnographer’s bias of his own hierarchical culture. To this end, she summarizes and analyzes studies of the Montagnais – Naskapi people, the Ojibwa, the Iroquois, pointing out the egalitarian structures of these societies and contrasting them with the gender-stratified statements ethnographers impose on them. She concludes by drawing all these resources and theories together in a discussion of the anthropological issues and the egalitarian realities of past societies.

The commentors were supportive of her venture into deconstructing these gendered issues within anthropology. Their criticisms included a lack of specificity, polarization and reification of concepts, inadiquately defined terminology, lack of theoretical and case study support of the issue, and a comment that there is an immediate need to study the societies that are still living in relative isolation and with egalitarian structures, as these societies will soon be transformed.

In her response, Leacock cites the main criticisms and responds in kind. She acknowledges the need for more theoretical and ethnographic backing as well as need for greater definition in terminology (while citing the inevitable difficulty of this task). She discusses women’s relations to modes of production as needing clarification, and explains her use of the ethnohistorical method, emphasizing the neglected utility and value of this method.

CLARITY: 3
KJERSTIN GURDA Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Mundkur, Balaji. The Alleged Diffusion of Hindu Divine Symbols into Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica: A Critique. Current Anthropology 1978 Vol.19 (3): 541-585.

In this article, Mundkur questions the notion that parallels between religious symbols in Hindu and Mesoamerican cultures illustrate the existence of trans-Pacific diffusion of Hindu influences. The Hindu symbols concerned are those of the deities of the lunar asterisms (the naksatra) and the planets (the navagrahah) as compared with the structural features and symbols of the 20-day period in the 260-day sacred calendar of Mesoamerica (541). Mundkur devotes much of the article to examining the works of Kirchhoff, Kelley, and Barthel, all of who imply parallels between the aforementioned symbols/features of the two groups. While Mundkur is effective in dispelling the claims of Kirchhoff, Kelly, and Barthel, his meticulous examination of specific details of the deities and calendar makes the article difficult to follow. Mundkur provides numerous charts and tables to illustrate his points, but spends more time explaining the tables than outlining his argument.

After some introductory remarks about the differences between the iconography of the two groups, Mundkur discusses the supposed similarities between the naksatra series of the Hindus and the symbols of the Mesoamerican calendar proposed by Kelley and Kirchhoff. According to Mundkur, there are historical paradoxes in the claims of both Kirchhoff and Kelley (for example, Kelley claims the Hindus exerted more influence on the Aztecs than the Maya, who appeared much earlier). Also, drawing upon Hindu literature and art, Mundkur notes the extreme variation in the Hindu deity list (concerning their attributes, sequence or position and importance). Kelley does not take into account these variations nor envision the deities in the same manner as the Hindus. Therefore, the rigid alignments he places on the deity lists of the two groups are not possible. Kirchhoff’s alignments of the Hindu deities have the same shortcomings. Rather than clearly showing the similarities, Kirchhoff and Kelley only manage to show that the data does not correlate and that they are ignorant of the complexities of Hindu literature and art.

Mundkur also notes that the attempts by Kelley and Barthel to match the nine Mesoamerican “Lords of the Night” (glyphs pertaining to a lunar sequence) with the Navagrahah series of the Hindus are equally inaccurate and are subject to similar criticisms. These claims are weak because Kelley and Barthel base them on erroneous interpretations of Hindu material, neglect key sources of Hindu tradition, and lack textual and chronological support. Again, the author stresses that these comparisons are futile and only manage to demonstrate the ignorance of the writers asserting them.

COMMENTS

Most of the commentators agree with Mundkur’s basic premise (refuting the notion of trans-Pacific diffusion while allowing for the possibility of independent invention in the New World). Several commentators, however, point out errors in Mundkur’s data and logic. Whether they believe the Mesoamerican calendar evolved independently or that it was the result of direct diffusion, all of those who responded acknowledge the importance of the question of trans-Pacific diffusion, which needs to be examined further.

REPLY

Mundkur emphasizes that his critique, which derives primarily from the Indological perspective, “seizes upon frailties in diffusionists’ proposals that depend primarily on speculation” (578). He refutes Kelley and Coe’s comments that Mundkur’s conclusions are too sweeping, by showing their lack of scientific evidence and “helplessness regarding the Hindu data” (577). Mundkur emphasizes the weakness of the allegations of trans-Pacific diffusion because of the opinionative nature of the interpretations of Mesoamerican data and the great variety of interpretation which comes from Hindu literature.

CLARITY: 4
MATTHEW MARTIN Loyola University Chicago (Kathleen Adams)

Nag, Moni, White Benjamin N. F., and Peet, Creighton. An Anthropological Approach to the Study of the Economic Value of Children in Java and Nepal. Current Anthropology, June 1978. Vol. 19(2): 293-306.

Anthropologists have had increasing interest in understanding the economic relationship between child labor and the birth rate amongst the poor. Some have suggested that poorer families tend to have more children so that their work output aids in bettering the economic situation of the family. Using time as a means of measuring work, the authors attempted to understand the effects of child work input by conducting fieldwork in two isolated, poor villages located in Java and Nepal. Benjamin White observed and interviewed residents in a Javanese village containing a population of 8,530 in 1971. On every sixth day, he visited twenty households with children ranging from six to nineteen. Meanwhile, Creighton Peet worked in a Nepalese village northeast of the capital Kathmandu, where he focused on 45 to 50 households over a seven to ten month period visiting once a month.

In this study, work input was compared for both sexes and various ages ranging from children to adults. In both villages, children between the ages of nine and twelve begin having responsibilities that aid the household. They usually work between eight and eleven hours a day and as they grow older, hours increase. Females tend to begin with household chores (such as food preparation and crafts) when they are younger than males who attend school longer, though no later than the age of fourteen. Even though children’s work hours equal those of their parents, children have more indirect responsibilities, such as child and animal care. They are, therefore, not directly affecting the household economy by earning wages like their parents. In families with numerous children, however, children begin earning wages earlier since there are others to shoulder household responsibilities. It seems the larger the household, the more economically stable they are. However, any contributions, both direct and indirect, to the household assist in economic stability and are therefore greatly valued. As parents in poorer communities age, the role of wage earning is taken up by their children who often provide them with care and support.

COMMENTS

The majority of the seven who commented on this article praised the authors for their methodology and approach and observed that this article will be a “major milestone in population anthropology” (303). However, the commentators had several general concerns. The first was the definition of work, since some measure it by energy expelled and others by profit yielded. The second criticism was that the authors ignored other households, such as wealthy homes and those with older parents. Since household structure will vary activities and therefore child economic values, the commentators believed a clear picture was not being presented. In addition, what could be considered economic value also came under debate. Children do not only provide an income, but money is required for food, clothing, medicine, and other such expenses so as to be raised. Lastly, several commentators criticized the idea that low-income families have children solely for economic reasons. Not only would that idea have to again ignore child expenses but also have to imply that the villagers had the ability to control when and how often they would become pregnant.

REPLY

Benjamin White replied to the comments and questions. White first clarified the definition of work that was used in the article; this being “the output of the activity, [and] its ‘relevance to production’ (Johnson),” while not disregarding that which was considered fun (305). White then underscored that the article was meant to focus on the poor and the effects of children on their household economy and therefore would naturally not explore other household structures in great detail. It was found that larger families often had greater savings and income, so it seems natural that families would attempt to control fertility with old methods and the newly introduced contraceptives. While the author admits that work is still being done to formulate how the economic value of children should be determined, he believes this is an important start. The answers to these debates, White believes can only be discovered with more observation.

CLARITY: 4
ELIZABETH HOLSAPPLE Loyola University Chicago (Kathleen Adams)

Read, Dwight W and Steven A LeBlanc. Descriptive Statements, Covering Laws, and Theories in Archaeology. Current Anthropology 1978 Vol. 19(2): 307-335.

This article begins with criticisms used in the debate over whether archaeology should be considered a science, examining in particular the claim that the scientific methodology of “new archaeologists” is substantively flawed. Additional reproaches include archaeologist’s inability to agree on general programmatic statements and methodological procedures and the role of archaeological data. The response to errors of substance has been an emphasis on testing hypotheses and explanations rather than focusing on content and their creation. The authors argue that the resulting covering law model (which is never defined) is insufficient and greater emphasis should be placed on theory for the most satisfactory explanations.

The authors examine the deficiencies of the covering law paradigm and observe that the confirmation process for both descriptive statements and covering laws involves a combination of inductive and deductive reasoning, creating a cycle that results in weak confirmation that is buoyed by intuition. They further state that archaeological data plays a limited role in this process because covering laws are universal and would not be restricted to extinct societies. Finally, they tackle the substantive content of explanatory arguments made by “new archaeologists,” who use specific cases as examples of general law but reach this through an infinite regress of law-like statements.

They assert their position that theory construction is crucial to the development of scientific archaeology. Previously theory has been poorly developed because of a lack of agreement on what data should be explicated, resulting in the elevation of descriptive statements in archaeological investigation. They review use of statistical laws as the foundation for theory construction, but conclude that, as these laws work with estimates rather than exact values, they may not always be valid for archaeological data. The authors introduce a systems-theory as a superior method that depends on unspecified universal laws; however, archaeological artifacts are removed from the abstract level of theory development. They find that a general theory using specific instances will provide more satisfactory explanations than covering laws alone.

The appendix provides an example of the previously described theory development, and Read looks at a camp, village and city when relating population size and area of habitation and proceeds to define the analytical constructs with mathematical representations. He uses the steps of theory construction which are 1) to assign mathematical representations for archaeological terms, 2) define the terms of the theory, 3) create axioms, 4) interpret abstract terms, and 5) create models for testing the theory. After working this model for population size and habitation area, Read concludes that universal relationships are not found at the level of data available to an archaeologist but that axiomatized theories can be constructed for the anthropological data.

COMMENTS

Seventeen commentators provided feedback, and some comments were positive in nature and converged on several issues, including the lack of consensus of definitions and the absence of a unified general theory for the field. There were far more criticisms offered. Some of the most notable addressed the role of archaeological data, the use of mathematics, questions regarding the authors’ archaeological field experience, and the use of intuition in a scientific discussion. The most consistent critique relating to archaeology’s status as an objective science highlighted its interrelationship with cultural anthropology and the inability of scientific laws to explain myths and other cultural phenomena.

REPLY

The authors consistently claim others have misread or misunderstood what they wrote, although they do admit to not clearly distinguishing a few points (including the difference between syntactical and semantic formalization). They reiterate that what constitutes a theory in an archaeological context remains unresolved, but they believe that the process of formalization provides clarification. They also note that covering laws do not have direct referents to archaeological data and that the highest degree of confirmation is through extant societies rather than extinct ones. Finally they address confusion of two issues in theory building – the role of archaeological data and the validity of the process – and logically conclude to combine them into a single enterprise.

CLARITY RANKING: 3
MICHELLE EATON Loyola University Chicago (Kathleen Adams)

Rodin, Miriam, Karen Michaelson, and Gerald M. Britan. Systems Theory in Anthropology. Current Anthropology. December, 1978 Vol.19(4):747-762.

In this article the authors offer the main ideas and critiques of systems theory. They summarize the ideas presented by the systems theory panel at the World Anthropolgy-1977 Conference. The authors stress that modern systems theory is a complex and incongruous body of knowledge. It is simply a general perspective, a way of looking at the relationships among variables. “Thus, systems ‘thinking,’ tends to be processual, conditional, and probabilistic.” Modern systems theory offers a theoretical framework that employs concepts of stability, flexibility, and directionality in order to analyze relationships within a bounded set of variables.

After providing a brief definition and history of systems theory the authors explain five central issues in systems theory: the relationship of systems theories to anthropological theory, the problem of levels of analysis, the place of variable human behavior, the current state of systems theory, and promising avenues for future investigation. The panel highlighted that because there are numerous ways to study the relationship between parts of a whole and the implications of these relationships to the whole, a single systems theory does not exist. Nevertheless, this broad perspective permits consideration of events as dynamic, and occurring in response to and simultaneously with numerous other actions; it challenges the simplicity of lineal event models. Also, the common use of definitions was stressed in order to allow researchers to work more efficiently within a single, clearly defined framework.

Furthermore, panelists highlighted potential problems with the level of analysis. The researcher faces the risk of over-simplifying complex models or overly-elaborating others. In general, the choice of level of analysis must be case-specific. It must encompass differing and unequal goals and distributions of beliefs, abilities, knowledge, and resources among individuals.

Finally, the authors note the panelists’ thoughts on the current and future use of systems theory. Although systems theory is increasing in the social sciences, demands for quantifiable data have hampered its implementation. As panelists suggested models for future use, a central question remained: “When cognitive, demographic, and economic phenomena are combined in a single qualitative model, how can we determine the relative contributions of the various elements?” Panelists stressed the importance of incorporating systems theory in future research, and they focused on the immediate applicability of systems theory for local development problems in which the use of quantitative systems are more feasible.

COMMENTS:

Several respondents offer both positive and negative commentaries. While most agree that systems theory is capable of dealing with social change, producing new theories, and leading to accuracy in theory, several point to the superficiality of the article. Some commentators applaud the efforts to incorporate quantitative methods in systems theory as a means to make anthropology more scientific. Others maintain that sophisticated mathematical approaches only reduce the accessibility of the model to development workers and the anthropological novice. West suggests that less precise methods of study leave room for variability in systems. Furthermore, Moran stresses the importance of conflict theory in systems analysis while De Ruijter thinks the authors should focus more on Levi-Strauss’s structuralism.

RESPONSE:

In her reply, Miriam Rodin reiterates that any lack of depth in the article was due to the authors’ attempt to provide a review of the conference discussion. She addresses the always-present dilemma of simultaneously writing to the novice and the academic. She further states that she sees no inherent contradiction, as do several commentators, in urging the development of both quantitative and qualitative techniques. The use of quantitative techniques need not produce a trend towards “sterile materialistic models.” Rodin thanks West for offering alternative mathematical models that permit societal incongruence and praises Moran for identifying the study of conflict as an important priority in anthropological research. However, she rejects Straussian structuralism because it cannot account for societal conflict.

CLARITY: 3
MEGAN GOSTOLA Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Ross, Eric Barry. Food Taboos, Diet, and Hunting Strategy: The Adaptation to Animals in Amazon Cultural Ecology. Current Anthropology March 1978 Vol. 19(1):1-33

In this article, Ross is concerned with the ecological adaptation of human hunting habits and food taboos in the Amazon. He argues that complex ecological variants offer a more scientific and in-depth examination of diet selection, taboos and hunting strategies in the Amazon than metaphysical and symbolic explanations. Symbolic and structuralist perspectives fail to recognize determinants outside of ethnographic taxonomies and domains that are central in shaping many different cultural aspects of Amerindians.

To support his theory, Ross gives an in-depth analysis of different eco-zones within the Amazon, the availability of animals in each area and different strategies for hunting. In the forest, most species are arboreal and therefore smaller. Because limited sunlight hits the forest floor, terrestrial animals must cover large areas in search of nutrients. As a result, terrestrial animals tend to be sparsely populated. Since 98% of the Amazon basin is non-floodplain area, alluvial zones attract many species, especially in the dry months, and are rich in vegetation. With the increase in elevation, animal availability decreases. Because accessibility to animals differs in each habitat, Ross contends that diet, taboos and hunting strategies vary accordingly, however he points to another influencing factor: community size.

Ross states that smaller communities adapt more readily in the Amazon. With fewer mouths to feed the risk of overpredation of species in the area decreases significantly. Though easily mobile, small communities inhabiting alluvial and interfluvial zones are considerably more sedentary, relying on small animals and fish for protein. To back up his theory, Ross sites his own ethnographic data from the small (12 to 60 persons) Achuara Jivaro – an interfluvial forest-dwelling peoples – and others in the region.

Taboos on large animals in the Amazon are presented here as chiefly existing in smaller communities stemming from, “religious and mundane” factors but rooted in ecological explanations. Ross uses animal behavior and characteristics to support this theory, for example, large animals such as the deer are elusive. Also, as communities move from one location to another, microhabitats are left in their wake from re-growth in cleared areas providing nutrients not found under the canopy. Many animals take refuge in these areas, warranting a belief that the animals are ancestral spirits. Ross portrays taboos as being somewhat flexible, based on circumstances such as chance encounters and “short-term environmental changes.”

Large communities, Ross points out, may not have the “luxury” of adhering to taboos on large animals, as they provide more protein per animal. In communities of 60-100 people, habitats are quickly exhausted of game. Therefore, rendering some animals “inedible” would decimate certain local animal populations. Ross cites examples from the Yanomamo in upland savannas, where game and fish are scarce. They must hunt extended areas in search of large game.

Ross’s comparative analysis of different communities and habitats in the Amazon makes his argument highly complex. He moves away from a purely “cultural” perspective examining the Amerindians of the Amazon using cultural ecology to further the study of food taboos and hunting strategies.

CLAIRTY: 2

While several commentators believe the detail in Ross’s article is useful, most find his arguments and data to be incomplete, some even contend it is severely lacking. A number of commentators suggest his theory would be more useful with collaborative efforts from other scientific areas. Others commend his efforts tackling such a new and broad topic. Some contend his ecological explanation of taboos is commendable, but believe it would benefit from further examination of larger communities and warn that entirely discounting a struturalist approach limits cultural understanding of taboos. A few suggest that the evidence Ross uses to support his theory is a gross misinterpretation of ethnographic data and extrapolating details from casual observations reduces the validity of information presented. Finally, some commentators found his presentation to be confusing and heavily loaded with jargon.

Ross is defensive in his reply. He provides additional information and examples to further explain his ideas. Addressing weaknesses in his argument, Ross cites specific sentences and refutes arguments against them. In his reply, he critiques the work of Nietchmann and gives a lengthy response to Carneiros’ comments. Ross claims some commentators misread the article and attempts to clarify some points, dismissing the bulk of their comments. He acknowledges the worth of non-animal proteins but brushes aside an explanation, as it “is not the place for an extended discussion.” Though Ross admits an ecological perspective does not account for everything, he reiterates its importance.

RIKKI MURRAY Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Ruggles, Clive and David Turton. Agreeing to Disagree: The Measurement of Duration in a Southwestern Ethiopian Community. Current Anthropology September, 1978 Vol. 19. (3): 585-600.

In the article David Turton and Clive Ruggles explore the Mursi of southwestern Ethiopia to better understand their concept of time and its development. Since specialized studies on the concept of time (duration) are not abundant, this ethnographic account is pioneering. The authors purposely chose the Mursi because they have been relatively uninfluenced by other societies, especially by the impact of print media. In order to trace the history of their perceptions of time, Turton and Ruggles conducted extensive fieldwork of the Mursi’s seasonal events and activities.

The seasonal events for the Mursi people revolve around farming and settlement. Two vital seasonal events are the heavy rains and the flooding of the Omo, near where most of the people reside. The Mursi people depend on these seasonal events for their survival, as the rain allows them to cultivate food and herd animals. In addition to supplementing their continued existence, the seasonal events also divide their seasons. The first season is referred to as oiyoi, which is the time of the main rains. Loru refers to the period of the small rains. A complete rotation of the seasons is referred to as a bergu, the closest term for a calendar year. By the age of twelve a Mursi is able to recite the various seasons by name, illustrating the cultural importance of their concept of time.

The Mursi people’s system of time is not completely accepted among the entire population, for disagreement is always present. Mursi disagreement centers on the number of the bergu (year). Problems exist in counting the passing of bergu in lunar intervals, and problems are also found in counting the days of the month. Some Mursi believe the sun’s patterns expose the number of bergu. Even with the confusion of the bergu, the Mursi still have a method of keeping track of how old they are. Each year is counted off by identifying a major event in their life that occurred. With this ethnographic case study, Turton and Ruggles demonstrate the role a society can play in creating accepted knowledge, such as the concept of time. Their way of life, such as their seasonal activities, influence their definitions of time.

COMMENTS:

This article received ten comments. Overall, most commentators congratulated the piece on being a clear and valuable contribution to an unexplored topic. They felt the information presented was properly researched and analyzed. One critic furthered compared the Mursi to people of Meso America. The authors received both positive and negative feedback on the way they dealt with the concept of archaeoastronomy. One critic resented the authors’ interpretation of the term and reprimanded them for not demonstrating a specific level of knowledge about archaeoastronomy. On the other hand, other commentators praised the authors for advancing the concept and handling it in a very appropriate manner. The comments covered a wide spectrum, but were overall positive.

RESPONSE:

In response, Turton and Ruggles replied that they had attempted to mention the concept of archaeoastronomy from strictly an anthropological viewpoint, and in no way meant to come across as dismissive of the theory. The majority of their response focused upon the negative feedback. The authors attempted to correct the opinions of those who felt the article was misleading. Turton and Ruggles answered all questions presented in the comments, including their treatment of universality of time. They felt that the commentators questioning their overlying message missed the point of the article, for their study was contained specifically within the Mursi people and their reaction to fundamental concepts.

CLARITY RANKING: 3
JENNIFER BRISTER Loyola University Chicago (Kathleen Adams)

Stoltman, James. Temporal Models in Prehistory: An Example from Eastern North America. Current Anthropology December, 1978 Vol. 19 (4): 703-746.

In this article, James Stoltman presents a new temporal model for Eastern North America and its prehistory. The author writes that the general concern of this article is the process through which archaeologists construct frameworks to be used to assign positional values in time to artifacts and assemblages so that these data may be more fully understood (703). In constructing temporal models, Stoltman proposes four principles that should be followed. The first principle is to specify the geographical limits, the second is to specify the purpose for which the model is designed, the third is to specify the criteria used to mark the boundaries of each time within the model and the fourth is to use a binomial term for each time unit.

Stoltman goes on to discuss the two most popular current temporal models for eastern North America and the inadequacies of these models. The McKern/Griffin model and the Willey model share three limitations among the other problems that exist within them. The three limitations are: ambiguities over the use of the terms Paleo-Indian and Archaic, the emphasis still placed on Woodland pottery as criteria for the beginning of a post-Archaic period, and the absence of a formally defined, discrete time unit between the demise of Hopewell and the rise of Middle Mississippi culture.

Stoltman’s own temporal model consists of 5 eras divided into periods and sub periods. His time intervals are: the Paleo-Indian Era (prior to 8000B.C.), the Transitional I Period (8000 to 6000B.C.), the Meso-Indian Era (6000 to 3000B.C.), the Transitional II Period (3000to 700B.C.), and the Neo-Indian Era (700B.C. to 1600A.D.). The Neo-Indian Era is divided into three periods, the Developmental, the Intermediate and the Florescent. Stoltman uses past research and other people’s publications to support and explain his model. The underlying philosophy of this new model is that a fresh perspective on many of the traditional problems in eastern North American prehistory is necessary. The purpose of this model is to facilitate comparative analyses of local and regional culture sequences, histories and process within the East and to serve as an organizational tool for comparing Eastern prehistory with that of other areas (712).

COMMENTS

Nine scholars commented on Stoltman‘s article. Some of the scholars praised Stoltman’s attempt to provide a comprehensive synthesis of eastern North American prehistory and the attempt to arrange it into a temporal model. They did however have some objections. The scholars criticized Stoltman for making the same mistakes as his predecessors, mistakes he discussed in this article. They also objected to Stoltman’s time-unit names, the dates used as boundaries, and inconsistencies in labeling time periods. Some of the scholars found that Stoltman did not follow his own principles and did not achieve the stated purpose of the article.

REPLY

Stoltman disagrees with most of the criticism given by the various reviewers. He does however agree that some of his labeling is inconsistent. He accepts the criticism that he poorly explained the model’s purpose but believes that the other goals of the article were more important. Stoltman provides clear and elaborate explanations defending his article against the criticisms of fellow scholars.

CLARITY RANKING: 4
KAROLINA CHMIEL Loyola University Chicago (Kathleen Adams)

Szathmary, Emöke J.E., and Nancy S. Ossenberg. Are the Biological Differences between North American Indians and Eskimos Truly Profound? Current Anthropology, December, 1978 Vol.19(4): 673-698.

At the time the article was written, the general consensus among physical anthropologists concerning the relationship between Eskimos and the Indians of North America was that the biological differences between the groups were disparate enough to indicate distinct separation. Thus, according to the prevailing view, the origins of Amerindians and Eskimos groups could be explained by one or more of the following theories: a) Amerindians and Eskimos are the descendants of separate populations that migrated to North America at different times, b) Amerindians and Eskimos migrated to North America by way of different routes, thereby minimizing contact between the two groups and preserving biological distinctiveness, or c) Eskimos migrated subsequent to the Amerindians, and are therefore genetically closer to Asians.

In the article in question, Szathmary and Ossenberg reexamine this widely held belief and attempt to debunk the idea that the biological differences between Eskimos and Amerindians are, in fact, profound enough to indicate the distinctiveness of each population. The authors set out to prove, rather, that the Eskimos and at least some groups of Amerindians are descendants of a common population – a hypothesis that also serves to reopen the question of the prehistory of these populations.

The authors’ primary data consists of independently collected genetic and cranial evidence. As a result of this, the authors do not have two complete sets of data for all populations that are included in this study. Thus, the data sets are examined independently and subsequently compared. In addition to these sets of physical and archeological data, linguistic data are also briefly utilized in order to organize the various Amerindian and Eskimo groups.

Szathmary collected the genetic-marker data, which include blood-group and serum-protein gene-frequency data, while the skeletal data set was collected by Ossenberg. Genetic data are presented in a series of tables, and dendograms that plot genetic distances between populations. Through an analysis of this set of data, the authors conclude (contrary to the prevailing view) that Eskimos are in fact genetically closer to Amerindians – specifically the Na-Dene population (which includes: Haida, Tlingit, Northern Athapaskans, Apache, and Navajo) – than the Asian populations of which they are supposedly descendants.

Ossenberg’s data collection is subsequently presented in the form of a table comparing the divergence between samples, which is based on 24 discrete cranial traits. These data are then interpreted within the article. While the least divergence is found between Amerindian-Amerindian and Eskimo-Eskimo samples (as expected), the data indicate a clear similarity between Na-Dene-speaking Amerindian samples and Eskimo samples. Given this set of data, the authors conclude that Eskimos are in fact closer to Na-Dene-speaking Amerindians than to other Eskimos and Na-Dene are closer to Eskimos than to other Amerindians.

The agreement between these independent sets of data (genetic and cranial) even more strongly indicates significant genetic resemblance between Eskimos and Na-Dene-speaking Amerindian groups. The authors conclude that the two groups must have either descended from a common ancestor, or that significant gene flow might account for this biological affinity between the two groups.

Many of the comments printed after the article first expressed approval of Szathmary and Ossenberg’s effort to reexamine what was thought of as an established truth, as well as their endeavor to synthesize physical, archeological, and linguistic data. The respondents’ criticisms focus mainly on the authors’ statistical methods, research design, appropriateness of data, and a few criticize the authors’ conclusions.

In their reply to the comments, the authors first respond to criticism of their statistical methods by offering an intricate explanation of the methods used. Next, in response to criticism of their research design, the authors stress that their research was not meant to definitively answer the question of Eskimo prehistory, but that rather, to explore relatedness between Eskimos and Amerindians. Additionally, the authors explain that the lack of two corresponding sets of data is due to the fact that they hadn’t initially planned on collaborating. Finally, the authors defend their use of genetic markers and nonmetric traits in their exploration of population affinity, and reaffirm their conclusion.

CLARITY: 2
LAURA MOENCH Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)

Turton, David; Ruggles, Clive. Agreeing to Disagree: The Measurement of Duration in a Southwestern Ethiopian Community. Current Anthropology, September, 1978 Vol. 19(3): 585-600.

In their article, “Agreeing to Disagree: The Measurement of Duration in a Southwestern Ethiopian Community,” Turton and Ruggles contribute to previous anthropological work on the measurement and perceptions of time. They respond to existing literary work that assumes that different measurements of time prove different ways of perceiving it. They chose to study the Mursi people of Ethiopia in order to illustrate a unique method of measuring duration because the Mursi are completely isolated from outside influences. The authors use Durkheim’s argument on the social determination of knowledge as a theoretical framework, using the Mursi as an example to see whether social stratification is a result of their concept of duration. They conclude that the measurement of duration within the Mursi is a social activity because individuals interact in determining their opinion on what month it may be. Finally, the authors critique previous anthropologists’ work in this area of study because of their ethnocentrism and their assumptions of the “sophistication” of measuring duration in different cultures. They question archaeoastronomy because of its emphasis on the complication of measuring duration with complex astronomical observations.

Most of the article is dedicated to explaining in detail the seasonal events of the Mursi in relation to time measurement. The authors give specific climatic elements which mark distinct periods of time, such as rainfall and the rise of the river that surrounds them. They go on to explain the seasonal cycle, which brings up one of the key components of the duration measurement. While there are a specific number of intervals between new moons, usually 12, there is an interval that follows which is not a complete lunation and may be counted as the first interval or the thirteenth. To account for this, the authors explain that the Mursi essentially agree to disagree when the first lunation actually begins, allowing the discrepancy.

The authors conducted detailed fieldwork and ethnographic interviewing in researching the Mursi. Throughout the article, they use specific quotes from their informants, a brief conversation between the anthropologist and his informant, as well as three detailed charts exhibiting the seasonal activities, the Mursi days of the month, and observations of the Moon. With their data, the authors explain that the Mursi people use no fixed calendar and thus do not date events. In addition, they hope to convince the readers of the social determination of knowledge, referring back to Durkeim’s theory.

There were a variety of comments on this article. A few of the scholars who replied wanted more information on some of the smaller components of the Mursi’s methods of calculating duration. Others critiqued their reference to Durkheim’s argument of social organization, claiming that what Turton and Ruggles actually found had more to do with how the society interacts with the environment. One of the strongest critiques was against the authors’ critique of archaeoastronomy, saying that researchers are actually still underestimating the sophistication of astronomical systems of calculating duration. Those who complimented the piece praised the authors for researching a topic with such little coverage so far.

In their reply, the authors apologized for the misunderstanding regarding archaeoastronomy because in actuality they were trying to make a positive contribution to the field. In addition they explained that they were not trying to research the history of the Mursi methods, which is why they left out some details about where these methods came from. They also added at the end that they wanted to be clear that their research was not intended to explain how any other culture perceives time.

CLARITY: 5
OLIVIA SANDERS Macalester College (Karen Nakamura)