Skip to main content

American Anthropologist 1986

Bock, Philip and Basehart, Harry. Stanley S. Newman (1905-1984). American Anthropologist. 1986 Vol. 88:151-153.

Stanley S. Newman, who died at the age of 79, was a rare spirit in Anthropology. Born on July 18, 1905 he grew up speaking Czechoslovakian and English. He later learned to speak German, Latin, French and took classes in Italian and Russian. Newman entered the University of Chicago to study English and American Literature in 1924 and finished his B.A. in 1927. His first job was as an instructor of literature and composition at the University of Texas. Newman returned to Chicago to take classes and soon converted to Anthropology. He taught a variety of courses in general anthropology as well as a series of courses in linguistics. In 1966, Stanley Newman was elected U.N.M. Teacher of the Year. During the 1960’s Newman became a coeditor of the Southwestern Journal of Anthropology. In 1984, Stanley became the President-elect of the Linguistic Society of America.

COLIN COOPER York University (Naomi Adelson)

Boone III, James L. Parental Investment and Elite Family Structure in Preindustrial States: A Case Study of Late Medieval-early Modern Portuguese Genealogies. American Anthropologist December, 1986 Vol. 88(4): 859-878.

Boone is interested with the issue of patriarchal family structure among the elite in stratified societies originating as a form of parental investment in the act of favouritism towards male children.

His subject includes the 15th- and 16th-century Portuguese nobility and traces back through records of genealogies to look at data to support his claims.

The two main forms of parental investment he looks at are what he calls the reproductive strategies of patriliny and restriction in inheritance which are used in order to maintain lineage survival at a time when death was very common.

Moreover, he links these reproductive strategies to the outside social relations between members of the elite class but as well to the age of expansion and political instability found in Portugal at that time.

Boone makes numerous assumptions and conclusions in accordance to what he found in his data based on the genealogies; first he assumes that reproductive potential of children are drawn out based on the family’s economic condition therefore pertaining to a form of sex-biased parental investment. Secondly, elite family structures and reproductive practices have a direct impact whether or not competition occurs within a particular society over status, land, and titles which, in turn, can be linked to the establishment of political instability within Portugal and the territorial expansion that occurred.

Boone makes a well-structured and convincing argument by supporting his statements with evidence and data pertaining to hundreds of people within 15th and 16th centuries. He includes information on mortality rates of men, rates of convent admissions, and the sociodemographic processes that caused increased competition within the elite. In short all his data and statistics he used helped sketch out a map of how certain internal parental investment and family structures are linked with outside social forces and events.

His approach is one that starts from the inside and then moves outwards. He focuses on the implications of certain family reproductive strategies that arise within the family, then links it to the outside society in terms of the elite society, and then finally to the wider social context with involves other institutions and ultimately other countries.

TRACY OLIVEIRA York University (Naomi Adelson)

Booster, James Brent Berlin, John O’Neill. The Correspondence of Jivaroan to Scientific Ornithology. American Anthropologist 1986. Vol. 88:569-

The article is an exploration of the universality of human classification system. Using tables and diagrams, the authors do a comparative analysis of Native classifications and the classifications made by western science. The groups that were studied were the Aguaruna and Huambisa Jivaro of the upper Maranon River region of northern Peru. The classification issue at hand is ornithological; the distinction between certain species of birds. A secondary issue within the focus of the article was informant disagreement. Boster, Berlin, and O’Neill agreed that varying responses represent less of a problem than a tool. In this case, the principle of degree of similarity rather than strict boundaries between organisms shows itself as the common link between various classification systems. Much overlap was found in the categorization of certain birds by the natives, but this often corresponded to complex categorization within the ornithological community (ie. some bird types can only be differentiated upon close inspection).

ARKEY ADAMS York University, Toronto (Naomi Adelson)

Chang K. C. Obituary Xia Nai (1910-1985) American Anthropologist (No Month), 1986. Vol. 88:442-444

In 1985, when Xia Nai an architect of Chinese archaeology died, so did the anthropological discipline, before it even had a chance to develop. Graduating in 1934, Xia won a scholarship, but only two fields that could be applied to with this scholarship: archaeology and American history, and Xia chose archaeology. In order to achieve experiencing with some real fieldwork, he joined the expedition in 1935 in Anyang, Henan. After arriving there, Xia decided to become an Egyptologist. In 1946, completing a dissertation, Xia earned a PhD in Egyptologist. Before being appointed a position and the institute of Archaeology in 1950, Xia taught at Zhejiang University. In 1945, he excavated two burials of the Qijia and the Yangshao culture. He became the first archaeologist with stratigraphic evidence to reverse the chronological order of the two cultures. His collections of essays over time were a direct result from his geographic interests. His contributions to the Chinese and to the world of archaeology have affected modern scientific training and archaeologists themselves. In the 50’s, Xia led many excavations, and in the 60’s and 70’s, the information gathered from the Institute of Archaeology helped to revolutionize Chinese archaeology. The progress of archaeology in China since 1949 owes much to Xia for his archaeological movement.

CHRISTINA FIORE York University (Naomi Adelson)

Feil, D.K. A Social Anthropologist’s View of Papua New Guinea Highlands Prehistory.American Anthropologist 1986 Vol. 88: 623-636.

In this article, Feil examines the social diversity of the Eastern and Western Highland people. He argues, using archeological records, the Eastern and Western Highlands had different paths concerning production intensity, transformations at different rates and periods and that the ethnographic situations reflects this. The three areas he examines are the environmental contrasts, the archaeological contrasts and the effect of the sweet potato.

He begins with the environmental contrasts stating that the Eastern Highlands has less rainfall and a higher rate of evaporation compared to the Western Highlands. The rainfall in the Eastern Highlands is almost totally seasonal and the rainfall in the Western Highlands is nonseasonal. In the Western Highlands the main crop was taro which suited a wet environment and in the Eastern Highlands the main crop was the slow growing tuber which was suited in more dry conditions. He states that Eastern Highlands people did not involve themselves with agriculture intensification as much as the Western Highlanders and this reflects the social and cultural institutions today.

He also discusses the archeological contrasts within these two areas. The archeological records show that the rise of agriculture intensification, in the Eastern Highlands, occurred much later then in the Western Highlands. This resulted in exchange institutions appearing much earlier in the west. The pig became very important at early date in the west and was involved in political, ritual exchange and this gave power and influence to these groups.

The introduction of the sweet potato had an earlier and bigger affect on the Western Highlands. The higher yields of sweet potato supported growing pig populations. Pig production was transformed from use to a valued exchange. The Eastern Highlands also developed this with the introduction of the sweet potato but was adopted more gradually and much later then in the west. The east societies lacked a long history of intensive cultivation.

In conclusion, these differences between the two distinct areas of the Highlands created two lines of development in almost every facet of life and this is seen in the characteristics of the societies today.

JOHN PARENTE York University (Naomi Adelson)

Freeman, L. G. Pedro Armillas Garcia. American Anthropologist. 1986. Vol. 88: 687-693.

Freeman, a former colleague of Armillas from the University of Chicago, discusses the life of Armillas and his contributions to studies on pre-Hispanic agriculture and hydraulic control in Mesoamerican. He introduces Armillas with the following quote: “Armillas pioneered studies on the interrelationships of environment, technology, and relations of production to the evolution of patterns of subsistence and settlement in Mesoamerica, and the comparative development of civilizations of the Western Hemisphere” (p. 687).

Armillas was one of the first to study irrigation and its role in the evolution of Mesoamerican civilization; because of this, a theoretical school was developed. Armillas greatest impact came on the American and Mexican students he trained with his Marxist materialist view of history. He was also interested in Childe’s approaches to social evolution and urban revolution; he later adapted Childe’s ideas to apply them to Mesoamerican civilizations and the civilizations of the New World.

Armillas had a very colourful background that included painting and studying art, commanding an artillery intelligence group, surveying land, and performing archaeological fieldwork, as well as being a consultant for the Ecuadorian government. His fieldwork included working at Cacaxtla, Oztuma, Xochicalco, Teotihuacán, and Monte Albán. Through his research, he demonstrated that much time had gone by between the collapse of Teotihuacán and the existence of Xochicalco and Tula. He also found that chinampas cultivation played a significant part in maintaining the population of Tenochititlan.

Freeman goes on to describe how, in 1959, Armillas joined the faculty of the University of Michigan as a lecturer and curator, which began his career of being a professor in American universities. According to Freeman, he continued his work on the “barbarian frontiers of Mexico, and later in the 1970’s he became interested in issues related to colonialism. “He became concerned with problems of colonialism in the New World in ecological and historical perspective and with the development of the disciplines of anthropology and archaeology in social, economic, and political context” (p. 689). When Armillas died on April 11, 1984, he was still an anthropology professor at the University of Chicago.

HELENA KOSKITALO York University (Naomi Adelson)

Goldschmidt, Walter. Obituaries: Ralph Leon Beals. American Anthropologist 1986 Vol.88:947-953

Ralph Leon Beals, who was born on July 19, 1901 and died on February 24, 1985, devoted his life to the field of anthropology as an active member of the American Anthropological Association (AAA), Latin American Research and the UCLA community. His main contribution to anthropology is his detailed ethnological investigation of the cultures in Latin America. His major interests rest in the process of cultural change, otherwise known as acculturation, as well as the theory of cultural relativism.

The background of Ralph Beals was surrounded with concern of social order. His mother’s father was a volunteer in the Civil War because he opposed slavery. His father, Leon Beals, prosecuted not only the sellers but also the prominent members of the community who supported liquor. His mother, Elvina S. Blickensderfer, was a woman of great moral strength and high intelligence. She ran for political office a number of times and used her son as an example of her motherly domestic and feminine qualities. He has written that, “Marxian ideas were a common subject of dinner table conversation”. Beals’ family had a small variety store in Pasadena and later in Oxnard. At 17, Ralph accompanied his brother Carleton on a trip to Mexico, which consequently affected his later career. He then entered the progressive A to Zed school, operated by the parents of his future wife, Dorothy, where he found his way into the study of anthropology. During the period of his graduate work, his two sons and daughter, Genevieve, who died in 1941, were born.

Beals’s dissertation on the ethnic history of the Indians of northern New Mexico prompted him into the Latin American field and placed him among the pioneers of modern Mexican ethnography. He studied “tribes” rather than communities and he was also interested in sociological matters such as the status implication of religious cargo and the character of boundary-maintenance mechanisms. One of the groups that he looked at were the Tarascans whom he concluded had a European origin in their culture. His earlier work had consistently placed great emphasis on the economic infrastructure of the social order. Beals’s final field research brought him back to Mexico, and the study of the markets of Oaxaca, with the focus on economics. He says that reciprocity and redistribution are alike that of Western societies. Throughout all of his research in Latin America, there is an an undercurrent of concern with conditions in society and the future of native peoples. Among his involvements in Latin American studies, mention should be made of his being technical advisor to the U.S. Delegation to the 4th and 6th Assemblies (Mesas Redondas) of the Pan American Institute of History and Geography. He also received an honorary professorship at the Faculty of Medicine at a university in Chile and became an Honorary Patron for the Reorganization of the Ethnographic Section of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia in Mexico City.

Ralph Beals was elected president of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) in 1950. He also served as President of the Southwestern Anthropological Association (1958) and of the Pacific Coast Council on Latin American Studies (1955-56). He played the role of a scholar in the affairs of the world. He was aware that any social science investigation into practical matters might raise sensitive and difficult problems. Beals controversially examined the relationship between anthropology and government as well as the propriety of the AAA reorganization he helped bring about.

The department of Anthropology and Sociology was established at UCLA under the leadership of Ralph Beals. He contributed as a member of the academic senate, but never as an administrator.

His intellectual stance was based on the central problem that the process of culture change in societies is impacted by the Western world. His central interest was in social history: how things came about and where they were heading, recording what he saw in accurate and perceptive detail. One of his prejudices was that he had little use for the “culture and personality” tradition in anthropology. Publicly, Ralph Beals was a man of intellect and reason. He showed no sentiment or affection. Mentions of feelings for his family, friends, colleagues or the Indians he studied are very rare in his work.

LISA ARGENTINI York University (Naomi Adelson).

Goodenough, Ward H. Sky World and This World: The Place of Kachaw in Micronesian Cosmology. American Anthropologist. September, 1986 Vol. 88 (3): 551-568.

Kachaw is a place name in the oral history of the people of Truk and Ponape in the Caroline Islands of Micronesia. Europeans, since the time of their first contact, identified Kachaw as the island of Kosrae and have since translated any reference to Kachaw as a reference to Kosrae. In this article, Goodenough reinvestigates this translation and challenges its validity. He argues that for the Carolinians, Kachaw did not refer to a specific and known place, but to the skyworld, a place of mystery and spirituality that symbolized places of distance and unfamiliarity. This translation aligns with other interpretations of Micronesian world view and also reveals in more detail religious and ethnohistorical aspects of their culture. Goodenough organizes his article into three parts: the first section describes Kachaw’s place in Trukese and Ponapean lore; the second section outlines the basis for Kachaw’s equation with Kosrae, and the final part explores the evidence supporting the alternate translation and the impact of this new understanding.

Kachaw was equated with Kosrae as early ethnographers and historians sought its location as a real geographical place. Other place names could typically be identified in the surrounding geography and in a list of places from west to east, Kachaw is listed as the furthest east. Plotting the list of places across a map of the islands, Kosrae falls into place as the most eastern island and so Kachaw was considered to be a mutation of the word Kosrae and the two became synonymous.

In contrast, Goodenough argues that Kachaw does not necessarily have to refer to a known geographical place. It was not unusual in the region to give a particular name to people coming from far-off unknown places and often these places were imbued with ideas of spiritual power. Furthermore, the island of Kosrae does not appear to have been known by the sailors of the time and the people of Kosrae had no sailing or navigational skills. Linguistically the word appears to be related to a proto-Micronesian word kadawa, which is thought to mean something like ‘extending across’ and which came to refer to the sky. Finally, once Kachaw is understood as referring to the sky world, a mystical and spiritual place, interpretations of historical documents and archaeology can be re-examined and an understanding of Micronesian world view constructed. The movement of peoples, technology, and ideas can be re-examined and understood in a different light.

KIM ARMSTRONG BAALBAKI University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie)

Goodenough, H. Ward. Sky World and This World: The Place of Kachaw in Micronesian Cosmology. American Anthropologist. (No Month), 1986.Vol. 22:551-568

The author states that in Truk’s and Ponape’s origin myths and legendary history, Kachaw is well known. Kachaw is defined as a place. The Micronesian contrast of Kachaw as an island or a region of sky shows the difference between the scholarly and traditional definition. Before developing this argument, Goodenough summarizes how Kachaw is talked about in Trukese and Ponapean lore. Identifying Kachaw as an island through history and geography and then identifying it as a region of sky, shows the contrast and importance of this term in relation to myths and legends.

The debate over Kachaw is left with many unanswered questions. Goodenough states that Kachaw can now be more easily interpreted as a result of the archaeological investigations in a manner consistent with Micronesian realities.

CHRISTINA FIORE York University (Naomi Adelson)

Handwerker, W. Penn. The Modern Demographic Transition: An Analysis of Subsistence Choices and Reproductive Consequences. American Anthropologist. June, 1986 Vol. 88 (2): 400-417.

This paper examines the validity of previous models of fertility transition and proposes an alternate hypothesis of the most significant variable leading to a decrease in fertility. Handwerker argues that neither modernization nor mass education alone directly result in lower fertility. Instead, it is an increase in the availability of jobs that require specific skills or education and a decrease in the dependence on individuals or family relations for economic advancement that leads to a change in fertility behaviour.

First, Handwerker outlines Caldwell’s wealth flows theory, a popular model for reproductive transition that explains changes from higher to lower fertility rates as being directly related to changes in family organization, specifically, a change in the moral obligation of economic support between generations. In other words, where fertility is high there will be a significant flow of resources between generations whereas low intergenerational exchange is marked by low fertility. Caldwell explains this transformation of familial obligations as resulting from widespread education that is instilled with western family ideals and values. Handwerker concurs with Caldwell that in fact decreased fertility is linked to a decrease in intergenerational dependency; however, he argues that education itself is not the cause of lower fertility, rather fertility decreases when economic advantages are directly linked to education level and not family structure and kinship relations. As one generation achieves economic success through employment linked to education, they will be motivated to have fewer children as the investment in education is high and more children will present a drain on their financial security. He suggests that this explains the data that does not entirely conform to Caldwell’s model such as sub-Saharan Africa where education has increased, but fertility remains high. In this case, it could be explained as occurring because professional positions are relatively limited and kinship relations are still crucial in order to secure employment.

To test his hypothesis Handwerker has developed three models: one reflecting modernization as the cause of fertility decrease, one reflecting Caldwell’s wealth flows theory, and one with the adjustment to Caldwell’s theory recognizing the need for economic rewards for increased education. Each of these models was tested with data from 86 countries in order to determine which variables were most closely associated with a change in fertility behaviour. Analyses of the results showed that Handwerker’s model was the most relevant in explaining the data and moreover, education and mortality did not affect fertility except when association with changes in economic opportunities. Handwerker then demonstrates the applicability of this model in a single socio-geographic region, namely the Caribbean. He explains how disparate levels of fertility and seemingly contradictory data actually conform to his model.

He concludes by expressing the impact of this study on future demographic analyses and most importantly, attempts to alter reproductive behaviour. He attests that any amount of education or propaganda for smaller families will not result in changed behaviour unless the structure of economic opportunities is also transformed.

KIM ARMSTRONG BAALBAKI University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie).

Handwerker, Penn. The Modern Demographic Transition: An Analysis of Subsistance Choices and Reproductive Consequences. American Anthropologist 1986 Vol.88:400-417.

In this article, Pen Handwerker attempts to shed light on the underlying causes behind fertility transition. The main argument being that its fundamental root cause is a macro-level one – when personal material well being is determined by a crtiterion where in income flows are less accessible through personal relationships and more so through formal education and skill training.

Thus Handwerker takes to task Caldwell’s Wealth Flows Theory (1982) as it emphasizes the nature of the shift to be a more micro-level one – through mass education or Westernization. Not refuting this the author adds to it by stressing that this form of influence occurs in conjunction with a significant shift in the macro-level. To this end the author draws on data from the Caribbean and also draws up a detailed yet brief mathematical formula contrasting Cadwell’s hypothesis with his own.

BEHZAD SARMADI York University (Naomi Adelson)

Hausfater, Glenn, Kennedy, Kenneth A. R. 1986. Dian Fossey (1932-1985). American Anthropologist 1986 Vol. 88 (1): 953-956.

The article by Hausfater and Kennedy reflect on the life and work of the late Dian Fossey; Hausfater and Kennedy (1986: 954) describe Dian Fossey’s dedication and determination by focusing on her monumental effort to create field working conditions from which mountain gorillas could be observed in their natural habitats. Miss Fossey’s work with mountain gorillas in Rwanda began with the minimum requirements for fieldwork in a tropical forest and evolved from a tent community to a permanent field station, a fact that could be attributed to the continued efforts of Dian Fossey (Hausfater, Kennedy, 1986: 954). Dian Fossey was responsible for most of the knowledge associated with the behavior of mountain gorillas in their natural environments during the years that she conducted fieldwork and published her results (Hausfater, Kennedy, 1986: 954).

Aside from just doing scientific research Dian Fossey took active roles in defending her study subjects from person who sought to benefit from poaching activities; her role as an activist magnified after one of her study animals was killed by alleged poachers (Hausfater, Kennedy, 1986: 954-955). According to Hausfater and Kennedy (1986: 955), Dian Fossey’s activism may have led to her violent death in 1985 though the details of her death are not yet conclusively clear. However, it remains a fact that her life and perhaps her death motivated others to follow in her path and continue the work that she started many years ago. In this sense one can say that her dedication and determination continues through others who saw and see wisdom in her efforts to advance knowledge and defend those who cannot defend themselves.

Armando Reyes California State University, Hayward. (Peter Claus).

Jackson, L. Sociocultural and Ethnohistorical Influences on Genetic Diversity in Liberia.American Anthropologist 1986 Vol. 88 (4): 825-842

Set in the Republic of Liberia in West Africa, this article discusses the regional and ethnic variation in which socio-cultural variables affect the genetic diversity of the communities living there. It is noted that significant diversity can be found in the prevalence of sickle cell traits, followed by a much slighter variation in distributions of beta thalessemia along with elevated fetal hemoglobin and intermediate red cell G6PD deficiency.

These distributions are also distributed among four phenotypes that provide resistance to falciparum malaria. Explaining the causes of these uneven distributions to cultural and historical factors, Jackson proposes that a number of specific socio-cultural factors contribute may contribute to raising assertive mating and non-random gene flow. These factors include membership in the Poro and Sande traditional initiation societies, linguistic affiliation, dietary staple and religious preferences.

Drawing from a sample of 961 Liberians that consists of 472 children and 489 mothers, an effort was made to study Liberian child-biological mother pairs and all but 17 individuals reflected this relationship. The geographical distribution of the home villages and towns of sample children and mothers was non-random, clustered by ethnicity and drawn from clinics throughout rural and urban Liberia. Children ranged from newborns to 9 years 11 months and Mothers’ ages ranged from 14-47 years.

Employing the chi-square as the primary statistical test, the findings supported earlier hypotheses that the strongest factor related to sickle cell trait frequencies was one’s membership of the Poro and Sande traditional societies. The linguistic affiliation of the sample also yielded significant variation in sickle cell trait and beta thalassemia frequencies, along with a similar expression found in another factor like dietary staple.

Although statistically insignificant, religious preferences also showed anthropologically interesting differences in beta thalassemia traits and red cell G6PD deficiencies among Muslims, Christians and adherents to traditional belief systems. It was concluded that such patterns suggest that much of genetic variation in Liberia reflects the impact of particular historical processes.

KEVIN S.Y. TAN University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie).

Jackson, Linda. Sociocultural and Ethnohistorical Influences on Genetic Diversity in Liberia. American Anthropologist December, 1986 Vol.88(4):825-842.

In her article “Sociocultural and Ethnohistorical Influences on Genetic Diversity in Liberia,” Linda Jackson concentrates on events happening within the Republic of Liberia. In her article, Jackson examines the sociocultural and ethnohistorical events of four specific phenotypes: sickle cell trait, beta thalassemia trait, elevated fetal hemoglobin and intermediate red cell G6PD.

Before describing her studies on these phenotypes Jackson first explains how she goes about conducting her research within the Republic of Liberia. When presenting this Jackson explains where the Republic of Liberia is geographically located and exactly which group of people is conducted her research on. Jackson’s research is based completely on women and children and how each phenotype affects them socioculturally and ethnohistorically. First Jackson explains the methods she uses to analyze her research, then she continues the rest of her article by explaining the results of her studies. Jackson explains results in terms of which type of Liberia women and children are affected by each phenotype. Afterwards Jackson relates the results of her research socioculturally and ethnohistorically. Jackson is able to achieve this by viewing her research in terms of societies, linguistic affinities, dietary staples and religious preference.

Through the representation of her research Jackson is trying to show how cultural aspects (i.e. societies, linguistics, diet and religion) within the Liberia society affects their modulating direction of genetics. Through her research Jackson also presents possible historical scenarios that suggest major genetic implications within certain Liberian events.

SARAH CEREZO York University (Naomi Adelson)

Keegan, William F. The Optimal Foraging Analysis of Horticultural Production. American Anthropologist 1986 Vol.88(1):92-107.

The evolution of human subsistence economies; how they change, why they change and in what ways, is the broad focus in this article. Within this larger area of inquiry, the author has examined the study horticulture as a means of subsistence, and specifically how optimal foraging models commonly used for interpreting and predicting events in hunting/gathering lifestyles can be employed in a horticultural system in a tenable way.

The author examines the Machiguenga, a native Amazonian population in south-eastern Peru, through their harvest relationship with their environment to test his hypothesis. Three main harvest areas are identified; the forest, the river, and the garden. Within each of these separate “patches” different food resources exist that in turn provide differing levels of protein, calories, etc. As resource scarcity emerges in one of the patches, decisions must be made in regards to how to adapt to the corresponding lack of nutritional input formerly offered by the resources present in that environment. Protein is identified as the “currency”, or common denominator, which transcends all harvest areas, and its availability determines predictable actions in the Machiguenga group utilizing these resources. By means of measuring the net return rates for different resources and production strategies, the direction of subsistence change can be predicted. The author gives several examples how this methodology was successfully used in the study group, and suggests that although this method is not meant to stand on its own as a comprehensive interpretive structure, it may be employed as part of a larger theory of human subsistence investigation to provide insight into the rational behind change in subsistence systems.

This article raises interesting questions about horticultural economies and the ways in which they adapt to environmental stresses. The author successfully uses hunter/gatherer models to establish his point; however the evaluation of the data is quite detailed and complex and requires substantial background knowledge in Anthropological theory and concepts.

GRAHAM RICHARD STATT University of Alberta. (Heather Young Leslie).

Keegan, William F. The Optimal Foraging Analysis of Horticultural Production. American Anthropologist 1986 Vol.88:92-107.

In this article, William F. Keegan demonstrates how optimal foraging theory can be applied to horticultural economies. The Machiguenga, a native Amazonian population of southeastern Peru, are used as an example to demonstrate this hypothesis. Horticulturalists practice a mixed subsistence strategy of hunting-gathering and shifting cultivation, which uses slash-and-burn techniques to clear land. The author demonstrates that models designed to study foraging economies “can be extended to encompass the subsequent stage in the evolution of subsistence practices” (92). By employing these models, the author attempts to explain subsistence change in quantitative terms.

For the Machiguenga, quantitative evidence suggests that protein capture is the focus of their subsistence decisions. Foraging behaviour is examined using the diet breadth model and the patch selection model. “Machiguenga patch selection decisions involve a continuously changing set of potential return rates” (98). An analysis of Machiguenga time allocation demonstrates behaviour during the annual cycle, and “suggests reasons why strategies with low average return rates are practiced” (100).

Horticultural strategies, such as slash-and-burn, deplete the quality of the soil. The introduction of new search and handling techniques can lead to an increased diet breadth. Mobility between patches creates higher returns for hunter-gatherers. The theory is not regulated by “limiting factors,” but by the way in which the availability of resources affects the selection among alternatives. The author argues that cultural development is constrained by the people’s physical and social environments. Optimal foraging theory can be used to generate testable predictions about horticultural production decisions.

LAURA MONTEITH York University (Naomi Adelson)

Lees, Susan. Coping with Bureaucracy: Survival Strategies in Irrigated Agriculture.American Anthropologist 1986 Vol. 88: 610-622

In this article, “Coping with Bureaucracy”, Susan Lees examines how small scale family farms survive within a centralized bureaucracy that appear to have policies detrimental to their survival. In this relationship the farms are responsible for providing the required labour while the bureaucracy remains responsible for providing other resources in addition to regulating/ constraining the method of their acquisition. These regulations impose a hindrance upon the operational efficiency of Family Farms, threatening their continued existence. Less examines the Israeli cooperative farming sector, the Gezira scheme in Sudan, and the Muea scheme in Kenya across ethnic, socioeconomic status and gender criteria in attempt to observe how Family Farms survive in a Bureaucratic environment.

Less finds that, as is classically the case with socioeconomic situations involving a hindrance of a free market system, underground economies arise. She refers to these underground economies as informal adjustments. While the article does not address of it these informal adjustments are as a whole beneficial to the natural economy, it does determine that their existence is based upon the socioeconomic differences in the population which the bureaucracy instead of addressing and eliminating them, ignored thereby exacerbating the very inequality it sought to eliminate.

Overall this article effectively argues the methods in which many small agricultural concerns circumvent bureaucratic authority.

SIMON ISRAEL York University (Naomi Adelson)

O’Brien J. Toward a Reconstitution of Ethnicity: Capitalist Expansion and Cultural Dynamics in Sudan. American Anthropologist 1986 Vol. 88 (4): 898-907

Attention is directed towards the problematic ways in which prevailing images of ethnicity in anthropological discourse are constructed while ignoring their historicity and dynamism. It is therefore argued that the character of ethnicity in modernity is closely tied to the processes and consequences of peripheral capitalist development. A distinction is then made between the notion of ethnicity prior to the onset of capitalistic forces as opposed to its presently constructed and understood character.

Locating the main arguments of the paper in the context of the ethnic segmentation of agricultural labour forces in 20th century Sudan, it is revealed that discourses on ethnicity and other correlated issues are closely linked to historical events stemming from colonial policies. Although ethnic identities are viewed as fluid and dynamic cultural phenomena by most anthropologists, O’Brien suggest that implicit primordialist sentiments are still noticeable in both anthropology and other related disciplines. This is because there has been a tendency to divide and portray the subject matter of anthropology into distinctive cases that possess a characteristic culture and self-contained socio-cultural collectivities.

Specific examples of the reconstitution of ethnicity are drawn from the historical events surrounding the immigration of West Africans and the Joama’ of Central Kordofan to the former colonial regime in Sudan. In the first case, the colonial encouragement of immigration to the Sudan created a highly diverse socio-cultural environment embedded in a wage labour economy. Conflicts of occupation and wage interests between the settling and local populations in Sudan gradually led to the formation of highly ethnicized distinctions and ‘cultural’ awareness. Such awareness is interpreted as consequences of a response to the various conditions of hostility, discrimination and confinement felt by diverse cultural groups interacting with one another

The second example of the Joama’ once more reiterate these arguments, as their contemporary identity was ultimately bound to their positions in the labour force. The ethnic identity of Joama’ was a highly dynamic one where such identity claims are argued to be a result of the ethnic assimilation of other immigrants to Sudan. Ethnic identity formation is thus seen as corresponding to the accessibility of an individual to a specific location in the agricultural workforce.

In all, the main arguments raised by O’Brien seek to locate a greater role in using a more dialectical and historical approach to the construction of ethnic identity. The need to avoid oppositional models of capitalist and non-capitalist forms is seen to be essential, for if the conditions in which ethnicity is created remains highly undifferentiated, this would only lead to the creation of pseudohistories and highly misrepresented forms of analysis.

KEVIN S.Y. TAN University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie).

O’Brien, J. Toward a Reconstitution of Ethnicity: Capitalist Expansion and Cultural Dynamics in Sudan. American Anthropologist 1986 Vol. 88: 898-907

This article is an analysis of the complexity of ethnicity. It focuses on “specific cases from Sudan” and demonstrates “the way in which ethnicity has been constituted by the same world-historical process that has produced modern capitalism, wage labor, and class structures.” The article discusses the difficulty of understanding one’s ethnicity and the progression anthropologists have achieved over time. It specifically discusses the history of “the formation of the agricultural labor force in Sudan and how these circumstances are “not a simple matter of one-way cultural determination of social forms of production. Indeed, once incorporation had become widespread, the process seems more generally to have moved in the other direction, from social form to ethnic identity.” The article also discusses “ethnic processes and the labour force” and how some people identify themselves not with ethnicity but with their occupation. Historical processes have had large implications and social identities that were once identified by natural mechanisms are now seen differently. “Contemporary ethnicities have fundamental determinations which are as modern and capitalist as those of the giant multinational corporations.” The article stresses the fact that “we can only fully comprehend ethnic organization and its historicity, in relation to modern social struggles in the context of peripheral capitalist development”.

O’Brien discusses his arguments by first comparing two writers: Wolf and Worsley. Wolf discusses contemporary anthropology and the need to section separate societies into different realms. Worsley criticizes anthropologists for their “situational understanding of ethnicity” and says that they are focusing too much on the idea that individuals in are responsible for their own choices. “The common theme that unite the concerns of Wolf and Worsley is that our present conceptual tools for analyzing cultural dynamics are insufficiently attuned to the role of social relations, particularly those characterized by inequality.” The author also discusses the labour force in Sudan. Another way that he argues his points is by providing examples of the earliest immigrants from Africa and the Joama of Central Kordofan.

SARAH RICHARDSON York University, Toronto, Ontario (Naomi Adelson)

Ottenberg, Simon. William R. Bascom (1912-1981). American Anthropologist. 1986 Vol. 88:154.

This article is an obituary for William R. Bascom who was born in Princeton, Illinois. Bascom was a noted Africanist and folklorist who had his undergraduate degree in physics and then an M.A. in anthropology at the University of Wisconsin. A man by the name of Herskovitz turned Bascom’s interest toward African religion, folklore and art. At Northwestern Bascom played a major role in training the majority of the anthropology graduate students, most of whom carried out research in Africa. For Bascom, theory grew out of the investigation of data rather than the other way around. Bascom’s major interests included Yoruba religion. He gave the anthropological world a good sense of Africa’s general contribution to world culture. William R. Bascom brought an intelligent understanding of African culture to the scholarly and public world. His wife, Berta Bascom survives him.

COLIN COOPER York University (Naomi Adelson)

Patterson, Thomas C. The Last Sixty Years: Toward a Social History of Americanist Archaeology in the United States. American Anthropologist 1986 Vol.88(1):7-26.

The article offers a review of the social history of Americanist Archaeology from the 1920’s to 1986 when the work was published. The author discusses the major philosophical and methodological changes in the discipline during the period, and attempts to offer insight as to why these changes occurred when they did. It is forwarded that thought in Americanist Archaeology can be largely summed into two distinct interpretive communities; the “Core Culture” which articulates the concerns of national capital and its allies, and the “Eastern Establishment” which pursues the interests of international capital and its allies. These two communities alter the course of the discipline by means of funding projects that are compliant with or compatible to their respective political and economic interests. Within each community different interpretive frameworks are employed by scientists for evaluating data, and often each group of Archaeologists will maintain a completely different theoretical philosophy from other groups, or from previous thought in the discipline. Patterson views the history of Americanist Archaeology in this contextual framework, and this offers a unique perspective on the nature, meaning and direction of change in the discipline, in addition to the usual dates and facts associated with standard descriptive historical commentary. In summary, the author suggests that Americanist Archaeological thought has undergone significant change in the period, and that this change is not always uniform, cumulative, or objective. External influences routed in the emergence of industrial capitalism are prime movers in the practice of Archaeology in the United States, and it is only the “…presuppositions or antecedent logical conditions” (pp. 21) of the questions asked that bond the discipline together as a united group.

GRAHAM RICHARD STATT University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie).

Roberts, J.M., Morita, S., Brown, L.K. Personal Categories from Japanese Sacred Places: Views Elicited from a Conjugal Pair American Anthropologist 1986 Vol. 88 (4): 807-824.

In this article, polytheism in the form of Japanese religious beliefs is studied from an in-depth analysis of a Japanese couple’s personal categories of sacred places and gods. This was done in order to provide an individualistic small group perspective to the study of polytheism. Using the methods of hierarchical clustering, dimensional scaling and interviewing, an analysis was made to the pile sorts of the names of sacred places and gods that each respondent could recall.

Particular attention was given to the scared places and gods which were interpreted as especially meaningful or significant. It was hypothesized that the findings would also provide insights into the small group culture practised by the conjugal pair and the names given to idiosyncratic clusters and dimensions would also have some ethnographic generality As any long-established or close dyad is likely to be a powerful management team for processing information and decision making, an understanding of the couple’s ‘conjugal control’ of information was thus a useful way to comprehend their small group culture.

The Japanese couple selected was a childless couple spending a year in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. They had been married to each other for a few years and were under the age of 40. Educated and able to speak in English, they were asked to recall as many sacred places and gods they could and these were written on cards divided into recall sets within similar defined categories. These sets were then subjected to a U-Statistic procedure creating hierarchical clustering solutions along with a multidimensional scaling programme.

Results revealing the similarities in knowledge, beliefs and patterns shown by the couple suggest that other Japanese might have similar responses to such an extent that a general taxonomy of Japanese sacred places and gods could be created with the appropriate sampling procedures. Other findings included the fact that sacred places also seemed linked to territorial and social units. Attachments to them play a part in tying a person to either one or the other although gods were noted to be more pervasive.

In all, consistent structures were seen to reflect fundamental human concerns such as life and death or a person’s place in the household or community. These aid in controlling large numbers of gods and sacred places linked to differing socio-cultural expectations and objectives.

KEVIN S.Y. TAN University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie).

Roberts, John M., Saburo Morita, and L. Keith Brown. Personal Categories for Japanese Sacred Places and Gods: Views Elicited from a Conjugal Pair. American Anthropologist 1986. Vol.88: 807-824.

In this study Roberts, Morita, and Brown looked at a Japanese husband and wife and asked them to make independent lists of sacred places (shines temples, tombs, etc.) and gods (supernatural figures) they could easily recall; Roberts, Morita and Brown also conducted interviews. They wanted to make “a case study in Japanese religious categorization, providing a view of polytheistic belief not found in ethnographic reports.”

The couple they chose was childless and spending a year in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, they were both educated and spoke English. The reason Roberts, Morita and Brown chose a couple was because the dyad of a married pair is a management team with diversity among its members.

For sacred places he couple had listed family shines, major shrines or temples in the area that they lived; and national shines “connected with the origin myths of Japan or otherwise associated with the Imperial line.” For the unshared places they listed places they went to as a child or places from the region they grew up in, as well as natural places without shines. And both spouses listed Christian churches although neither are a practicing Christians.

For Gods, the couple listed the Gods associated with the temples that they listed for sacred places, harmful gods, household gods and community gods.

Roberts, Morita, and Brown mentioned that one of the interesting findings in their research was that the couple had arranged the list of names in almost the same order.

In this article Roberts, Morita and Brown use charts and diagrams to show the connection between the husband and wife’s list. They also give a list of the places mentioned after each section and the significant gods and festivals.

CHRISTINA SAUNDERS York University (Naomi Adelson).

Romney, A. Kimball, Weller, Susan C. and Batchelder, William H. Culture as Consensus: A Theory of Culture and Informant Accuracy. American Anthropologist 1986 Vol. 88 (2): 313-338.

A formal mathematical model is used in determining the cultural competence and knowledge of an informant in the course of ethnographic fieldwork. It is felt that a more objective and systematic approach to understanding culture and ethnography has become all the more important in the light of recent analytical controversies in anthropology.

Defining an informant’s cultural competence as a semantic domain located within a unified conceptual sphere, the notions of consensus among informants are seen to indicate significant knowledge about a culture. The patterns of agreement among informants in the same environment are thus analyzed to infer to each of their differentiated levels of competence in a shared culture.

This model was based primarily from the derivations and concepts of previously well-established theories such as signal detection theory, test constructions by psychometricians, decision analysis in Bayesian estimation and latent structural analysis. Three examples in the application of the model were employed – using true-false type data from a general information test, followed by a subset of the general information test and finally with regard to disease classification in Guatemala.

Potentially controversial issues of validity, reliability, the definition of ‘cultural pattern’, the required number of informants and the model’s methodological robustness were discussed in order to further refine and analyze any limitations. Although the amount of validity in using the model was deemed significant because it was successful in measuring the areas targeted, reliability possessed some limitations to the extent where one could obtain both high informant reliability and high item reliability simultaneously.

The employment of this model was felt to enable the reconstruction of ‘culturally relevant’ answers to questions directed within confidence limits. The most competent informants, with regard to a specific area of cultural knowledge, will also be identifiable while using such a model. Apart from the ability in determining the specific aspects of cultural beliefs, the model would also be useful in testing the cultural knowledge of informant subgroups, thus expanding the possibilities in studying intracultural variability. Likewise, the model could correspondingly be employed in the study of intercultural similarities or differences pertaining to cultural beliefs.

KEVIN S.Y. TAN University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie).

Romney, A. Kimball, Weller, C. Susan and Batchelder, H. William. Culture as Consensus: A Theory of Culture and Informant Accuracy. American Anthropologist 1986 Vol.88:313-338.

In their article, “Culture as Consensus: A Theory of Culture and Informant Accuracy”, the authors attempt a rough outline of an objective model which would serve to measure the cultural competence of an informant, and estimate the correct answer to each question. In other words an objective criterion to measure the ethnographers confidence in inferring the correct answers to cultural questions.

Thus they “derive and test a formal mathematical model” to this end. In their brief summary they break up their paper into:

1. An informal and brief verbal description of the theory, followed by the formal (and detailed) mathematical model.

2. An application of this model to quasi-experimental data where it is tested according to a priori answers.

3. Its application to field data on disease classification in Guatemala, thereby illustrating it against a naturally occurring environment.

4. And finally a discussion on its implications.

It is in this final section that the authors critically analyze their approach to such matters as validity, reliability, the significance of consensus (or how the informants relate to that which is being measured), the practicality or robustness of the model, the necessary number of informants and finally the need for further elaboration so that a more precise criterion for judging the coherence of questions.

BEHZAD SARMADI York University (Naomi Adelson)

Ross, Marc Howard. Female Political Participation: A Cross-Cultural Explanation. American Anthropologist. December, 1986 Vol. 88 (4): 843-858.

In this article, Ross is interested in determining the social factors that impact women’s political participation in society. By looking at cross-cultural ethnographic data of ninety pre-industrialized societies Ross intends first to identify the level of female participation in each society and then to assess what societal features influence women’s position and to explore why this might occur.

To identify the variation of gendered political activity, Ross looked for four variables in each society: public and private participation, positions open to both genders, and the existence of separate organizations or positions. The first three variables produced related results while the fourth variable was significantly dissimilar. This led Ross to group the first three as one variable of female participation and the fourth as a variable of female organization. Ross then uses five basic explanations that appear in the literature on women. The first regards the level of women’s status and political activity to be in direct relation to the social, economic, and political complexity of the society, usually stating that less complex societies are more egalitarian and therefore power is more equally distributed between genders. The second explanation associates the level of women’s contributions to subsistence as correlated to their status, while the third explanation points to the social structure of the society. This is considered on two levels: whether or not inter-community marriages are common and patrilocal residence the norm, and also whether there are fraternal interest groups. Violence and conflict that a community faces is considered another factor impacting women’s involvement in political life. Conflict can occur internally or externally and each impacts the society differently and therefore are treated separately. The final variable to be considered is what Ross describes as psychocultural dispositions. This refers to the values that are embraced in the socialization of children. This theory states that societies that emphasize typically male characteristics of aggressiveness will reduce the level of female participation compared to societies that emphasize values of nurturance. Another aspect of the socialization factor is what has been called ‘protest masculinity’. This describes societies where male domination is significant and a father’s relationship with his son is distant and cold and leads to an ambivalent gendered identity for the son. This situation is considered particularly negative for women’s status and involvement in decision-making.

These variables were then tested for their relevance in the participation and organization of women in political life and the results showed that high internal conflict, low external conflict, nurturing socialization, and the absence of fraternal interest groups are the most significant variables affecting women’s status and political roles in society. Following just behind are five other variables that include an increase in female participation in societies with local endogamy and with low male gender identity conflict. Ross then explores why these results might be true and concludes by suggesting that further refinement of this theory is necessary before a more complete understanding can be achieved.

KIM ARMSTRONG BAALBAKI University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie).

Ross, Mark H. Female Political Participation: A Cross-Cultural Explanation. American Anthropologist 1986 Vol. 88:843-858

Ross states that the objective of this article is to understand societal-level mechanisms associated with gender-based inclusion and exclusion from political life. His analysis finds two conceptually and statistically independent forms of female political participation: involvement in decision making, and the existence of organizations and/or positions controlled by, or reserved for, women. Ross includes a multivariate analysis of data from 90 preindustrial societies and identifies their social structural, psychocultural, and behavioral variables affecting female inclusion and exclusion.

Ross identifies at least five different, but not always compatible, societal-level explanations for variation in female political activity. (1) socioeconomic and political complexity, (2) contributions to subsistence, (3) social structural theories of fraternal interest group strength and postmarital residence, (4) conflict and warfare, and (5) psychocultural dispositions acquired during socialization.

Ross also briefly defines political participation as actions on the part of individuals which either directly or indirectly affect the authoritative allocation of scarce resources, either material or symbolic, in their community or between communities either within or outside their society. This definition is given close to the beginning of the article in order to make it easier to understand what the author means by “political participation”.

Ross concludes his article by saying that his cross-cultural examination of female political participation leads to two major substantive conclusions. First, the analysis identifies two independent dimensions of female political action – direct or indirect involvement in decision making and exclusive female control over organizations or positions of authority. Second, in explaining cross-cultural variation of these two dimensions, the analysis reveals the independent effects of social structural, psychocultural, and behavioral factors.

LINDSAY GRANT York University (Naomi Adelson)

Salomon, Frank and Sue Grosboll. Names and Peoples in Incaic Quito: Retrieving Undocumented Historic Processes Through Anthroponymy and Statistics. American Anthropologist June, 1986 Vol.88(2):387-399.

In their article, “Names and People in Incaic Quito,” Frank Salomon and Sue Grosboll study the differences and problems within the Incaic Quito community, which is a Spanish minority group. In order to gain a more clear perspective of the area that Salomon and Grosboll concentrate on, a brief summary of the history and problems within this area is given. This area consists of three groups in the northern lands of Quito: Puembo, Pingolqui and El Ynga. In the southern lands the three groups are Anan Chillo, Urin Chillo, Uyumbicho. The main problem in this article is the linguistics, which is spoken within the area. The Incaic Quito community experiences many impediments when it comes to the official language within each area. The two official languages are Spanish and Quechua, while other aboriginal languages are also taught within different regions. To further complicate things it is mentioned that some of the historic linguistic information has not been recorded within this area. For Salomon and Grosboll, the purpose of their article is not to try and solve the linguistic problems within this area, but rather use it to study the differences within each region.

Salomon and Grosboll continue their article by explaining to their readers how they attempted to study the differences within the Incaic Quito community. The two try to achieve this task by looking at the recorded history concerning this area and questioning any historic information that has not been recorded. Then they continue their research by explaining the kinds of methods used to study data and linguistic information regarding the area. Through computerized reconstruction of the original transcripts that were found regarding information about these areas and looking at the aboriginal naming patterns, Salomon and Grosboll obtain a more clear view of the complexity of this community. The rest of the article is used to state what they learned about the people of the Incaic Quito society.

SARAH CEREZO York University (Naomi Adelson).

Shipman, Pat. Scavenging or Hunting in Early Hominids: Theoretical Framework and Tests. American Anthropology 1986 Vol.88:27-38.

Skeletal remains were found in Bed I of Olduvai, dating between 2 and 1.7 million years ago. This evidence suggested that scavenging, not hunting, was the primary means of obtaining meat for consumption. Both theories are tested by using scanning electron microscope studies of cut marks and carnivore tooth marks found in the area.

The first evidence, which supports the hunting hypothesis, is the place where those tooth marks were found, near the joint location. Only 13 sets included both the cut marks and carnivore tooth marks. There was a distinct pattern in the way the marks were made. Of the 13 sets of layered marks, 8 showed that the carnivore tooth marks were set first and then the cut marks followed. In the other 5 sets of marks, it was the cut marks that came before the tooth marks. Therefore, this is evidence that Oldowans scavenged from carnivore killings.

There are certain adaptations of scavengers that are viewed that can be used for comparison in order to prove the scavenging theory. All Bed I hominids possessed the ability to walk upright, fulfilling the locomotor adaptation of a scavenger. Walking upright also raised the hominid’s head, enabling him to locate carcass materials in distant areas. Therefore, this supports the second adaptation of a scavenger. The use of stone tools allowed for a quick removal of meat from carcasses. This adaptation is a means of dealing with competition. Scavenging in groups promotes yet another adaptation, which, unfortunately, isn’t observed in the fossil record. Dental microwear figures collected from the site suggested that Oldowans ate fruit like scavengers today. It is evident that all adaptations of scavengers were present in the Bed I hominids. Even though evidence was found in support of the scavenging hypotheses, it is still a theory that should be further considered and investigated but not rejected completely.

JANI TRINDADE York University (Naomi Adelson).

Smith, Michael E. Social Stratification in the Aztec Empire. American Anthropologist. March, 1986 Vol. 88 (1): 70-91.

In this article, Smith puts forth an alternate interpretation of the political structure of the Aztec Empire, specifically as it relates to relations between the central state and the conquered provinces. Smith wishes to challenge the view that territories were held in submission through the use of military force and intimidation. He supports instead, the view that distant territories were subdued and incorporated into the Aztec empire through social alliances and economic benefits extended to the elite.

Problems with the view of military domination include the difficulty this would have presented for the army to be dispersed to such wide and distant places, particularly since there was no standing army. Smith explores the idea of control through elite interaction by examining the historical sources prior to European contact. Europeans who first came into contact with the Aztecs were impressed by the power and wealth of the state and were convinced by state propaganda of the might of the ruler and the fear of its subjects. Smith argues that although military might and state propaganda did bring other districts under their control, it was the socio-political organization that maintained this order.

In order to illustrate this perspective, Smith uses the example of the province of Cuauhnahuac, which fell under the control of the Triple Alliance. Cuauhnahuac is considered a good example because its position in relation to the Triple Alliance can be assessed through historical sources. These sources demonstrate an ongoing relation between Cuauhnahuac and the states (Mexica, Acolhua, and Tepanec) that form the Triple Alliance. Social stratification of these states was based on a division between elites and commoners. Elites had control of the land and formed the local government. The nobility exacted tribute and it was in the best interest of the elites to consolidate and maintain their positions. Looking at the historical sources, this seems to have been done by creating economic and political relationships with other elite within and between political territories. Marriage alliances, exchange of luxury goods, social interaction at religious or political ceremonies and trade were the means for creating bonds between competing political entities and for reinforcing the status and position of the elites within their state.

When the Triple Alliance had been formed and they began to conquer other states thereby expanding their empire, these systems were already well established. In addition, the domination of one state by another had historically followed a particular pattern whereby the subject state would continue its autonomy over local affairs, including the exaction of tribute, but would in turn pay tribute to the conquering state. The system was continued by the Triple Alliance and as Smith argues, such a system did not challenge local governance; it reinforced it. Therefore, so long as the Triple Alliance held a military and political advantage, there would be little incentive for the conquered states to rebel.

Smith’s assessment is only an initial interpretation of the political situation of the period. His purpose is to open up future analyses and archaeological undertakings to an alternate understanding of the social and political relations of the Aztec Empire.

KIM ARMSTRONG BAALBAKI University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie).

Strauss, Robert. Obituary. Marion Pearsall (1923-1984) American Anthropologist 88:437-441.

Straus goes on to express Marion Pearsall as a warm, sensitive, compassionate and caring individual, not only to her friends and family but to the people she studied as well as the students she taught. She provided many people with guidance, strength and the value of her experience. Many faculties and organizations sought after Marion’s knowledge and ability as well as her eagerness to learn and teach. Her tremendous efforts and contributions of approximately 45 years came to a halt on June 15, 1984, where Marion Pearsall finally ended her seven-year struggle with cancer.

LEILA BAHRAMI York University (Naomi Adelson)

Trend, M.G. and W.L Lett. Government Capital and Minority Enterprise: An Evaluation of a Depression Era Social Program. American Anthropologist 1986 Vol.88(3):595-609.

This article uses anthropological, economic, and historical methods and theory to ascertain the economic value of a depression era program that involved black tenant farmers residing in Gee’s Bend, Alabama. The program, “Gees Bend Farms”, was originally formulated by the United States Government in the 1930’s to aid struggling farmers in the area, by means of providing moderate sized farms; a production, processing, and marketing network; and a government agent to oversee the project and provide technical assistance when needed. The project represents one of the few times that the United States government transferred productive capital directly to those in need of it, as opposed to the transfer of cash or other forms of relief.

The reason that the article conducted this re-evaluation of the program was to determine if contemporary government programs should proceed which advocated the same form of direct capital transfer, as the economic picture in the mid 1980’s was much different than in the depression. Success of the original program was debateable, and cost/benefit equations were applied to data gathered from government documents and interviews. This revealed that the success of the endeavour differed according to which group you belonged to; society, government or the individual being subsidized. While government and society showed minimal to negative return on investment, the individual return was substantial for a short period, but then tapered off again as the economy improved, capital values changed, mobility increased, and average farm sizes grew rural America. In conclusion, the authors suggest that the program has more emotional than economic value, and that “Gee’s Bend Farms” was more an attempt to successfully resurrect a period of individual farm ownership commonplace in American history, rather than an honest attempt at providing an economically feasible farm cooperative in the area that would enjoy long term sustained growth and prosperity.

With respect to this evaluation of the original project, the authors strongly discourage using this productive capital program as the model for future farm aid policy. Citing the exponential increase in the monetary value of productive capital, higher interest rates, inflation, and the productivity of modern large scale agriculture suggest that perhaps time and money would be better spent in retraining, and providing assistance as individuals move into other areas of the workforce.

GRAHAM RICHARD STATT University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie).

Trend, M.G. and W.L. Lett. Government Capital and Minority Enterprise: An Evaluation of a Depression-Era Social Program. American Anthropologist. 1986: 595-609.

The author uses a benefit/cost analysis of Gee’s Bend Farms, a federally sponsored relief project. This project attempted to offer poverty relief through providing moderate sized farms and capital transfers to ensure self-sufficiency for the Southern Blacks. It was an attempt to provide opportunities to economically marginalized groups in the South.

A brief history of Gee’s Bend is provided from 1900 when the area was purchased by absentee landlords and rented to Black farmers, through the Depression Era which saw the assets of the Black farmers being seized to settle their debts. Work relief was provided along with extended credit for farming necessities. In 1937, the area was purchased by the Rural Resettlement Administration and a new community was established. The intent was for the residents to become self-sufficient as they had been before the Depression. A medical clinic and public school was provided; however, Black ownership of land continued to be rare.

In 1946, the FmHA was created to act as a lending agency for farmers and residents in rural areas. Gee’s Bend was sold and residents were given the opportunity to purchase the land at a mortgage rate of 3% over 40 years. Unfortuately, the FmHA dissolved in 1953, and the Gee’s Bend farmers became a group of independent farmers with individaul mortgages. In the 1960s, residents began to sell off sections of their land to pay off their mortgages.

The authors’ data was collected through fieldwork, federal records, state and local records, aerial photographs, and oral accounts. This data is used to determine the effectivness of federal programs based on benefit/cost ratios. The authors find that although the intent of the program is to provide freedom from welfare dependency for the residents, but from an efficiency perspective, the project was not worth while. The project is only beneficial for the participant, however, a resident of this area is twice as likely to be on welfare assistance than the average Alabama resident. Therefore, the cost of the project is too high when the benefits are minimal for either the federal government or the participant.

KARA STEWART York University: (Naomi Adelson)

Urban, Greg. Ceremonial Dialogues in South America. American Anthropologist 1986 Vol. 88:371-385

The article Ceremonial Dialogues in South America by Greg Urban is about the traditional forms of language called “ceremonial dialogue” that are practiced in native South America. It presents the point of view from a formed hypothesis regarding semiotic functioning. Urban’s main focus is “that ritualized dialogue is a sign vehicle constructed from everyday conversational dialogue, and is therefore an icon or ‘model of’ that dialogue.” In relation to this, because ceremonial dialogues are guidelines or blueprints of this dialogue “they are also ‘models for’ ordinary conversation.”

The article demonstrates the importance of ceremonial dialogues and their symbolic meanings. Urban explains that in all areas of South America the aim of these dialogues “is to direct attention to the process of social coordination and to the solidarity that is consequently achieved.” Every performance of ritual is an event that creates solidarity in that it creates communication with others and can be related to social coordination. It is in this way that it can be understood as a “model for” language. Urban discusses the differences between “semantic and pragmatic dialogues” and explains how not all South American dialogues are semantic yet they are all pragmatic, meaning that they are practical in nature. He also examines “the type of linguistic interaction for which ceremonial dialogue is employed, together with the social context in which it is used” and he focuses on cultural implications involved in the creation of solidarity. He is concerned specifically with two areas: “1. the extent to which the discourse in the dialogue is semantically monologue or dialogue, and 2. the extent to which it is formulaic or substantive.” Urban’s main purpose is to demonstrate how South American rituals model solidarity through their ceremonial dialogues. He also focuses on the different forms of this dialogue and “the largely formulaic dialogues tend to occur where we know from other ethnographic information that mutual sizing up regards power is constantly at work..” The article demonstrates the importance of cultural implications that are formulated through linguistic techniques and that play a large role over all.

Urban’s argument is presented in this article through the discussion of five different ethnographic cases. He “considers: 1. the classic Carib style of ceremonial dialogue as found among the Waiwai of Guiana and the Trio of the Brazil-Surinam border, 2. ceremonial dialogues of the Yanomamo Indians of the Brazil-Venezuela border region, 3. Ritualized dialogic ‘greetings’ of the Jivaroan Shuar and Achuar of eastern islands in Panama, and 5. Dyadiic origin-myth telling style of waneklen of the Ge-speaking Shokleng Indians of southern Brazil.” Urban compares and contrasts the different uses and techniques of ceremonial dialogue. He then discusses specific characteristics of ceremonial dialogues by describing “pragmatic turns”, giving an example of Kuna cycles. The article contains graphs with information about the temporal structure of the Kuna Pragmatic Cycle. There is also a graph that compares different regions and their data on pragmatic cycles, and he discusses certain examples.

SARAH RICHARDSON York University, Toronto, Ontario (Naomi Adelson)

Whiting, John W. M. Obituary: George Peter Murdock (1897-1985). American Anthropologist 1986 Vol. 88: 682-685.

John Whiting provides a thorough account of Dr. Murdock’s academic life and adds a personal touch as a former student and friend. Dr. Murdock is presented as a great mentor, teacher, and forefront academic, achieving major works in the organization of the discipline of anthropology, and compiling some of the most resourceful works in anthropology.

Dr. Murdock was born in Connecticut in a family of farmers. Beginning his academic career in a ” one room schoolhouse”, he completed his high school at Meriden. Graduating from Yale in 1919 with a degree in American History, he enrolled in Harvard Law School but dropped out after two years, opting to travel around the world. During this trip he decided to be an anthropologist. After being rejected by Franz Boas at Columbia University, he enrolled at Yale University under A.G. Keller. There he was exposed to the evolutionary approach to anthropology. Some of his major works include: The Science of Culture (1932), Correlations of Matrilineal and Patrilineal Institutions (1937), Outline of Cultural Materials (1938), Double Descent (1940), Bifurcate Merging: A Test of Five Theories (1947), The Outline of World Cultures (1954), World Ethnographic Sample (1957), Africa: Its Peoples and Their Culture History (1959), Subsistence Economy and Supportive Practices (1970), Settlement Patterns and Community Organization (1972), Measurement of Cultural Complexity (1973), World Distribution of Theories of Illness (1978)

Dr. Murdock is also credited with establishing various academic groups, such as the “Monday Night Club” at the Institute of Human Relations; leading major research groups in Micronesia during World War II and the following two decades; and establishing the Society for Cross-Cultural Research.

Overall, Whiting’s depiction of Dr. Murdock emulates a sincere teacher and friend who dedicated his life to his students and family. Underlying his work was the belief that “anthropology could and should make a major contribution to the science of human cognitive and social behaviour and that all hypotheses about human behaviour should be tested across an appropriate sample of all known cultures” (686).

ERNESTO WULFF York University (Naomi Adelson)

Wierzbicka, A. Human Emotions: Universal of Culture-Specific? American Anthropologist 1986 Vol. 88 (3): 584-594

This article seeks to reanalyse older claims to the existence of ‘fundamental human emotions’ in all human societies by highlighting linguistic differences in the perception and expression of such emotions. Therefore, English terms such as ‘interest’, ‘joy’, ‘shame’, ‘fear’, ‘anger’ and ‘disgust’ that have been highlighted as part of a set of universal human emotions are a source of contention. Such contention however, is not implied by the assertion that universal human emotions do not exist, but a search for them must come from a culture-independent semantic language.

As the application of any distinct language (as in the use of English only) commonly implies the use of a specific folk taxonomy, any attempt at locating universal emotions through such a method neglects the dangers of ethnocentrism, thus sacrificing a claim to objectivity. What is required is greater sensitivity to the culture-specific aspects of emotions, particularly in relation to the language used to describe them.

Examples of such situations arise in the comparison between the English term ‘disgust’ together with the fact that no clear equivalent in the Polish language exists. A similar situation occurs when one cannot find a corresponding English term to the Polish term ‘tesknic’. Another significant discussion is the comparison between the conceptual distinctions in the use of the words ‘shame’ and ‘fear’ by English and the Australian language Gidjingali. In this case, although the terms are viewed as distinct in English, they are not necessarily so in Gidjingali.

Such obstacles are then dealt with by the application of simpler concepts that the author feels are not culture-specific. Terms such as ‘say’, ‘want’ or ‘think’ are then put forth as lexical universals that contain no threat of overt or covert circularity. It is only after a significant amount of lexical data collection and serious semantic analysis from this perspective, thus leading to the creation of a language-independent semantic metalanguage, before any real claim to universal human emotions can be made.

KEVIN S.Y. TAN University of Alberta (Heather Young Leslie).

Wierzbicka, Anna. Human Emotions: Universal or Culture-Specific? American Anthropologist 1986, Vol. 88 584-594

In this article Anna Wierzbicka takes a close look at a somewhat undressed issues in the search for universal emotions, language, and to a larger extent cross cultural lexical expression of various emotions. Wierzbicka argues that while recent literature has attempted to identify fundamental emotions universal to the human psyche, these descriptions identify fundamental emotions in one language, in this example, English. However, the argument arises when one considers if someone of another culture would have chosen equivalent lexical terminology in an effort to describe the observed emotion. In fact, the argument is taken further when one considers that preliterate cultures often have trouble distinguishing between similar emotions such as anger and excitement.

The article does not attempt to argue against the existence of fundamental emotion but rather addresses the issue that if an emotion is to be considered universal, by definition it must be distinguishable across cultures. Furthermore it proposes that fundamental emotions must be identified in language independent terms and their extent must be cross-culturally lexically supported.

Wierzbicka addresses a fundamental issue in the concept of universality in this article, and while not proving these concepts are universal, provides the evaluation criteria required for universality of emotion.

SIMON ISRAEL York University (Naomi Adelson)