American Anthropologist 1991
Arnold, Dean E., Neff, Hector; Bishop, Ronald L. Compositional Analysis and “Sources” of Pottery: An Ethnoarchaeological Approach. March, 1991 Vol. 93 (1):70-90.
Arnold, Neff, and Bishop examine a potential link between the chemical properties in pottery and the behavior of the potters. They focus their analysis of pottery in communities of potters in the Valley of Guatemala. Samples were obtained from three communities: Chinautla, Sacojito, and Durazno and other samples were extracted from Mixco, Sacoj and La Cienaga. They state their goal of the research as, “to understand what procurement variables (like clay source and temper source) affect the trace element composition in modern pottery and thus to test the assumptions linking the elemental analysis of pottery (obtained from neutron activation analysis) and potter’s procurement behavior.” Through chemical and neutron activation analysis of pottery and clay source the researchers conclude that a “middle range theory must be developed that explicitly relates compositional profiles of raw materials, on the one hand with cultural conventions governing resource selection and paste preparation on the other.” Their results show that elemental compositions in pottery reflect the elemental compositions in their sources. Also, that the source is designed to encompass characterization from “intercorrelated elemental compositions that are described by their central tendency (centroid) and dispersion (variance-covariance matrix).” They finally state that ceramic compositions not only reflect their elemental compositions of raw materials but also, the past production practices of the potters. Through the potter’s use of techniques such as levigation and tempering, they manipulate the composition of elements in the paste. The end of the article states, “This article thus supports a notion that ‘source’ or provenience has important chemical and behavioral (cultural) components and pottery thus encodes both chemical information from the source and behavioral information from the potter.”
CLARITY RANKING: 2
PANTALEON YZAGUIRRE Baylor University (Tina Thurston)
Arnold, Dean E., Neff, Hector, and Bishop, Ronald, L. Compositional Analysis and “Sources” of Pottery: An Ethnoarcheological Approach. American Anthropologist 1991 Vol. 93: 70-89.
“This article examines the relationship between potters’ behavior in obtaining and using raw materials, on the one hand, and the chemical composition of their finished pottery”. The authors collected and observed samples of pottery from living interacting communities in the Valley of Guatemala. “In order to relate the chemical elements in the pottery and potters’ behavior, archeologists assume that the ceramic composition reflects the composition of the source raw materials”. The article argues that this “source” is a problematic term in it of itself. The source can come from many widespread and overlapping areas, therefore causing confused research. For their research “the pottery produced by any given community is drawn from constituent raw materials that occur within a universal “resource area” that has a radius of 7km”. Elemental analysis of pottery from a known origin will help in making more precise interpretations about the potters’ behavior. The goal of their research was to understand the variation within the raw materials, such as the water and temper (colorants) used, and how they affect the chemical analysis. Many formulas and equations illustrate the concentrations of elements found within the selected pottery. The research was based on the production of two types of pottery, redware and whiteware. The findings coincide “with the ethnographic observation that potters from the three communities use basically uniform temper, but they add it to two very distinct clays”. This observation allowed the inference “that tempered ceramics can be related to their constituent raw materials”, thus giving rise to the study of the variability within a single tradition as well as compared to other groups. ” ‘Matching’ analyzed ceramics to source material is not a matter of comparing the elemental composition of ceramics to that of the clays or the tempers, in a one-to-one manner. Instead, all ‘sources’ are characterized by a range of intercorrelated elemental concentrations that are described by their central tendency and dispersion”. Regional analysis could be useful in forming examples of pottery concentrations to be used later for comparison with found artifacts. “This article supports the notion that source or provenience has important chemical and behavioral (cultural) components and pottery thus encodes both chemical information from the source and behavioral information from the potter”.
MARSIA YENCSK University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Gregory Starrett)
Besnier, Niko. Literacy and the Notion of Person on Kukulaelae Atoll. American Anthropologist September 1991 Vol. 93 (3):570-583.
Niko Besnier examines the role of literacy in society and culture. Besnier approaches literacy in the Nukuklaelae Atoll from an ideological model. This model maintains that literacy is an extension of the sociocultural context in which it is planted. It also states that literacy is enveloped by the ideology, social practices, and the power structure of the society it functions in. Besnier states that the intention of this article is to identify “ways in which generalization can be sought in the study of literacy from an ideological perspective.” Besnier focuses the study on Nukulaelae, a small isolated atoll in the Central Pacific. Here Christian missionaries coming to the atoll first introduced literacy. In this place literacy is viewed as an important component of personhood. Besnier focuses on two practices of literacy: the personal letters and sermon writing. In personal letter writing, the people of Kukulaelae “highlight affectively, particularly those affective categories that locate the individual in relation to a complex socioeconomic system, such as emotions alofa that are constitutive of generosity (which motivates giving), those of sociability (which underlies the expression of phatic giving), and concerns for younger kindred (which, in turn, motivates admonishments).” It allows the authors of these letters to express themselves emotionally regarding experiences of life. Sermons however allow the individual the ability to exercise assertiveness and authoritarianism. It allows the writer of the sermon to convey personal notions of their views of society. However, literacy is approached, it is an important communicative function that is an important component of personhood.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
PANTALEON YZAGUIRRE Baylor University (Tina Thurston).
Besnier, Niko. Literacy and the Notion of Person on Nukulaelae Atoll. American Anthropologist. 1991 vol.93:570-587
The Nukulaelae Atoll is a small, isolated landform in the Central Pacific with 310 inhabitants. Its social structure is one of the least stratified in Polynesia. Due to the fact that Peruvian slave-traders took 80% of the population, the atoll was in a time of social upheaval when the first Samoan missionaries arrived. The author seeks discover how literacy has effected this population, and how literacy has contributed to the idea of ‘individual’. There are two viewpoints for examining literacy in a culture: the “autonomous approach” and the “ideological approach”. The autonomous approach views literacy as “an essentially monolithic phenomenon”, and the presence or absence of literacy is a huge determinate of social relations and ideas about ‘the self’. The ideological approach views literacy as a “fundamentally heterogeneous construct”, and its place in a culture is shaped by the culture. The author has the ideological perspective, which is more comparative than the autonomous approach. This is because proponents of the ideological model do not hold Western, institutional literary practices as “the apogee of literacy, and most other manifestations more or less deficient”.
On Nukulaelae, there are two primary modes of literary practice: personal letters and written religious sermons. As previously mentioned, slave-traders had taken the vast majority of the population just before the first Samoan missionaries arrived. This allowed for an easy transition of power to the Samoan teacher, as traditional social order was in shambles. This then allowed for a rapid assimilation of Christian ideas, including the compulsory literacy requirement. This is evidenced in the account of a visitor to the atoll less than two decades after literacy was introduced: “…They all can read…No present is more acceptable to them than a few sheets of paper and some pens… We nearly ran out of ink before we got clear of the group”. Today the islanders view the ability to read and write as a key aspect of “personhood”, with only small children and the mentally retarded illiterate. Illiteracy is equated with individuals living in poouliuli (“darkness”-a complex state characterized by lack of socialization, dirt, nakedness, and ‘heathenness’).
Personal letters called tusi alofa (“letters of empathy”) are exchanged with relatives or friends, and never between strangers. Letters usually have one of four primary social functions: they are used to monitor economic reciprocity, to inform the recipient of family events and personal news, by older individuals to morally admonish their younger relatives, and to display affection in one form or another. One interesting side note is that these letters displaying affection tend to be very overt, which contrasts with the certain “covertness” that permeates everyday discourse when it relates to personal feelings. Behavior defines emotions on Nukulaelae, and the islanders do not disassociate emotion, affect, and social action.
The other avenue of literacy is the written sermons in the Congregationalist-style churches on Nukulaelae Atoll. The “sermonic discourses” present in Nukulaelae society differs from all other forms of communication on the island, as the sermon’s function is to “manipulate abstract notions and terms (goodness, sin, God, etc…), to define them, contrast them with each other, analogize from them and evaluate the relevance of what the Bible says to them for contemporary life”. The sermons are used by preachers to admonish the population, and to highlight differences between daily life and the ideal.
G. THOMAS BENTON JR. UNC Charlotte (Gregory Starrett)
Bettinger L. Robert. Aboriginal Occupation at High Altitude: Villages in the White Mountains of Eastern California. American Anthropologist September 1991 Vol. 93 (3) 656-677
The author in this article examines the area of occupation by the Aboriginal tribes of Eastern California. The author begins his observation by first viewing the Alpine Villages in the Great Basin. Next he examines the alpine zone as a village location, where the bulk of the mainstream contemporary hunter-gatherer proceeds. (3) Alternative Explanations of Alpine Villages, here he looks at the two ways to interpret the archeological record of alpine land in the White Mountain and Toquima Range villages. (4) White Mountain Alpine Research, here he examines a study hone between 1982 and 1989 were twelve alpine village sites were excavated about 460 km squared in the Southern White Mountains. Table 1 he depicts the distribution of alpine village lots by phase and archeological context. Table 2 examines the radiocarbon dates for White Mountain phases. Table 3 shows the distribution White Mountain town markers by location and context, while table 4 shows the numbers for radiocarbon dates for white mountain houses. The two final tables 5 and 6 show the distribution of selected artifact categories at White Mountain alpine village, and the distribution of major artifact categories in White Mountain villages by the phase. His final analysis explains the Alpine villages, and the Great Basin Culture History. His final summary and implications disclose that an unprecedented change in aboriginal adaptation. Sometime after 600 AD and existing pattern he explains of hunting and short-term occupations was replaced by a pattern that featured intensive procurement of an extensive range of plants and animals by families or groups.
TED F. GONZALEZ Baylor University (Tina Thurston)
Bettinger, Robert L. Aboriginal Occupation at High Altitude: Alpine Villages in the White Mountains of Eastern California American Anthropologist June, 1991 Vol.93(3): 656-.
The main concern in this article by Robert Bettinger is the study of aboriginal occupation at high altitudes, focusing especially those living in the White mountains of California. He supports his argument through the use of comparisons between the fields of ethnography and the study of prehistory as well as the analysis and comparison of chipped stone tools of different strata and geographic location. In his introduction he recognizes the “paradigm” between ethnography and prehistory; we can think that studying a society today will tell us how people lived in the past, but this is not always the case. Another point is how we can’t use ethnography or historical documentation independently to illustrate a point as effectively as if we use both together. Bettinger also looks at the motivation behind the change of occupation that occurred during this time period, and the factors that might have affected them, such as: climatic changes, exploitation of new resources, and or the growth of population.
Bettinger argues that alpine villages bear witness to something that is wrong with traditional assumptions about human ecology. These villages are not like most villages in the region, yet the people seem to be living normal lives. He continues to support his argument by comparing alpine villages to villages of the Great Bear River basin. He notes that archeological sites, contrary to popular belief at that time, are numerous in climatic areas thought previously to be only summer hunting grounds. Furthermore Bettinger finds these sites to be large, diverse in both plant and animal procurement, and having tool-processing techniques much like the sites found in the river basin. Bettinger interprets this information to mean that these high altitude dwellings were not just seasonal hunting sites, but year round dwellings. Having established that these sites were permanent, he then hypothesizes about the factors that encouraged these people to move to these high elevation dwellings. One hypothesis concerns some climatic change.In studying the geological record Bettinger finds there was a change in climate, but not enough of a change to warrant a migration. The other hypothesis concerns changes in the exploitation of resources in the river basin that forced the people to move to a higher elevation and adapt to this new environment. This is the conclusion Bettinger favors. Due to population growth these people diversified and expanded to fill these different niches and therefore bringing a hunting and agricultural balance back to both areas.
Bettinger used both ethnographic information of cultures living at these altitudes as well as prehistoric archeological data, namely chipped stone tools, to compare the lifestyles of the alpine and the river basin dwellers.
CLARITY – 4
PATRICK DIENER University of North Carolina At Charlotte (Gregory Starrett)
Briody, Elizabeth K. and Marietta L. Baba. Explaining Differences in Repatriation Experiences: The Discovery of Coupled and Decoupled Systems. American Anthropologist June, 1991 Vol.93 (2):322-341.
Briody and Baba did a four year overseas study under the assignment of General Motors Corporation (GM) to examine the differences in repatriation. Repatriation is to return to your country of birth. GM recruits International Service Personnel (ISP’s) to help address issues of our growing global economic system. The ISP’s are to provide mechanical and technical support overseas in order to insure the maintenance and expansion of these projects. However, when these individuals return home, many face difficult changes. Many employees face “reverse culture shock” which includes loss of social status at work and home, as well as many other things. Once they return home, they realize how much they had adjusted to the place they were assigned. The corporations also suffer problems concerning the integration of these individuals back into the company and what to do with their newly acquired knowledge. Briody and Baba state that the severeness of the repatriation experience depends on the use of a coupled or decoupled system by GM. Coupled systems have direct connections between their domestic and overseas campaigns and seem to have a more positive effect on the repatriation experience. Decoupled systems have none and are analogous with fatalistic repatriation experiences. These systems not only result in positive and negative repatriation experiences, but also may affect the employees self esteem and career path, which indirectly effects the corporation and it’s success.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
CHEYENNE MCDOWELL: Baylor University (Tina Thurston)
Briody, Elizabeth K. and Marietta L. Baba. Explaining Differences in Repatriation Experiences: The Discovery of Coupled and Decoupled Systems. American Anthropologist. 1991. Vol. 93 No. 2:322-
This article offers hypotheses regarding repatriation issues surrounding General Motor’s employees after returning home from an international work assignment. Their data consists of interviews with fifteen GM employees who had recently returned from an international location and their families.
In an attempt to fully understand the problems General Motor’s employees face when returning home, the author’s first investigated their situations before leaving for their international job assignments. As a general rule most of the employees chosen as candidates by GM were those who were “at a plateau” in their current domestic assignment. They were considered expendable and quickly replaced once they were out of the country. This expendability left no place for them once it was time to come home.
Another added obstacle for the returning employee was the issue of immediate supervisor. Before 1975 GM had specific personnel who handled repatriation of employees. Those jobs were eliminated and the burden of taking care of the recently returned employee fell to the person who had been the immediate supervisor at the time of placement. Often these supervisors were too busy to make proper provisions for returning employees. Of the fifteen employees who participated in overseas assignments five of them came home to no job. They complained their repatriation was not well planned, they had to resort to job of a lower status than the one’s they left to go overseas, and they did not use what they had learned from international work in their current positions. They felt their international placements were useless and often a career setback. The remaining ten employees reported they were satisfied with their returning positions at GM.
The researchers found some clues as to why some of the employees had good experiences while others did not. If an employee had a more specialized position within GM it was less likely that they had been replaced or that the job had been eliminated. Also the size and importance of the overseas assignment factored in to repatriation. If the employee was participating in something groundbreaking, he was more valuable to GM. Other issues like length of stay, similarity in job content, year of return and development of the international country were also determinants in returning. There was one final factor the author’s found most important. That was the type of contact between the domestic unit at GM and the international unit. If the assignment involved a coupled system (when the domestic unit is integrated with the international unit) the employee was less likely to be forgotten about and more planning went in to his return. This is unlike a decoupled system where the domestic unit is separate from the international. This means the employee does not have as much contact with their domestic partners and are more likely to be overlooked until the last minute.
BONNIE STROUPE University of North Carolina-Charlotte (Greg Starrett)
Cronk, Lee. Wealth, Status, and Reproductive Success among the Mukogodo of Kenya.American Anthropologist June, 1991 Volume 93 (2) 345-360
Lee Cronk analyzes the hypothesis that culturally defined values and goals are means of heightening reproductive success. Cronk tested this hypothesis on a small group of Maa-speaking pastoralists in Kenya called the Mukogodo. He explores many possible correlations to this hypothesis. Some possible mechanisms in this hypothesis include age, wage employment, education, access to medical care, productivity of children and wives, bridewealth attracted by daughters, wives’ reproductive success, age at first marriage, accumulation of livestock, and polygyny. Cronk found that among the Mukogodo, a man’s prestige depended largely on the size of his livestock herd. Livestock herds are important for economic value, bridewealth payments, livestock sharing and lending, and rituals. Therefore, livestock can provide wealth and status. Wealth and status provide reproductive success. Age, education, wage employment, access to health care, productivity of children and wives, and bridewealth attracted by daughters would seemingly all have a high correlation to reproductive success, but in the Mukogodo community this is not true. The Mukogodo culture is very different than Western culture. These factors correlate differently in Kenya among the Mukogodo. Age at first marriage does correlate with reproductive success though. Depending on when a man marries, he may have a smaller or greater accumulation of livestock and therefore more or fewer wives and children. Polygyny also correlates with reproductive success. As a result of the Mukogodo’s poverty level and low status, they are able to acquire fewer wives than their neighbors. The relationship of these groups of correlations of values in Mukogodo society prove that they are circular means of reproductive success.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
CHEYENNE MCDOWELL: Baylor University (Tina Thurston)
Cronk, Lee. Wealth, Status, and Reproductive Success among the Mukogodo of Kenya.American Anthropologist 1991 Vol. 93 (2): 345-360
In 1979 William Irons hypothesized that there was a correlation between wealth and reproductive success in human societies. Cronk investigates the Mukogodo of Kenya looking to answer this question. He further looks for a correlation between not only wealth and reproduction but status and polygyny as well. The author analyzes numerous details about the people such as the age, education, employment, health care, productivity, and more to support his argument.
The Mukogodo are Maa speaking pastoralists in northern Kenya. Originally the Mukogodo were hunter and gatherers but they adopted the pastoral way of life after contact with the Maa peoples. The Mukogodo are one of the poorest of the Maa peoples. The relative lack of wealth among the Mukogodo make them an ideal case study because it is much easier to see a correlation between wealth and reproduction when there are only a few wealthy tribesman.
Cronk gathered his data between 1985 and 1987 with his coworker Beth Leech. They participated in fieldwork among 800 of the Mukogodo. One of the first things to understand is what is considered wealth in pastoral society. Cattle are the most valued due to their long life and high yield. Smaller stocks such as goats are more common due to their rapid breeding and lower value. The wealthiest usually have large herds of a variety of livestock. Young men in these societies usually do not begin to acquire wealth until they are married and housed on their own.
In his analysis Cronk examines the data he collected and either rejects it or considers it to be a possible cause for reproductive success. Age was not considered to be a factor. Education showed no correlation either. In this situation education cannot increase the size of a herd, and the Mukogodo do not value education because of its lack of practical uses. Some Mukogodo contract their labor in cities or on farms. Laborers only do so as a last resort or when they do not have any livestock. This actually causes a slight negative correlation because the Mukogodo value livestock, not money. The Mukogodo receive their health care at a free or extremely discounted rate. Since everyone can have health care to some extent wealth can have no effect on reproduction.
If these factors cannot account for reproductive success, is it that reproductive success is the factor for wealth? A man with a larger family can tend to larger herds. Bridewealth is practiced among the Mukogodo, a man with many daughters could become very wealthy this way. Cronk further examines the productivity of wives and children, Bridewealth, effects of livestock, reproductive success, age at first marriage, and polygyny before coming to his conclusion. Yes wealth and reproductive success do correlate among the Mukogodo, and polygyny is the cause of this correlation. In the Mukogodo society reproductive success is a direct factor in the wealth acquired by an individual.
WERNER, DAMIAN M UNC Charlotte (Gregory Starrett).
Finney, Ben. Myth, Experiment, and the Reinvention of Polynesian Voyaging. American Anthropologist September. 1991 Vol. 93 (2): 383-401
Many tales of Polynesian ancestry are based on voyaging and migrating to surrounding islands. They give stories of how the great priests and chiefs sailed back and forth between Kahiki and Hawai’i. Recent reconstructions of such voyages and location of these islands has brought new light to the subject. These islands now are composed of Tahiti and other islands in the surrounding areas and are in their social grouping. This research deals with the reinvention of the Polynesian voyaging canoe and ways of navigation without instrumentation. They wanted to test early navigation techniques as well as boat construction.
Percy Smith, David Simmons, and Margaret Orbell have argued about the historical sequence of voyaging and discovery, placing different emphasis on the importance and reliability of myth. Due to the time period and lack of technology such voyaging feats seem to be mythical. Andrew Sharpe purposed that the settlement of these islands was “accidental” due to the inferiority of the ships.
Experimental archaeology is an important means of studying and recreating times past. In 1975 a large double-hull voyaging canoe was constructed. This was used to make trips between Hawai’i and Tahiti with no instrument navigation. The canoe sailed 24,000 nautical miles through Polynesian seas making landfall at various locations. Tahiti and Hawai’i are well aligned for round-trip voyaging due to wind and current zones. Time of year, trade winds, and shifting doldrums regions could all make the journey more complicated. These voyages between these Polynesian centers is very possible but over the 2,000 years of Polynesian expansion there could easily have been half-million lost at sea. These experiments cannot confirm any historical details, but demonstrate the capabilities of Polynesian voyaging. Myth can be important in understanding and keeping traditions alive along with other scientific information.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
JOHN SHEEHAN University of North Carolina Charlotte (Gregory Starrett)
Finney, Ben. Myth, Experiment and the Reinvention of Polynesian Voyaging. American Anthropologist. June 1991 Vol 93(2) : 383-404
The origin of the Maori people of New Zealand lays its foundations in the migration and voyaging stories of their ancestors. The great chiefs of Maori lore sailed between the islands of Hawaiki and Kahiki, whose contemporary names would be Aotearoa and Hawai’i. The Maori’s claimed Hawaiki, a “land to the east” to be their place of origin. S. Percy Smith collected these stories and found many possible places, each being cognates of Hawaiki. Smith’s knowledge of Maori origin was nationally accepted in New Zealand. Criticism came, however, beginning in 1956, with the strongest blow to his credibility coming in 1976, when David Simmon deconstructed Smith’s myths and found them to be an amalgamation of numerous tales. Simmons functionally examined the myths, though never completely. There is strong evidence for functional purposes for the myths. In the 1980s, Margaret Orbell would examine the structure of the Maori myths, focusing on their mythical aspects. She concluded the island of Hawaiki to be a paradisial land, akin to the Garden of Eden.
Kahiki, another island in Polynesian origin stories, was a stopping place for Polynesian ancestors. Most voyaging traditions circled around trips between Hawaiki and Kahiki. Hawaiian myths include the island in their tales. Historical analyses of the stories date the settlement of the island to the 5th century AD, and the founding of a Hawaiian culture on the island of Oahu. The search for the true location of Kahiki involves the location of the origin of Pa’ao, a powerful priest. Tahiti or the Society Islands, became possible options. The subsequent research and discoveries helped to explain the evolution of Hawaiian society. The critics to the research disregard the Tahitian link, casting doubts that canoes ever made the actual journeys between the islands. Currently, there is a more mythical approach to the voyaging stories.
Experimental voyaging done my Finney and colleagues further support the mythical approach to the stories, as maritime excursions proved difficult.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
STACEY CHUN Baylor University (Tina Thurston)
Finney, Ben. Myth, Experiment, and the Reinvention Polynesian Voyaging. American Anthropologist 1991 Vol. 93 (2) : 383-401
Maori ancestral history lies heavily upon stories of epic voyages to and from Hawaiki (Hawaii) and Kahiki (Aotearoa). Whether or not these stories are fact or fiction has yet to be determined. The Maori claim to originate from Hawaiki. But others seem to differ, each with their own reasoning and perception. In 1976, David Simmons broke down what was called “The Great New Zealand Myth” and was able to show that it was cut and pasted together, by the man who constructed it, S. Perry Smith through tribal voyaging traditions, generations of genealogies, and other dubious profound knowledge. In 1985, Margaret Orbell reasoned that Hawaiki is not an actual island, but a mythical, paradisial land similar to the Garden of Eden of Christian beliefs. Leading that these “epic voyages” were all in their head. One who doubts that there is any historical basis to these myth is Andrew Sharp, projecting his theory of accidental settlement of Polynesia by random drifts and exile voyages. Sharp, claiming these intentional vast voyages is impossible due to technological inferiority. The Polynesian canoes were not physically built to endure long voyages and navigation methods were obsolete towards what was advance during that time.
In 1975, a replica of a Polynesian canoe was made in order to reenact one of voyages to see if all was possible. Along with the canoe, navigation techniques were also replicated during that time frame to make it as accurate as possible. This experiment proved it was very much possible for one to voyage to Tahiti and back. As a result of this reenactment, it evolved into more than just receiving an answer, but presenting more important experimental data and perhaps bringing an understanding far deeper than through analytical approaches.
DAT TRAN San Diego Mesa College (Denise Couch)
Fleuret, Patrick and Anne Fleuret. Social Organization, Resource Management, and Child Nutrition in the Taita Hills, Kenya. American Anthropologist. March 1991 Vol. 93 (1): 91-114,
The purpose of this article is to examine relationships between child nutrition and agricultural resource management among rural Kenyan households. Child nutrition indicates production and effectiveness of households and this article creates a model focusing on ecological parameters, household resources, production strategies, and nutritional outcomes with various variable being used for each of the parameters. Furthermore access to land, labor and other resources is taken into account and showed that it influenced the allocation of these set constraints on production strategies which in turn affected nutritional outcomes. This article also looks at food policy issues. Do to the ineffectiveness of state marketing organizations it is difficult for most households to have protection against failure. An importance is placed on food policy decision making and shows that basing judgments on household income alone is not an efficient way to understand the effects that such policies may have on households with different circumstances. Anthropology must look at whole systems, since that is characteristic of its nature; however, by just looking at one community the child nutrition systems may be misleading and research must be done on a plethora of communities before correct comparative analysis can be formed.
CLARITY RATING: 2
ALLISON NEWTON Baylor University (Tina Thurston)
Fleuret, Patrick and Anne Flueret. Social Organization, Resource Management, and Child Nutrition in the Taita Hills, Kenya. American Anthropologist. March, 1991. Vol. 93 (1): Pages 91-114
The purpose of this article is to look at the relationships between child nutrition and agricultural resource management in rural Kenyan households. This article strengthens the debate on the empirical and conceptual basis for food policy in Africa. It presents a longitudinal and comparative study of agricultural resource management and nutritional implications in Taita, Kenya. This article focuses on three productive zones in Taita. Iparenyi is located in the uplands on fertile land. Iparenyi is the most productive of the three productive zones. Msidunyi is a long settled area with a high population density, and soil exhaustion. Bondeni is a Plains community, which is occupied by people who cannot find adequate cultivable land in the hills.
Access to land influences resource access and has implications for child nutrition. Men try to maintain several plots of lands, many which are owned, and sometimes affinal relations borrow or rent out land. Land transactions are most common in Iparenyi. Men and women are committed to agriculture as a principal livelihood. Crop production is diverse and stable. Children from households with both parents benefit more then children from other households.
Hired labor is used by about twice as many households in Iparenyi and Bondeni as in Msidunyi. Many jointly managed households will sell labor because they have little land, while many unmarried women will sell labor because they either have inadequate cash income or little land. Children from households where women are hired out have a lower height for age z-score than children from families where men are hired out. It is more beneficial for the child if neither parent is hired out.
There are also a number of production strategies that affect the nutrition of children. The ratio to height is usually negative for households who grow one kind of crop versus families that can grow a number of different crops, which is more positive than negative. Also the location of the plots have a factor in child nutrition. Children from households with badly located plots have a height for age nearly a full standard deviation lower than children from households with better plots.
Child nutrition is a sensitive subject because of the moral, economic and physiological meaning of child malnutrition. The author notes that the research would have been misleading had it not been replicated and confirmed in the seven years of research. Also, longitudinal analysis helps to separate accurate data from data that is incidental. The author says that systematic analysis like this strengthens the foundations of anthropology as a science.
NIKIA REAVES, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, (Dr. Starrett)
Goodenough, Ward H. Premarital Freedom on Truk: Theory and Practice American Anthropologist June, 1991 Vol.93(3): 469-476.
In this article Ward Goodenough studied the tradition of premarital sexual intercourse, focusing on main points such as premarital roles, marital roles, and gender roles in different stages in life. The main concerns of this article are the study of the guidelines that the Trukese follow so that this practice never gets out of hand, and the social response to these guidelines.
Gender definitions among the people of Truk are much like those of the “American teen”. Males are obsessed with sex and sexual intercourse, and females take sex as an expected part of life. The main argument stated by Goodenough is: even with this sexual freedom there is modesty about intercourse and other sexual activities. Instructional teachings on sexual matters are not done by parents, but by peers, and by experimenting. In this matrilineal society males before marriage are encouraged to participate in intercourse with other females of the tribe, but not related females, or ones of other tribes. Females are taught much the same thing. All males are free game except related males and those of different tribes. After marriage both men and women are expected to become faithful to their spouse. This is in contrast to the polygamous lifestyle lived by both male and female before marriage.
Information for this article was provided both by information collected on a field study in Micronesia, and from fieldwork notes by Margaret Mead from her study of the Samoans. During Goodenough’s fieldwork he learned about the gender roles both before marriage and after marriage, and the reasons for the sexual practices occurring in this culture. The focus of Truk sexual intercourse is mutual pleasure. If the man can’t satisfy the women, he will be chastised and he will find it harder to find a mate after this. Because of this masturbation is a popular ritual among the young men of the culture. On the other hand the male, in premarital intercourse, is trying to find a suitable mate so that there is no extramarital affair during the course of the relationship. Goodenough compares and contrasts this culture with the Samoan culture where many of the same processes were found.
PATRICK DIENER University of North Carolina At Charlotte (Gregory Starrett)
Hendon, Julia A. Status and Power in Classic Maya Society: An Archeological Study.American Anthropologists December 1991 Vol.93(4):894-913.
This article investigates the social structures that existed in ancient lowland Mayan areas and attempts to relate the social order with architecture, village patterns, and burial techniques. Hendon approaches the study by identifying the main sources of energy within the culture and discussing how that power is distributed throughout the community amongst elites and commoners. She particularly focuses on the influence of the elite class and how their status affects the entire community’s ability to function as a viable state. This elite class is specified not at the ruling royal family, but those who held high administrative positions and were still separate from the working class. Her study takes place in the Copan Valley during the Late to Terminal Classic period where she explores specific patterns found in the layout of the villages that correspond to the location of the elite royal residences and civic centers. Hendon divides her analysis into two main branches where she first studies detailed behavior and activities to see how they relate to the building patterns which allow her to make deductions about consumption, production, and ritualistic behavior. She chooses five main activities to base her study: food preparation and cooking, food serving and consumption, ritual observances, manufacturing and production, and storage. These everyday activities produced adequate artifacts and acted as a measuring stick for which all types of people could be measured against. The second part of her analysis concentrates on the residential patterns of the village and the distinct differences of elite areas with prestige items compared to those with relatively no apparent privileged status. Her foundation for this direction of study comes from four years of excavation in the Copan Valley, which yielded information that helped her to formulate theories about Mayan social structure and power relations.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
ABBY WEINSTEIN Baylor University (Tina Thurston)
Hendon, Julia A. Status and Power in Classic Maya Society: An Archaeological Study.American Anthropologist 1991 Vol.93 No.3: 894-915.
Power and social status in the Classic Maya society was determined by the amount of resources controlled or available to in order to have the most incredible and magnificent architecture. The more elaborate and decorative the rooms, patios, burial sites, and actual appearance of the structures, socially meant that you had privileged connections in obtaining resources. The elite live in a central location, in larger structures with striking decorations, ornaments, elaborate patios, and adorned burials discovered by archaeologists. The lower social class possessed valuable objects that had been discovered through archaeology, such as obsidian which showed that the upper and lower social classes shared accesses to resources.
Ancillary Structure buildings were used for food storage and preparation, and Residential Structures were used for ritual observation sleeping. The social stratification can be seen in the physical artifacts that were recovered. Almost every residential area that was excavated had obsidian tools, but the larger structures contained foreign objects such as jade, turtle and stingray bones, and decorations. The excavation site in the Copan Valley contained eight residences and one temple that had sculptures for decorations. The actual material and quality used in building the living space showed social status. More durable building material, such as stones and mortar, showed that one had better access to good resources. Whereas, lesser structures that were made with perishable materials meant that someone did not have quality resources and, therefore, were at a lower social level.
Dominant buildings, for the upper class, are in central locations and have decorations and/or vaulted roofs. The lower class has straight roofs without decorations. The elite burial vaults were made of stone and had many foreign ornaments. The lower class had dirt-filled graves with one or two objects inside. The distribution and preservation of the material objects found on patios reflects the social connections in Classic Maya life. Patios with elaborate decor are small in number, but have decorative burial vaults and ornaments. The patios connect residences, but the decent line determines the location of living. Many lower class residences live in the inner part of the city. Most of the larger structures that have superior patios are located in a central place, and have huge burial sites, which means they are associated with a long lineage and higher status. But, there are some larger structures that are outside the main city which could mean that the elite were trying to expand. Also, foreign goods are found in lower residences which could mean that the elite were trying to make living equal for everyone. This could explain how people got land outside of the city.
KRISTIN HISSONG The University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Gregory Starrett)
Hole, Frank McCorriston, Joy. The Ecology of Seasonal Stress and the Origins of Agriculture in the Near East. American Anthropologist March, 1991 Vol.93(1):46-60.
The main purpose of this article is to find out the origins of agriculture, and if they lie in the Near East. The main location of plant domestication is seen in the Southern Levant, around the lakes in the Jordan Valley. The time this event was said to occur was in the end of the Natufian cultural period, about 10,000 years ago. Prehistorians agree there had to be opportunity, technology, social organization, and need before people would alter the way they behave in acquiring food. Some evidence shows all these conditions were present in the Jordan River basin during the early Holocene. Once agriculture was established in the Jordan Valley, it spread across the arc of the Fertile Crescent as the local climate, culture, and environment allowed.
By the beginning of the Holocene, vegetation in the Near East and other regions responded to the climate changes. Once these wild plant species are seen in a region, cultural circumstance to domestication includes ways to gather and process plant foods in great quantity, techniques to store the food, and social mechanisms to ensure the distribution and their own safety. The cultural means of adaptation came from increased seasonal dietary stress as the dry season was extended, which encouraged the storage of foods and sedentism.
The Natufian has been seen as the closest representation of an “incipient agricultural” economy. Sites recognized as Natufian are seen almost exclusively in what is today known as Mediterranean vegetation zone. Here these sites are located near permanent water sources and the resources of the forest and steppe. There is evidence that shows a greater degree of sedentism in the Natufian: Permanent architecture, burials, dietary evidence, and cooperative hunting. The greater use of plants is seen by decreased mobility of some groups and increase in grinding tools and storage areas. At some point, the Levantine agriculturalists used techniques of herding from groups in the Zagros and North Mesopotamia. At the end of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, around 8000 b.p., goats and sheep were used into the farming economy. Once livestock was added to plant agriculture, the potential for full sedentism was in place.
While climate changes, together with topography, provided an initial opportunity for colonizing species, these opportunities were enhanced by human activities, such as trampling near water sources, firing of underbrush, and cutting woody vegetation for fuel. Because of a pattern of climatic and vegetational recovery in the Near East, the Southern Levant is the most likely area for the first growth of annual cereals at the end of the Pleistocene. With the temporal and geographical merging of critical stages in land forms, vegetation types, culture, climate, and fauna, domestication of plants was possible for the first time. Cultural preconditions in the Levant, (sedentism, grinding, social organization), gave insight to where domestication occurred.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
JENNIFER LEDFORD University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Gregory Starrett)
Hole, Frank McCorriston, Joy. The Ecology of Seasonal Stress and the Origins of Agriculture in the Near East. American Anthropologist March, 1991 Vol.93(1):46 60.
The major objective of this article is to determine the origins of agriculture, and if they lie in the Near East. In order for methods of acquiring food to change Prehistorians agree that technology, social organization, opportunity, and need, would have to have been present. Evidence shows all these conditions were current in Southern Levant, around the lakes in the Jordan Valley. The time this event was said to take place was about 10,000 years ago, the end of the Natufian cultural period. Once agriculture was established in Jordan Valley, it stretch across the Fertile Crescent as the culture and environment allowed.
Climate changes, by the beginning of Holocene, began to increase vegetation production in the Near East and other regions. Once wild plant species are seen in an area, cultural circumstance to domesticate these plant foods include ways to gather and process in great quantity, methods to store the food, and social instruments to ensure the division and their own safety. As the dry season was extended, increased seasonal dietary stress encouraged the storage of foods.
The Natufian is the closest demonstration of an “incipient agricultural” economy. Natufian are almost exclusive in what is today known as Mediterranean vegetation zone. These sites are near permanent water sources and the resources of the woodland and grassland. There is evidence that indicates a greater degree of sedentism in the Natufian: Burials, permanent architectural structures, and cooperative hunting. Decreased mobility of some groups and increase of storage areas and grinding tools, show greater use of plants. For a period of time Levantine agriculturalists used herding techniques from groups in the Zagros and North Mesopotamia. When livestock was combined with plant agriculture, there was potential for full sedentism.
Human activities, such as trampling near water sources, firing of underbrush, and cutting woody vegetation for fuel, enhanced opportunities for colonizing species. The Southern Levant is most likely the area for the first growth of annual cereals at the end of the Pleistocene, due to patterns of climatic and vegetation recovery in the Near East. For the first time the domestication of plants was possible because of the merging of critical stages in landforms, culture, climate, fauna, and vegetation types. Cultural preconditions in the Levant, (sedentism, grinding, social organization), gave insight to where domestication first occurred.
MARISSA TREADWELL San Diego Mesa College (Denise Couch)
Hole, Frank McCorriston, Joy. The Ecology of Seasonal Stress and the Origins of Agriculture in the Near East. American Anthropologists March, 1991 Vol. 93(1):46-60.
This article was about finding where agriculture originated. It’s main concern was to see if it began in the Near East. About ten thousand years ago, during the Natufian cultural period, plant domestication was best known around the lakes within the Jordan Valley. With much evidence, Prehistorians were made to believe that there was a lot of opportunity, social organization, technology, and need before people altered the way they behaved in acquiring food. Once agriculture was established in the Jordan Valley, it expanded across the arc of the Fertile Crescent.
Vegetation in the Near East and in many other regions, began due to the weather changes at the beginning of the Holocene. Once these wild plants were seen in a particular region, many measures were taken to carefully gather and process plant foods in immense quantities due to it being so rare. When the dry season rolled around for a longer period of time expected, it increased the seasonal dietary stress, which was a great factor in helping the storage of foods and sedentism.
The closest to be represented as the “incipient agricultural” economy was the Natufian. You will only find Natufian in what is now known as the Mediterranean vegetation zone. Many sites of this zone are located near many permanent water sources and the resources of the forest. Evidence shows that there is an even greater degree of sedentism in the Natufian. Some of the evidence that is the permanent architecture, burials, cooperative hunting, and dietary evidence. Plants were also used for another use, which is decreasing mobility of some groups. They were also a great help in increasing grinding tools and storage areas.
Eventually the Levantine agriculturists used various techniques of herding from groups in the Zagros and farming economy. Once livestock was added to plant agriculture, the possibility for full sedentism was ready. As the weather changed, opportunities for colonizing plants increased. These opportunities were improved by human activities, such as trampling near water sources, firing of underbrush, and cutting woody vegetation for fuel. Surpassingly, a pattern of climatic and vegetation recovery happened in the Near East. By that time, the Southern Levant became the most likely area for growth of annual cereals. Finally, once the climate started changing once more, vegetation types, culture and fauna were made possible for the first time. By observing the former cultural conditions in the Levant, it definitely gave clear understanding to where domestication originated.
MELANIE ESPERON San Diego Mesa College (Denise Couch)
McCorriston, Joy, Hole, Frank. Ecology of Seasonal Stress and the Origins of Agriculture in the Near East. American Anthropologist. March 1991. Vol 93(1):46-
Studies on the origin of agriculture in the Jordan Valley and the Southern Levant Region held four basic remaining questions on the origin of agriculture: the rate of change, if it occurred earlier than previously documented, if agriculture occurred across the Fertile Crescent or if occurred in other regions. The origins of Agriculture are believed to have begun at eth end of the Natufian period, some 10,000 years ago. The end of the Natufian period met all the prerequisites for the establishment of an agricultural lifestyle: opportunity, technology, social organization and the need.
Six prerequisites were met in the Levant region for the establishment of a sedentary lifestyle: an abundance of high quality foods that were storable, severe seasonal availability, the people could not override the seasons, the territory can be modified by humans, nonfood commodities could be stockpiled the botanical predisposition was that there be an availability of food. The dry season also began to lengthen in the region. In increasing aridity caused lakes to dry and resulted in a localization of resources.
Socially, the Natufians began to form more complex societies. The more complex sedentary communities replaced the hunter-gather societies. Various reasons for the increase in a less nomadic lifestyle included the increasing seasonality, and the territorial security that came with an established permanent location. Architecture also was built partially underground and cemeteries came into use. The more complex society also was shown in the dietary evidence, in which there was more cooperative hunting, an organization of the hunt, a distribution of the harvest and the harvesting of cereals.
Climatic seasonality also influenced the flora and fauna of the Levant region. There was a greater seasonality after the last glacial period, some 18, 000 years ago. There was also an increasing temperature contrast between the winter and summer months, there was a shift to a more Mediterranean climate. An increase in erosion, as well as an high degree of diversity were results of the rapid ecological changes that occurred.
STACEY CHUN Baylor University (Tina Thurston)
Hollos, Marida. Migration, Education, and the Status of Women in Southern Nigeria. American Anthropologist December, 1991 Vol. 93(4):852-868
Marida Hollos’ article attempts to give evidence of how education and migration affect the role and status of women in Southern Nigeria. Hollos examines the changes of status of educated and uneducated women who migrate to urban centers and compares them to women who maintain residence in rural areas. The focus of the research was conducted among Ijo women, a small ethnic group in the Bendal state. The areas of research were the rural community of Amakiri (a pseudonym) and the urban community of Benin. Hollos concludes through her ethnographic data that the roles of women in rural areas possess less political power than men. This power refers to the power utilized in the public sector. In this context, men are responsible for all the decisions regarding the duties of the community, resource allocation, and property inheritance management. However, in these households, the women possess great private sector autonomy. The private sector refers to the domestic environment and in their households women are self-supporting. They are the major source of support for the family unit. Through the labor of the wife, the function of the domestic unit is sustained. These women provide food and clothing for the family, independent from the assistance of her husband. This role of women in rural areas reflects the roles of uneducated women in urban centers. These women also do not possess much political recognition. They do not maintain any public status in their home communities or the urban centers they migrated to. However, their domestic status is as high as the women in the rural communities. They are able to contribute financial resource management and aid the household economy independently from their husbands. In contrast, educated women who live in urban centers and maintain wage labor, lose the significance of the household unit as being a source of power. These women are not able to practice the semi-autonomous lifestyle. The women in these situations become more dependent on their husbands when making choices regarding the household unit. As a consequence to their upgraded public sector livelihood, their private sector maintenance decreases.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
PANTALEON YZAGUIRRE Baylor University (Tina Thurston)
Hollos, Marida. Migration, Education, and the Status of Women in Southern Nigeria.American Anthropologist December, 1991 Vol.93(4):852-867.
Hollos is examining the changes in status of woman migrants in Nigerian urban centers. All of the women studied are members of the Ijo, a Nigerian ethnic group, and most are descendants or former residents of the town of Amakiri. Two questions have emerged. First, has moving into cities improved or made worse the condition of women in Africa, and second, has it freed them for educational opportunity?
With urban migration women found a sense of freedom separate from men, greater financial power, and a higher standard of living. Disadvantages have been the unequal educational and employment opportunities. Women also lose contact with kin. As a result of unequal employment, urban women are often seen working in the informal sector as traders, brewers, or prostitutes. Urban marriages are unstable and often end in divorce. Where the marriage does not end in divorce, there is the issue of “outside wives”.
Education has had an effect on the transition of women’s attitudes from traditional to modern. Education gives women the opportunity to acquire marketable skills and access to information. Educated women often have access to a better-quality husband. The disadvantages of education don’t concern the question of its value and desirability for women, but rather, whether it has fulfilled its promise. Women in Africa with education equal to males find it difficult to enter a similar occupation. They usually end up with lower-paying jobs, like teaching and clerical positions. Also, educated women are considered to be unmarriageable, because males are reluctant to marry someone who could have a higher education than them.
Migration of young single women in search of higher education has been a new development and is the result of Nigeria’s growing commitment to universal primary education. Young women receiving secondary schooling are competing with men in their rural communities to find jobs. They find that there are no jobs locally, so they go into towns and search for employment, and maybe someone to marry. The urban, educated woman seems to have advantages over the urban non-educated women, simply by her higher public status. While the education levels of these women are low, they have considerable domestic autonomy. These women are largely self-supporting, and a major source of support for their children.
The study of Ijo families shows that urban living does not lead to the development of a Western type of nuclear family, but it does lead to certain conditions within this environment. Important among these are employment in the formal sector by both husbands and wives. This leads to high income, which helps to eliminate dependence on kin networks. Among families that migrate to urban areas without higher education or professional training, family structure remains the same as within the rural community. Whether the nuclear family leads to a woman’s loss of autonomy is not easy to determine. Loss of autonomy is combined with the domestic domain losing its function as a unit of production, the consequence being that it no longer serves as a basis of power for women. Because of this, wives in nuclear family have become economically dependent on their husbands.
While education may free a woman from the hard and tedious work of field labor, and can lead to improvement in public status, women’s perception of their private and domestic status reveals the opposite. Women end up with an increase of submission to their husbands, and a decline in their autonomy and independence.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
JENNIFER LEDFORD University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Gregory Starrett)
Jochim, Michael A. Archaeology as a Long Term Ethnography. American Anthropologist. June, 1991. Vol. 93(2): 308-321.
Jochim sets out to interpret the behavioral aspects of prehistoric hunter-gatherers. But he cites several biases in assumptions made about said cultures, the most noticeable being the lack of data on settlements of areas such as floodplains. Another is the shift in behavior from year to year. Behavior variability is noted by several anthropologists to be essential to understanding adaptation and cultural evolution. Jochim’s study focuses on year-to-year variability, caused by elements such as environmental fluctuations and human-resource interactions. However, environmental variability is though to be one of the most important factors in many behavioral studies. It is therefore regrettable that this element is so hard to monitor in prehistory. So instead, the focus turns to behavior patterns and the archaeological record to determine variability.
Typologies have been created to account for the variability and, though done by different researchers, generally lump hunter-gatherers into the same two groups, but for different reasons, and cite environmental stress a prime mover for diversity.
The idea of a round season discounts the inclusion of specific families of groups. While there may be a main winter settlement, it is not necessarily the only base camp. Hunter-gatherers are not uniform and accounts must be made for variations within groups. Another factor is the variation of activity from year to year, season to season. Environmental fluctuations have a great deal of influence on activity and can cause deviation from one season to the next.
Temporal variation, the yearly changes in resources and spatial variation, the changes in location of said resources, can vary in each dimension, and can greatly effect adaptation. Therefore, Jochim suggests that there is no specific, uniform seasonal round, citing examples from around the globe, and that each group should have its own analysis in the archaeological record in order to reflect the differences in adaptation and cultural evolution.
In an example using Southern Germany during the Paleolithic and Mesolithic, Jochim emphasizes the importance of letting go of the idea of a seasonal round. Environmental fluctuations caused variations in the length and type of settlements in this region and illustrate his call for a long-term archaeological interpretation of individual hunter-gatherer societies in order to better understand the complexities of their oversimplified culture.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
ANDREA CLOUTIER Baylor University (Tina Thurston).
Jochim, Michael A. Archeology as Long-Term Ethnography. American Anthropologist June, 1991 Vol. 93 (2): 308-319.
In this article, Michael Jochim contends that complex patterns of association in the archaeological record are best analyzed through the lens of long-term ethnography. By acknowledging the link between behavioral variation and environmental characteristics, Jochim addresses the archaeological record from an ecological perspective. The implications for the archaeological record of settlement and subsistence patterns are discussed in detail, and evidence is cited from both the Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods of southwest Germany.
Jochim emphasizes the idea of the archaeological record as an aggregate and suggests that in order to recognize the distinctions between yearly patterns, behavioral and environmental variation must be studied. Behavioral variability may be broken down into two categories: simultaneous and sequential. Simultaneous variability addresses the issue of the potential of site differences within a season, and sequential variability concerns the variation of activities through the years. In turn, environmental variation is divided into two categories, temporal and spatial. Temporal variation refers to resource variation from year to year, and spatial variability involves differences in resource distribution. Problems to this approach include insufficient chronological accuracy to assess behavioral variation, as well as a lack of necessary tools, such as detailed dendrochronology reports, to evaluate environmental variation. Hunter-gatherer groups exhibit diverse behavior, but the manner in which the archaeological record is approached assumes that these groups, as well as prehistoric peoples, are homogeneous. Jochim’s perspective is an attempt to reconcile both behavioral and environmental variation with the incomplete archaeological record.
A significant portion of the article is devoted to identifying deficiencies that result from improperly analyzing the archaeological record, and idealized sites with different combinations of variability are used as examples. After exposing the superficial faults of short-term analysis of the archaeological record, Jochim offers the Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods of southwestern Germany as a forum for applying long-term ethnography to the archaeological record. Stressing variables that can be monitored throughout time and space, including size, location, season of occupation, degree of reoccupation, dietary diversity, degree of site modification, activity diversity, intensity of butchering and intensity of exchange, Jochim examines the Magdalenian (late Upper Paleolithic) period of southern Germany. Initial archaeological interpretation maintained that this culture sustained a larger, communal existence in open-air sites during the winter months, while the spring and summer seasons were spent as smaller and more dispersed groups in cave and rock shelter dwellings. Through the long-term ethnographical approach, Jochim refines these conclusions and demonstrates that both types of sites were occupied year round.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
MICHELE ROSNER University of North Carolina, Charlotte (Greg Starrett)
Kratz, Corinne, “Amusement and Absolution: Transforming Narratives during Confession and Social Debt.” American Anthropologist. Dec., 1991 Vol. 93 (4): 826-834.
In the article “Amusement and Absolution: Transforming Narratives during Confession of Social Debt,” Corinne A. Kratz provides an introduction to the confession of the Okiek people of Kenya. The Okiek use confession as a ritual right of passage and is done around the age of fourteen for both girls and boys. These confessions always require an intermediary; who then narrates the confession to an assembled crowd. To the western person this public narration would seem as a betrayal of trust. To the Okiek this is not the case. As the confession is narrated the listeners soon begin to find themselves guilty of the same sins. As a result of the public confession, social debt is transferred from the child to the adult.
Kratz provides a comparison and contrast of the Western and Okiek confession. Similar to the western Christian, the Okiek consider disobedience, disrespect and sexual promiscuity sinful. A notable difference is that the Catholic confesses frequently, while the Okiek boy or girl will confess only once in their life as a right of passage. Each time the Catholic confesses he or she remains inadequate and fearful of the loss of his or her salvation. Because the child will confess only once, his sense of guilt is momentary and quickly transferred to the adult. In addition, the Okiek confession differs from the Catholic confession, in that the Okiek confession is twice told. The child will purge himself or herself of sin to an intermediary. The intermediary does the retelling of the sin to a public crowd. The narration is told from a different point of view, and it is important that the intermediary embellishes the confession to give it a story- like- quality. The article takes an in-depth look of each of the sins mentioned above. Overall the article is easy to follow. The comparison between the Catholic and Okiek confession makes easy to understand because catholic confession is a concept people can relate to.
CLARITY RANK : 4
CLAUDIA P. GUZMAN Baylor University (Tina Thurston)
Kratz, Corinne A. Amusement and Absolution: Transforming Narratives during Confession of Social Debts. American Anthropologist December, 1991 Vol. 93 (4):826-851.
This article examines Okiek girls’ confession during initiation and contrasts religious confession of Western Catholic practice with that of the Okiek. Traditionally hunters and honey-gatherers, the Kalenjin-speaking Okiek also farm and herd in the highland forests of west central Kenya. This research focuses on the Kaplelach and Kipchornwonek Okiek of the Mau Escarpment in Narok District.
Boys and girls are initiated into adulthood around the age of 14 through a series of four single-sex ceremonies. The first ceremony is a public day-long sequence of ritual events followed by circumcision or excision the following dawn. The next two ceremonies are secret and performed in seclusion over a period of months. The final ceremony brings initiates out of seclusion and reintroduces them as young adults.
Pesenweek, the public confession of social debts, is the next to last component of the girls’ first ceremony and qualifies the initiate for the ritual climax of excision. Each girl is questioned in turn by an intermediary, a young man who describes what counts as a debt or pesenta, and admonishes the girls to tell all of their pesenweek, warning of the dangers of leaving out even one incident. Pesenweek confessions are personal narratives, the girl being questioned enumerates her pesenta, which are generally either minor squabbles with young women over the girl’s disobedience in shirking duties such as errands or babysitting, or with young men over the girl’s rebuffing sexual advances. The intermediary rephrases each pesenta refocusing emphasis on the implicated adult’s role in the incident, often embroidering the story or adding punch line endings to expose and defuse any ill feelings the involved adult continues to harbor. The pesenweek exposure of the initiate before the amused crowd serves as a milestone for the initiate: exonerating past sins, completing the separation from childhood life, and propelling her toward maturity and her new role as an adult in the community.
The details of Catholic confession are not a focus of this article; instead it is used as a counterpoint with which to examine Okiek pesenweek. Both traditions involve ritual transformation, coercive threat, personal narrative, and the ideas of sin, debt, and absolution. The differences in the two traditions can be summarized as Catholic confession being individual-oriented, while Okiek pesenweek is interaction-oriented. Catholic confession is performed by an individual in private, while Okiek pesenweek is performed by a group of individuals in public. Catholic confession emphasizes submissive acceptance of Church authority and ideas of individual imperfection and salvation, while pesenweek exposes the fragility of Okiek authority and underscores the individual’s position within the social fabric. Pesenweek is further analyzed in terms of the role that humor and its devices play in the ceremonies.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
DEA HOUSER University of North Carolina, Charlotte (Gregory Starrett)
Lounsbury, Floyd. Distinguished Lecture: Recent Work in the Decipherment of Palenque’s Hieroglyphic Inscriptions. American Anthropologist December 1991 Vol.93(4): 809-822.
In this article, Lounsbury focuses of the translation of one particular Mayan monument located in the Temple of the Inscriptions at Palenque. Many famous scholars such as Proskouriakoff, Berlin, and Knorozov have made headway in the decipherment of many Mayan texts as early as the 1950’s and 60’s. Their contrasting views and theories fueled further interest in the subject, which helped to make progress towards understanding the ancient Mayan manuscript. Lounsbury then goes on the give the translation and configuration of the temple inscriptions. He discovers that the three panels studied contain information about rulers in their chronological order, which is cross identified with another monument, the Temple of the Cross, that gives the exact date of the Mother Goddess who is the ancestor of all the Mayan people. The panels give extensive information regarding the dates of rulers at the time of accession as well as the time of death and the nature of the their physical condition. Succession often did not follow a pattern and was sporadic where lineage passed from father to daughter, or brother-to-brother or mother to son. The three panels also chronicle time periods known as katums, or 20-year division that were celebrated with elaborate festivals and whose ending were thought to correspond with astronomical phenomena. Lounsbury concludes that the Mayan texts were not limited recording dates or dynastic lines, but conveyed information about Mayan culture with many dimensions that are often hidden in the script. The study of hieroglyphic decipherment is very complicated with many aspects that form mysterious puzzles that must be solved. This study is not limited to phonetic or semantic structure, but encompasses the entire field of anthropology and uses information from many sources to discover the meaning behind the ancient texts.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
ABBY WEINSTEIN Baylor University (Tina Thurston)
Lounsbury, Floyd D. Distinguished Lecture: Recent Work In The Decipherment Of Palenque’s Hieroglyphic Inscriptions. December 1991. Vol. 93 (4): 809-823
This paper is about the historical content of Mayan inscriptions on a monument of three panels from the sanctuary of the Temple of the Inscriptions at Palenque in Chipas, Mexico. The inscriptions and the analysis that explained their meanings. The three inscribed panels contain 620 glyph blocks that occupy a composite glyph that is made up of three or four primary constituent signs that are put together by compounding and affixation with the components in different arrangements. The composite glyph may represent a word or a phrase. The easiest passages to decipher are the chronological ones. The inscriptions are specifically dated in the Mayan calendar and chronology. The dates are given with the interval. The chronological passages are divided into 8 parts. The events are the installation of a new ruler or the closing of a katun a 20 year period.
The Temple of the Cross Record extends farther into the past and includes earlier rulers. It begins with the founding ancestral Mother Goddess born on Decemebr 7, 3121 BC. The text of the three panels from the Temple contains more than just the records of accessions that the content began. The main framework is that of the katuns sequence, the 20-year segments from the flow of time that the Maya thought so much of, and that survived as the main coordinate for the organization of history into the Maya chronicles of post-conquest time.
One reoccurring glyph has jade helmet that serves as a rebus for some other word. Sometimes helmets were shown being worn by rulers or warriors in scenes on scenes on monuments at other places. They are often shown with other symbolic objects. The two objects, the earplug and the helmet, suggest where to look for the other symbolic apparel are named in order that they might have been put on: the head cloth wrapping, the beaded necklace, the earplugs, and the helmet. Astrnonmical data is included in the records of the katun ending rituals. These were occasions for celebrating the end of a 20-year and for the beginning of the new period.
Maya epigraphy has made a source of data accessible. In certain ways it supplements archaeological information. It gives an element if history to what was previously just prehistory. It deals with the persons and aspects of elite culture, warfare, conquests, cosmology, and religion. Maya writing was indeed writing in a true sense.
CLARITY RATING: 4
TELISHA EDWARDS-STINSON University Of North Carolina At Charlotte (Gregory Starrett)
Mageo, Jeannette Marie Samoan Moral Discourse and the Loto American Anthropologist June, 1991 Vol. 93 (2): 405-420
In this article, Mageo writes about Samoan discourse. Her article is about child rearing and the language and emotions embodied in the language. She says that her article is about “how society channels individual reactions against existing socializing routines.” She lists three socialization practices through which the children are shaped to fit a “communal mold.” The three practices are: structuring emotions, structuring behavior, and structuring identity. In structuring emotions, Samoan parents distance themselves from their children while the children are young. They teach the children that they need to serve the elders. In structuring behavior, Samoan parents teach their children respect. They have a social hierarchy where the children do have positions of authority in respect to each other, but they are still beneath the adults. In structuring identity, Samoan parents encourage their children to identify themselves with a status group. The children are discouraged from distinguishing themselves. From here, Mageo begins to discuss the language and how it is used to convey and control emotions. The Samoans have a word loto that is the source of emotions. From this word, they attach other words to indicate that one is weak in relation or sentiments or that one has a lot of self-control. Mageo lists several of these words and how they are acted out or used in the Samoan culture.
This article is well written and very informative.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
CHRISTINA ROSER Baylor University (Tina Thurston)
Mageo, Jeannette Marie. Samoan Moral Discourse and the Loto American Anthropologist. Volume 93, no. 2: 1991:405.
Socialization is a process that happens in every culture. In Samoa, the communal personality is the key idea in socialization. Mageo focuses on how society channels individual reactions against the existing socializing routines. According to Mageo’s article, Samoans use three different socialization processes to mold children into the community. These three practices are structuring emotion, structuring behavior, and structuring identity.
Samoans structure their child’s emotions by using parental distancing. This process allows children to focus their emotional attachment to other people within their life. For example, instead of following their parents around all the time, children are supposed to serve elders, and other family members. However, if a child becomes ill, the parent would then serve the child’s every need until nursed back to health. Any person who is older than the child is allowed to direct orders to the child. Also, children (ages four to the teen years) are forced to care for their younger siblings starting once their sibling reaches the age of six months. Samoans refer to the loto as the source of emotions. Children are taught from a very early age to not show emotions, whether these are sad, mad, or happy emotions. If someone shows emotions they are deemed weak.
Samoans also try to structure their child’s behavior. All parents in Samoan culture communicate to their children or to any young child in the imperative mode. This mode is used to teach the child respect. The first method of socialization, parental distancing, shows the child the general hierarchy within Samoan society. Once the strata are acknowledged by the child, they are expected to show respect to everyone in a higher strata, or in another group. Elders have a great role in the development of respect. If an order is given the elder will thank the child, but after the child learns that the elder is appreciative of his favor, the “thank you” will be dropped.
The final way Samoans socialize their children is by structuring their identity. Everyone in Samoan culture treats and refers to children as a separate entity or group instead of as individuals. If you are a child then you belong to the group of children. Children are encouraged to achieve as a group, and are discouraged from distinguishing themselves from the group. Since children are considered one group, property is common among them. Siblings are permitted to take clothes, money and food without asking. The child may get upset about his or her missing property, but they are not supposed to show emotions or make a fuss about the issue.
Mageo concludes her article by noting that Mead, who originally did research on the socialization of the Samoa, was wrong in her perceptions of socialization. Mead believes that these socialization processes can encompass everyone. However, Mageo says that these specific practices are not the same from culture to culture. She states that every culture has its own methods of socialization. Mageo goes own to explain how Mead uses the idea that personality is culture writ small, and that cultures inscribe their orientation upon the individual inside her ethnographic studies. By using these two ideas, Mead derives her idea that socialization processes can encompass everyone completely.
Mageo believes that socialization is not a set of practices but a conversation where the information exchanged is exchanged through verbal comments and behaviors. Mageo goes on to note that this conversation is unique to every culture.
UNKNOWN University of North Carolina Charlotte (Gregory Starrett)
Moran, Emilio F. Human Adaptive Strategies in Amazonian Blackwater Ecosystems. American Anthropologist June 1991 Vol. 93 (2):361-383
Moran is analyzing the nature of human society in the nutritionally poor Amazonian Blackwater ecosystems. He spends the first half of the article discussing the biological nature of these systems in a way that seems more at home in a biology journal, but this information is important to the understanding of the adaptations that the societies whom live here use. The first strategy he talks about is agriculture. Most cultures in this area use slash and burn techniques, but they are limited by several factors outlined in the article. The next subject discussed is the hunting and gathering technologies. Here he discusses the types of techniques used on different types of animals needed to supplement their diets. Then Moran tells us about the health of the residents of the Amazonian Blackwater. In these areas the average height and weight is normal, and birth weights are well above the minimum needed. Finally there is a discussion about the settlement patterns of the area. It seems that the villages are small, but not overly smaller than other societies of similar development. In conclusion it seems that although the Amazonian Blackwater represents some of the poorest land on earth, there are small areas that are less poor and it is in these areas that humans have, over time, adapted and settled in successful ways.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
COREY REILLY Baylor University (Tina Thurston)
Moran, F. Emilio. Human Adaptive Strategies in Amazonian Blackwater Ecosystems. American Anthropologist 1991 vol. 93 (2):361-377.
The author, Morgan, shows through the article that Blackwater Ecosystems in the Amazon differ greatly from the other Ecosystems in the Amazon area. It is commonly thought that the entire Amazon is rich in soil, nutrients, and edible plant life. This is not all together true. The tendency to contrast mainly the floodplain (varzea) and the upland forests (terra firme) has made it possible to overlook significant differences present within the Amazonian terra firme. The significance of the nutrient-poor gradient in the Blackwater areas to Anthropology is way the natives have adapted to this low productivity.
The Blackwater Ecosystems, like the ones in Rio Negro, Vaupes, and Icana, represent the poorest and most limited areas of the Amazon. Above-ground biomass is lower, litterfall is poorer in nutrients, decomposition is slower because of the acidity of the soils and the water, and the high frequency of toxic plants contribute to making this area a true challenge to human populations. Because of the harsh environment, the human populace formed distinctly different ways of political organization than parts of the Amazon like the Upper Xingo, where territorial control is fluid and unspecified. Blackwater areas like the Upper Rio Negro secure land and productivity through inheritance, a hierarchal political system, and the territorial control goes as deep as being specifically defined and legitimated in the native mythology. The author’s confidence is very secure in that the natives of the Blackwater area are experts at utilizing every part of their environment. The author is also confident in that the Amazon is rich in the potential for explanations in cultural evolution with proper time and study.
CLARITY RATING: 5
SEAN WHITTAKER University of North Carolina Charlotte (Gregory Starrett)
Morrill, Calvin. The Customs of Conflict Management among Corporate Executives. American Anthropologist December, 1991 Vol.93(4):871-893.
Morrill takes a new look at the conflict between employees at two major companies in this article. He is comparing the different ways the managers and executives handle those beneath them when they have grievances or disputes with each other. His hypotheses is “where executives experience fragmented and atomized interpersonal networks, they will be more likely to manage conflict without confrontation than in networks of strongly and densely connected individuals.” Morrill is also comparing a method to conflict control called the choice approach. This approach states that “grievances defined by executive disputants as serious and in need of immediate attention would be managed confrontationally and the grievances defined as less serious by aggrieved executives would be managed without confrontation.” The article gives some background to the study of conflict management, and states some of the past theories on this subject. Morrill concludes his article with details from his ethnographic research. He tells of the data he gained, the problems with the data, and his problems in the field. He ends with the patterns he sees in his data, and the patterns he observed.
Morrill’s evidence consists of ethnographic data, data on social networks, and data collected through his experience observing those in the companies. He cites many sources, including J.C. Mitchell and Laura Nader. Most of Morrill’s data comes from his hands-on observation with the companies, in which he played a person in need of further experience in the business world. He “infiltrates” two different companies with the aliases of Independent Accounting and Playco. In the end of his investigation Morrill’s conclusion is this: “that corporate executives in loose-knit intra-organizational networks should manage conflict nonconfrontationally, while executives in dense-knit networks should routinely confront each other with grievances.”
VERONICA M. ALVAREZ Baylor University (Tina Thurston)
Morrill, Calvin. The Customs of Conflict Management among Corporate Executives. American Anthropologist. Volume 93, no. 4: 1991:871-.
Conflict is a process that is present in all companies. Conflict management is an approach used by corporate executives or management of the firm to settle disputes among employees of the company. In this article, Calvin Morrill examines the customs of conflict management among executives at the tops of two large business organizations. Morrill’s central hypothesis is that corporate executives are more likely to manage conflict without confrontation inside fragmented interpersonal networks rather than in networks of strongly connected individuals.
Morrill states that there are two approaches to conflict management, confrontation and nonconfrontation. According to Morrill, “disputes begin when someone has a real or imagined grievance against someone or something else.” This is the “preconflict” or “grievance” stage. This stage has the opportunity to develop into open conflict. From the “preconflict” stage, confrontation can develop if talk or physical action develops between the two individuals. Nonconfrontation can develop if the two individuals express their grievances without direct communication or physical action.
Using Baumgartner’s studies of working and middle class conflict, Morrill tries to establish the anthropological origin of conflict management. He uses Baumgartner’s established social ties, “loose-knit” and “dense-knit” networks, to analyze the communication between individuals within conflicts or grievances. “Loose-knit” networks have sparse communication among the individuals and “dense-knit” networks have a high degree of communication.
Morrill uses two large businesses to analyze the customs of conflict management. These two companies, Independent Accounting and Playco, each have different customs of conflict management. Independent Accounting is a international audit firm with over twenty thousand employees. Playco is a manufacturing firm that produces electronic learning aids, computers and children’s toys. Playco has over thirty-five thousand employees and forty-three executives. The executives at each firm were asked a series of questions concerning friends, relations, social ties, and conflicts or problems. The data were analyzed by comparing density measures of executive networks across the firms. Then ethnographic data were collected from the executives at both firms on practices and beliefs about conflict management.
At the end of Morrill’s research , he concluded that his hypothesis was correct. Executives in “loose-knit” networks tend to settle grievances nonconfrontationally, while executives in “dense-knit” networks tend to settle grievances by confronting each person involved, with their grievances. Morrill also concludes that executives at Playco have the greatest social distance from each other and are highly likely to avoid conflict.
LAWRENCE ANTHONY MEADE UNC Charlotte (Gregory Starrett)
Pauketat, Timothy and Emerson, Thomas. The Ideology of Authority and the Power of the Pot. American Anthropologist 1991:919-.
The Ramey Incised jar or vessel and its role in Mississippian chiefdom society are the subjects of this essay. Mississippian culture, with its center at Cahokia, was dominant in the “American Bottom” region of the country during the 11th and 12th centuries AD. This cultural tradition had a very visible and recognizable set of motifs associated with Mississippian religious activity. Since the religious authority and secular authority are often combined in New World cultures, it is assumed that the economic and political elite was also the religious elite. The ruling elite had to have some communication in their relationship with the subordinated groups, in order to define their relationships with each other. It proposed in this essay that the pottery was a kind of propaganda for the elites.
According to Pauketat and Emerson, an elite ideology that placed control over the cosmos in the control of the chiefs was represented by the Ramey Incised ware.
The Ramey Incised pottery itself and its possible everyday usage are very interesting. The pots are semi-globular vessels with pronounced shoulders, in-slanted rims, and constricted mouths. From the location of and motifs present on Ramey Incised pots, it is believed that the vessels were used for “ritual medicines and food”. From the large variability of size that can occur in Ramey Incised ware, there were probably different purposes for the different sized pots. One cannot serve a feast out of an 8×10 cm jar. But, through the motifs present on the jars, they can have additional meaning. The pottery itself is believed to be physically representative of the Upper and Lower Worlds present in most pre-Colombian North American cosmologies. The actual designs include the “weeping eye”, ‘nested diamonds’, diagonal lines, “blade”, “ladder” and other motifs. These are thought to symbolize Thunderbirds, “falconoid characteristics”, the sun and moon, and other aspects important in Mississippian cosmology. According to this essay, it is also possible that the motifs also symbolize the order of the cosmos. This means that the actual pottery was a manifestation of the ruling elites power. The paper states, “…few family potters, using basically the same clay and techniques, could have produced all of the Ramey Incised (pottery)”. According to this essay, the pottery itself probably had ritual significance, and the pots themselves are easily recognizable from a distance. The motifs present on the jars were part of a cosmology that probably touted the superiority of the elites and emphasized the subordinated people’s place in the universe. This is pretty standard propaganda for all organized hierarchies; the ruling elites are meant, by the god(s), to be in power and ‘this pot right here’ says so.
The authors believe that the Ramey Incised pots are the “material expression” of the elite interpretation of the cosmos. The pots were designed with motifs symbolizing “order, hierarchy and religiosity”, which are essential for the chiefdom to remain intact. The pottery was used not only to redistribute foodstuffs, but also to diffuse elite ideas. Even after the contained food is gone, the pot lingers as a “living metaphor” of elite dominance. Thus, the Ramey Incised pot has been thoroughly examined.
G. THOMAS BENTON JR. UNC Charlotte (Gregory Starrett)
Pavelka, Mary S. McDonald. Sociability in Old Female Japanese Monkeys: Human versus Nonhuman Aging. American Anthropologist September, 1991 vol. 93 (3): 588-596.
The increase in the attention given to the behavior of old monkeys has been stimulated by the rapid growth of social gerontology. A long- term study of the social behavior of aged female Japanese monkeys was conducted to investigate the possible relationship between old age and sociability; and if the disengagement of monkeys would parallel with the gerontological disengagement theory that predicts for humans that increased morale will be associated with decreased social interaction.
On a 35,000-acre ranch, 18 aged and 22 non-aged semi-free ranging female Japanese monkeys were observed. A total of 440 hours of focal animal data were collected over a period of 20 months. For each female subject, two sociability scores were calculated: the total number of other monkeys with whom the subject spent time, and the total amount of time the subject spent in affiliative social contact.
The data were graphed on scatter plots according to network size and age, and contact time and age, respectively. No pattern of decreased social interaction with advancing age could be determined, and it is suggested that the life of nonhuman primates may be continuous from the attainment of adulthood to death.
In order to determine if the life course of nonhuman primates is essentially the same as humans, three features of the human life course were identified: menopause, awareness of mortality, and a division of labour. All available evidence suggests that these features are absent in the subject population of this study.
The absence of any evidence for social isolation in the old female Japanese monkeys of the study population may lead to a reconsideration of the similarity between nonhuman and human primates. It is then suggested that if these features prove to be unique to humans, then human aging should be expected to be unique as well.
MIKE BROOKS University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Gregory Starrett)
Redman, Charles A. Distinguished Lecture in Archaeology: In Defense of the Seventies – The Adolescence of New Archaeology. American Anthropologist. June, 1991. Vol. 93(2): 295-307.
Redman defends the so called “New Archaeology” popularized in the 1970’s, and expresses concern with its critics. He claims that, while misguided, the system has merit an cannot be overlooked. Science became a big part of archaelolgy in the 1950’s and 1960’s as new techniques emerged for carbon dating, statistics and artifact classification. Civil unrest bred a distrustful group of anthropologists and archaeologists, who were urged to become concerned with the people behind the artifacts.
Louis Binford is identified as the main catalyst for New Archaeology. He incorporated old lines of thinking with scientific methods and field research design. His method, and his students’ modifications, caught on quickly. Much credit, however, must be given to three political aspects of his system: 1) it was explicitly systematic, 2) its demand for social relevance and 3) it rejected authoritarian arguments, which allowed others to give their findings with equal consideration. Binford and his students created a new generation of archaeologists who based themselves in his methods.
But New Archaeology was not without fault. It sought to generalize cross-cultural references by creating uniform laws. Debate over the realities of this task caused disdain among even the method’s supporters. Even so, the method wasn’t much disputed once it established itself. Despite the fact that it is virtually obsolete today, remnants of it are still present. Methodological and research designs are still widely used and an emphasis on statistical data as well. Important strides included and emphasis on the environment, development of graduate programs in anthropology and the accessibility of the field.
Post-processurilaists, most of who can claim to New Archaeology, are the most common dissidents of the New Archaeology movement. They feel limited in the potential that the New Archaeology presented and want to focus more on non-material aspects of culture, such as the archaeological record. Ian Hodder set out to investigate cultural generalities and do ethnoarchaeological studies, which lead to a new wave of thinking, even though few would claim to agree with him. Many others would break away, coming up with more interpretations and solutions to the aforementioned shortcomings of New Archaeology. Much of the revolution against New Archaeology can be attributed to changes in politics and economics during the eighties: more money meant better research. In conclusion, Redman anticipates a bright future and more changes to come.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
ANDREA CLOUTIER Baylor University (Tina Thurston)
Redman, Charles L. Distinguished Lecture in Archeology: In Defense of the Seventies – The Adolescence of New Archeology. American Anthropologist Fall, 1991 Vol.93 (2): 295 – 305
This article discusses the trend towards replacing New Archaeology or processualism with a new school of thought called post- processualism. The author writes in defense of New Archaeology and attempts to show its importance in the discipline.
The first part of the article gives a brief history of the social change that fostered the growth of processualism. The author discusses Louis Binford’s (the “father of New Archaeology) success by stating that it was due in part to the timely nature of the explicitly scientific approach of processualism. He also states that processualism’s emphasis on the social relevance of the cultures behind the artifacts and its rejection of arguments based on authority alone also made the approach highly successful by opening up archaeology to a whole new generation of young professionals.
Next, the article discusses some of the reasons why processualism has lost the influence it once had but points to the enduring changes it has made to the discipline as reasons why it should still be emphasized. The author reasons that processualists’ unrealistic goals and over-emphasis on their methodology have turned off many valuable scholars. However, the author states that processualism has made research design more analytical, the results more scientific, and has held researchers responsible for their work. He also states that processualism opened up the field to contributions made by new scholars in new areas of archaeology, such as public archaeology or cultural resource management. These impacts are what make New Archaeology a valuable tool that should not be readily replaced.
Finally, the article discusses the similarities between New Archaeology and post-processualism. The author lists several examples of how the two schools of thought overlap and shows how post-processualism is really an expansion of processualism. He makes the point that post-processualism really isn’t anti- processualism but rather an alternative to the New Archaeology. It attempts to make inferences about culture by using non-traditional testing methods like ethnographic analogy in order to get a broader perspective of past life ways. He concludes by stating that a blending of the two schools would be nice, but not necessary or even ideal for the future of archaeology. Instead he suggests more of a balancing of the two, wherein processualists in coordination with the diverse thinking of post-processualists form an alliance for gaining a broader, all encompassing, more scientific understanding of the past.
CLARITY RATING: 4
ROBERTSON, PENELOPE University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Gregory Starret)
Reff, Daniel T. Anthropological Analysis of Exploration Texts: Cultural Discourseand the Ethnological Import of Fray Marcos dde Niza’s Journey to Cibola. AmericanAnthropologist. Sept. 1991 Vol. 93(3):636-656
This article focuses on the neglect of exploration chronicles as a means of studying past human cultures. Explorers were some of the first people to observe native life in many areas, commenting on native sociopolitical systems, religion, population numbers, settlement patterns, subsistence methods, trade and warfare practices and often providing our only glimpse of native life under natural conditions before contact with Europeans forced changes on the native populations. Despite these facts, explorers’ chronicles have often been ignored by archaeologists because of uncertainty about travel routes, about which native peoples are described, and an assumption that the explorers exaggerated the complexity of the native peoples they came into contact with.
Fray Marcos’ journey to Cibola in 1539 covered 1,000 miles, from San Miguel de Culiacan to a group of seven Zuni settlements known as Cibola. Reff asserts that Fray Marcos’ journal hasn’t been used for ethno-historical purposes because scholars doubt Marcos’ veracity, displaying an ignorance of exploration texts and misreading Marcos’ travel route.
Scholars argue that Marcos’ journal lacked specifics, that he frequently cited native sources and didn’t often write in the first person. It is argued that Marcos had to cite native sources and not write in the first person because he hadn’t actually traveled to Cibola and because one of his companions turned back early on and the other one didn’t survive the trip, therefore he had nobody to verify his claims. Many scholars seem to have misread Marcos’ travel route, assuming that he retraced the steps of Cabeza de Vaca, following an inland route. However, many contemporaries of Marcos, as well as Marcos himself, testified that he followed a route mostly along the seacoast. It is also believed that Marcos lied about the size and wealth of Cibola, but never in any of his official documents did Marcos say that Cibola was a city of great wealth. Marcos’ only observation of Cibola was a comment on its large population and he freely admitted that he was only able to observe Cibola from a distance.
Reff is not trying to say that Marcos’ journal reflects an accurate picture of native life. Rather he wants us to see that such exploration texts might be useful for studying past cultures. Marcos’ journal, like all interpretations and descriptions of other cultures, was necessarily limited by constraints of time, language and different cultural perceptions. By placing Marcos’ report in its proper historical and cultural context we can see why he addressed some issues and not others and can realize that this, and other exploration texts have valuable information to offer.
ASHELEY CLARK University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Gregory Starret)
Reff, Daniel T. Anthropological Analysis of Exploration Texts: Cultural Discourse and the Ethnological Import of Fray Marcos de Niza’s Journey to Cibola. American Anthropologist. September, 1991. Vol. 93(3): 636-655.
Many explorer’s documentation of settlements they encountered on their journeys have been deemed unsuitable for inclusion in studies of this time period. This is due to the presumption that the explorers often lied or exaggerated their claims in order to receive more funding for further expeditions, or to appear successful to their superiors. These presumptions have led to the complete exclusion of many of these texts, because of the inability to substantiate many of the claims they make. Reff claims that, despite the shortcomings of these texts, they provide a crucial window into this era (circa 1450-1700).
Fray Marcos de Niza was a Franciscan friar who was sent out after Cabeza de Vaca returned to Mexico City with tales of unimaginable wealth in the Southwest. With the aide of de Vaca’s slave, Esteban, and another friar, de Niza set out to substantiate de Vaca’s claims of great wealth. He returned with a tall tale about incredible wealth in Cibola, and sans Esteban. Coronado then went out to substantiate de Niza’s claims, but found nothing to support them. Many scholars believe that de Niza lied or exaggerated his claims, but Reff contests that they merely misunderstood and misinterpreted his text, the route he took and the assumptions about the native culture.
Attacks against the report stem from a lack of viability in de Niza’s account. The death of Esteban and the loss of his travel companion left de Niza as the soul eyewitness. He often wrote quotes from the natives he encountered and rarely wrote in first person. There is also reference to an undiscovered second text believed to be in depth notes of his journey. The misinterpretation of his travel route came from the assumption that he followed de Vaca’s route exactly. In fact, he stuck close to the sea, as ordered, to aid Coronado at a later time. In regards to claims about the aboriginal culture, it has been shown that de Niza’s claims can in fact be verified and that his critics mistook statements he made.
But de Niza’s account should not be taken as absolute truth. He was no a social scientist, nor were his accounts free from bias and confusion. However, they do shed light on a formerly shady history. If correct, de Niza dashes theories that flood, warfare and famine wiped out many of the tribes of the American Southwest, namely the Hohokam and Totonaec, with whom de Niza claims to have encountered, did in fact persist into the historic era.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
ANDREA CLOUTIER Baylor University (Tina Thurston)
Shapiro, Warren. Claude Levi-Strauss Meets Alexander Goldenweiser: Boasian Anthropology and the Study of Totemism. American Anthropologist September, 1991 vol. 93(3): 599-607
Established thought on totemism and related subjects is expressly inspired by Claude Levi-Strauss’s writings on these topics. Levi-Strauss himself credits especially Radcliffe-Brown, but the sheer bulk of his contributions gives the impression that he derived his findings with little influence elsewhere. However, the ideas on totemism put forward by Alexander Goldenweiser not only antedate those of both Levi-Strauss and Radcliffe-Brown but also substantially anticipate Levi-Strauss’s formulations.
Goldenweiser wrote his doctoral dissertation “Totemism: An Analytical Study” in 1910. The “analytical study” had much flavor of the Boasian deconstruction of Victorian theory, as well as Goldenweiser’s assault on the nominalism of Victorian totemic theory. The latter aspect of the “analytical study” is what especially attracted Boas. He made similar observations on the nature of totemic theory, six years after Goldenweiser’s “analytical study” had been published. Furthermore, Goldenweiser’s work forges links with more recent developments in cognitive science, and with “post-modern-thought”.
In 1918, He took the pattern theory further, if not in different directions. His article “Form and Content in Totemism” liberated the notion of totemism from exclusive association with clan organization and extended it so as to include human and animal taxonomies. Levi-Strauss published his own book, The Savage Mind, in 1966, in which his formulations had previously been foreshadowed by Goldenweiser’s 1918 article. More generally, Levi-Strauss shows an affinity for Boasian anthropology that is unrivaled among present day theorists. In view of the immense range of his scholarship, and his special interest in “primate classification”, it is inconceivable that the bulk of Goldenweiser’s theoretical writings escaped Levi-Strauss’s attention.
This article is not accusing Levi-Strauss of intellectual piracy, but its aim is to imply that it was Goldenweiser who salvaged the wreckage of the “analytical study” and transformed it into a new synthesis before 1965. The suggestion here is that Goldenweiser be moved much closer to center stage, and be given due credit to his theoretical work.
MIKE BROOKS University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Gregory Starrett)
Shore, Bradd. Twice-Born, Once Conceived: Meaning Construction and Cultural Cognition. American Anthropologists March 1991 Vol. 93(1):9-23.
This article tries to understand how things have meaning for people, instead of the traditional anthropological study of what things mean to people. Shore uses interpretive anthropology to identify the “logical and psychological conceptions of meaning” and how it works to translate the human experience. Shore proposes a model for understanding the meaning of theory construction which complies with the general movement of hominid evolution focusing on symbolically mediated adaptations, also centers on the differences of subjective meaning and intersubjective meaning. A third point of the model reminds those to remember the importance of historical and local variability, but not to rush to conclusions regarding cultural knowledge and relativism. Other points to the model include the use of psychology to deduce the process of early symbol formation, the synthesis of structuralism and praxis-oriented description of meaning construction to reduce confusion, and a strong reminder that the mind has depth and experiences cannot be quantified in terms of a one-dimensional study. Shore also uses Plato’s description of virtue, The Meno, to help explain the relationship between meaning and memory where Plato states that “genuine learning is actually a form of memory”. Shore goes on to discuss the importance of the Prototype theory, which states the relationships between category perception and concept formation and how people like Rosche and Mervis have attempted to replace feature-sorting with pattern-recognition and analogy. Shore concludes by stating that cultural knowledge often overlaps with the community and new memories are thus influenced by their cultural surroundings.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
ABBY WEINSTEIN Baylor University (Tina Thurston)
Shore, Bradd. Twice-Born, Once Conceived: Meaning Construction and Cultural Cognition. American Anthropologist 1991 Vol.93 No.1: 9-24.
Scientific observation begins with the circling problem of “meaning”. Cultures give objects their meaning within society, and since cultures are formed within the mind, many cultures have shared meanings. The problem within shared meanings is that anthropology sets out and looks for actions to be interpreted before the situation is fully understood. Shore searches for what things mean, how they connect, and how the meaning is constructed. He also looks at how culture directs human behavior, using a constructivist approach to psychology. Shore’s criteria for developing his theory of meaning construction includes meaningful trends, different levels of meaning, historical and local variations of meaning, and meaning depth (there are ten rules in all).
Meaning has a double birth within culture, one at the social and historical level and the other through personal representation. Meaning is derived from the public and individual levels, which gives significance to symbols. Symbols represent a physical experience that human culture formulates to give an object or behavior mental representation. Saussure finds two problems within the relationship between signifier and signified; one, being that there is no theory of sign formulation, and the second, being that signs are experienced naturally by the user, even if the signs are arbitrary. Another theoretical approach to meaning discusses perception and concept formation . For example, in Polynesia the word mana means “power, luck, and efficacy”, and tapu means “set aside, marked, or bound”. The different meanings of mana and tapu is determined by a sitting/resting position and movement. If one is moving, then the behavior is understood as being mana; and if one is sitting or resting, then the behavior is tapu. Posture and behavior determines which type of action is being performed and the amount of power that is being used. Thus, meaning has a double birth in the cultural schematizing activities and another through social and historical events. The Polynesians separate the meaning of religious power through different behaviors of mana and tapu.
KRISTIN HISSONG University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Gregory Starrett)
Stoffle, Richard W. Risk Perception Mapping: Using Ethnography to Define the Locally Affected Population for a Low-Level Radioactive Waste Storage Facility in Michigan.American Anthropologist September, 1991 Vol.93(3):611-635.
In this article by Stoffle and associates, the use and validity of risk perception mapping (RPM) is questioned and defended. According to Stoffle, RPM is “a rapid and efficient method for defining locally affected populations for social impact studies.” RPM is used to measure a risk perception shadow (RPS), which occurs when a population feels that it is at risk from a proposed project. The article begins by explaining what RPM is and how is can be used in social and cultural impact studies. The article also addresses the issues of interpretation like: “(1) when to identify a locally affected population, (2) how to operationalize the definition of a locally affected population, and (3) how the concerns of specially affected populations can be represented in the research” (612). There is also some background on RPM, how it works, the various experiments it has been involved in, and the three steps for gathering data. The three steps involved in gathering data for the RPM are: ethnographic interviews, telephone interviews, and focus-group interviews.
The article mainly focuses on the first step of data-gathering, which is using ethnographic data. Specifically, the ethnographic data is from a case study that occurred in Michigan, in 1988. The article, then, gives the background to the case study, data from the study(including graphs), and the findings from the case study. The last thing addressed in the article are the interpretive issues with the RPM and the authors conclusions about RPM.
The authors used the case study, which had graphs and data to explain RPM. They used many secondary sources, and cited many studies done on RPM.
VERONICA M. ALVAREZ Baylor University (Tina Thurston)
Thornton, Russell, Tim Miller, Jonathan Warren. American Indian Population Recovery following Smallpox Epidemics. American Anthropologist March, 1991 Vol. 93 (1):28-45.
This study simulates the effects of smallpox epidemics on a hypothetical population of 5,000 North American Indians and the population’s subsequent stabilization. The model is based on stable population theory, which states that a population with constant age-specific birth and death rates over a considerable period, with no migration, will assume a stable age distribution and a constant growth rate, either positive, zero, or negative. “Shocks” to the population from temporary changes in birth or death rates will alter the equilibrium, but the population size eventually returns to its stable pre-shock age distribution and growth rate.
The results suggest that neither single nor recurrent episodes of smallpox, or other diseases, necessarily resulted in long term reduction of the aboriginal North American population. Three other reasons were determined to be primarily responsible for interrupting the mechanisms of population recovery. The first primary cause of long term population reduction was the result of the indirect effects of the epidemic such as decreased post-epidemic fertility due to the loss of a spouse or reduced fecundity due to the disease process, and increased post-epidemic mortality due to food shortages or the inability of mothers to care for their children. The second primary cause was the result, direct and indirect, of war, enslavement, relocation, and destruction of lifeways and subsistence patterns. The third primary cause was the cyclic nature of the epidemics, both recurrent episodes of the same disease and epidemics of new diseases, from which populations may not have had enough time to recover before being stricken by another.
There is general scholarly consensus that substantial depopulation occurred in response to contact with Old World diseases beginning in 1492; however most previous studies focused largely on gross mortality rates, neglecting specific impacts of disease on the age structure of mortality, the role of fertility in population change, and the interrelation of fertility and mortality in determining changes in population size. This study analyzed the direct effects of simulated epidemics as well as other previously omitted variables.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
DEA HOUSER University of North Carolina, Charlotte (Gregory Starrett)
Trigger, Bruce. “Distinguished Lecture in Archeology: Constraint and Freedom- A New Synthesis for Archeological Explanation.” American Anthropologist. March 1991. Vol. 93: 551-563.
In the Article entitled “Distinguished Lecture in Archeology: Constraint and Freedom- A New Synthesis for Archeological Explanation,” Bruce Trigger gives a short synopsis of the American Anthropology Association meeting in 1990. A central subject of the conference was archeology. Archeological anthropology, Trigger restates is different from all other subtopics in anthropology because human behavior and their methods of learning cannot be observed directly. The anthropologist is forced to infer the behavior of the past from the data collected, artifacts and so on. A good approach is to determine the development of the culture of the archaic people. The anthropologist should realize culture and behavior of the people are constrained externally and internally. External constraints include the environment, the size shape of the human remains found, the sex of the skeletal material, and age. The internal constraints include belief, values, and conditioned habits.
The article then goes on to say that several theories could be used to explain the data collected to determine behavior. For example, one could use Harris’ approach by saying the beliefs of a culture were determined by its ecology. Another approach would be Marxist view. Such a person would say the circumstances determined people’s thought and behavior. It was also mentioned that an archeological anthropologist should take a holistic approach to data. One theory is never enough to be accurate. Overall the clarity of the paper is poor. It is definitely written for an audience with greater knowledge of anthropological theory because of the people quoted in the synopsis.
CLARITY RANK: 2
CLAUDIA P. GUZMAN Baylor University (Tina Thurston)
Trigger, Bruce G. Distinguished Lecture in Archeology: Constraint and Freedom – A new Synthesis for Archeological Explanation. American Anthropologist 1991 Vol.93 No.3 :551-563.
The study of archaeology has been divided into two opposing camps. Processual archaeologists have been challenged by the Post Processual archaeologists, each using their own methods and strategies to infer from materials human behavior. The author believes that both viewpoints have their uses, and in order to get a better view of past human behaviors a more holistic approach should be taken.
Processual archaeologists used the method of middle range theory when conducting research. This is the assumption that by observing the living world one can apply that knowledge to the past. Human thoughts and behavior are not deemed as important, and this is amplified by their taboos on the study of contingent, psychological, and mental aspects of humans. The focus is shifted from beliefs and values to taphonomy, ecology, and the technological. It is believed that the clue to understanding cultures lies in man’s adaptation to the environment. While it is easy to infer the technological behavior of a society using this method, in order to understand the beliefs and values of a society one must use another approach.
Post Processual archaeologists realized this dilemma and as a result started to utilize the direct historical method. Making correlations between the present and the past is also a part of this approach, but the difference here is that specific and historically related cultures are used as points of comparison. The mental and psychological aspects of humans are not dismissed, for according to Childe humans adapt to the world as they perceive it to be. Past behavior is to be explained in terms of constraints.
The first of these constraints, used by the Processual archaeologists, are external ones. These are the forces that exist outside of human involvement and the include the ecological, the human body, and the limitations of the body. Limitations may be found in the availability of choices that humans have when deciding on forms of social and political organization, among other things. External constraints are seen as human universals.
Internal constraints,of beliefs and values that humans are capable of inventing, are large in number. They are likely to be discovered independently in various parts of the world either due to their basis in biology (technology and science), or as a result of the uniform working of the human mind (symbols, similarities in cave art, etc.) According to Binford the fact that an individual is born into a system already surrounded by the specific beliefs and values of that culture places a constraint on their thinking.
In order to have a well-rounded understanding of the past both of these ideologies should be used in conjunction.
ERICA BENJAMIN University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Gregory Starrett)