Current Anthropology 1972
Dalton, George. Peasantries in Anthropology and History. Current Anthropology Jun.-Oct, 1972 Vol. 13(3):385-415.
By focusing on peasants of West European descent, George Dalton wishes to examine more effectively the peasantries that are the focus of many contemporary anthropologists working in Third World countries today. In effect, this article has been written to help himself and others understand contemporary peasantries and also to distinguish what truly constitutes a peasant. To further describe the basis for this comparison, Dalton breaks European peasantry into stages that do not co-exist, but follow one after another, starting with feudal, moving to early modern and next into late modern. Dalton states that there is so far not very much research into peasantries, especially not in regards to economic anthropology, which he seems most concerned with throughout the article.
Dalton describes all three stages of European peasant development, and focuses especially on the transitions between phases to prove the legitimacy of his comparison. Differentiation between the different types of payments for land and the types of land tenure systems plays a pivotal role in his analysis of the three stages present in peasantry development. He looks at aspects both economic and political in nature through all three stages, of course focusing on technological aspects in the early and late modernization periods. To make the previous discussion relevant, Dalton now tries to show how peasant economies differ from tribal economies by using many examples (Tiv, Nuer, Trobianders) with information from the ethnographies of others.
The writings on peasantries that Dalton had read apparently did not appeal to him, as he continues to display their problems in one of the longest sections of his paper. His opinion of most who wrote on this subject before him is that they oversimplified and generalized entirely too much.
To conclude, Dalton displays a recent example of a hybrid peasantry system settlement in present-day Latin America to reinforce his views that his system of comparison is in fact valid. He then feels the need to explain the “extraordinary” variation found among this group in order to keep his theory from falling apart. He ultimately found the problem to stem from the Spanish Conquest, which is really general and vague for the length of the explanation.
One of the general themes of the criticisms is that Dalton has himself simplified the divisions of European peasantry and left out what are in fact many different hybrids. Of course, this would destroy his nicely classified and divided categories. Russell Bernard examines the differences between Eric Wolf’ argument and Dalton’s assertions, determining that both contribute to our understanding of peasantry. Wolf points out that Dalton disregards much evidence pointing towards the “great social and economic mobility” of the peasantry, thereby leaving out much information that would be critical in his evaluation of the divisions. There are also praises on the general ideas from across the board.
Dalton’s rebuttal focuses much energy on Wolf’s comments, which turns out to become an academic jousting match of sorts. Dalton flatly refuses to acknowledge some of Wolf’s key points and his disparaging comments, choosing to respond to his only “point of substance”. Dalton basically re-explains his thought behind using Western European peasantry as a type case for all peasantries all over again. He further clarifies the points which Kaplan states need to be expounded and does so in great detail. Dalton seems pleased with the feedback, much of which was positive. He realizes that many of his general ideas need to be clarified and expanded for this paper to be of use to others.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
DANIEL FREEZE Davidson College (Eriberto Lozada)
D’Souza, Victor S. Caste Structure in India in the Light of Set Theory. Current Anthropology February, 1972 Vol.13(1):5-22.
In this article Victor D’Souza attempts to understand the workings of the caste system in India. More specifically, he examines the distinction between caste and subcaste in the Indian context. While much has been written on this topic, D’Souza finds that much confusion and ambiguity still remains. Much of this confusion revolves around the fluidity of the Indian system. His assertion is that the application of set theory to the caste system helps to understand the difference between caste and subcaste.
His article begins by exploring some previous literature and ideas on the controversy taken from Ghurye, Majumdar, and Mayer (5). D’Souza unpacks at each argument respectively to expose their shortcomings and disagreements in explaining the relationship between caste and subcaste. He finds that these problems arise from a lack of a theoretical model or framework to work from. He next explores a possible theoretical model of caste structure using four possible ideas: caste system is based on hereditary groups, the groups are homogenous to some extent, those pursuing similar goals can nonetheless be stratified, and this stratification is visible through interaction among groups. These four ideas are then used to critique the positions of Ghurye, Majumdar, and Mayer. D’Souza then moves on to look at empirical data collected from three villages in India that appears in several tables in the article. He uses this information to explore the topic further and display how fluid the system is. He finally turns to set theory to provide a better understanding of caste that can account for this fluidity. He illustrates that castes are larger groupings that one cannot move out of and subcastes are groups within castes. He uses Venn diagrams along with three terms from set theory to develop his idea: intersection, union, and complementation (13). His model allows for mobility of subcastes within the caste but takes into account that grouping into these categories is based largely on perspective and context.
D’Souza concludes that the classic approaches to understanding caste structure in India do not suffice in accounting for its tentative and fluid nature. As a solution he argues that the concept and terminology of set theory lend themselves logically to understanding this system. He is careful to warn that the ideas he puts forth are merely suggestions (14) and that a fuller understanding will come when these ideas are applied to other problems within the system.
There are six comments in response to the article by various authors. Their approval and/or criticism of the article are varied. Yogesh Atal finds the paper to be unsatisfying and unclear. By leaving out topics like ritual purity and pollution, Atal seems to assert that D’Souza has taken too much of a western view of caste. Edwin Eames appreciates the application of set theory but also states that he finds it unnecessary. Samir K. Ghosh finds the article unsatisfactory as well, searching instead for something less mathematical and scientific and more general and historical. Other critics focus on lack of development, applicability of the evidence, and shortcomings of an explanation of fluidity.
D’Souza’s reply is organized into three sections: concept of caste, problem of structure, and set theory. He breaks down each criticism point-by-point in a very organized and logical manner. His primary defense lies in his previous work that he felt no need to repeat in this paper. He states that his intentions were to keep his argument as simple as possible in an effort to provide an outline or structure of how set theory could be used. Most criticism lies in what he left out which is what he found to be unnecessary and superfluous for the sake of the article.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
RYAN G. CARVALHO Davidson College (Eriberto Lozada)
Foster, George M. The Anatomy of Envy: A Study in Symbolic Behavior Current Anthropology April, 1972 Vol. 13(2): 165-202.
This article addresses the problem of human envy in different world societies. George Foster’s goal for this article is to see how man, whether being the recipient or focus of envy, copes with envious behavior. He focuses on the transmission, impression, and repercussion of envy upon the human being. By first defining envy as a destructive emotion, Foster attempts to explain the reason for human fear and difficulty with admittance of envy. Foster argues it is impossible to be virtually without envy and describes several human techniques and strategies to deal with the often unmentioned and misunderstood emotion.
Foster sets out to prove that un-claimed behavioral forms and attitudes within American society can be attributed to envious behavior. He attempts to demonstrate how individuals cope with the fear of envy by first explaining the differences and similarities between two commonly confused terms, jealousy and envy. Foster goes on to examine the socioeconomic conditions, like disparities between the rich and poor or white versus minority groups, that cause envious emotions in society. He views food, children, and health as being the top causes of envy in primitive and peasant societies and relates lack of the former as causes of envy. Foster proceeds to explain the dualistic relationship between enviers, the envied, non-equals and equals within different cultures. He also looks at the two social traditions of complimenting and tipping with a focus on how they transmit envious behavior. Foster makes the argument that envy has and will be ingrained in human society as long as differences among race, class, and wealth exist, a term he calls encapsulation. He closes his article with an emphasis on how to culturally control and reduce envy.
Foster draws on examples from several world societies to construct his article discussing envy and human behavior. In his article Foster relates the consequences and effects of envy as being a worldwide phenomenon. He demonstrates that other all cultures have problems envious behavior through comparisons of how different societies handle equivalent envy issues (173). Foster concludes that envy will never be erased from human society, the most one can do is learn how to use cultural strategies as an aid to cope with the problems and stresses it might cause.
Commentators on Fosters article developed a mixture of positive and negative opinions regarding his ideas on the anatomy of envy. Some believe that while Foster did a good job of analyzing and describing envy in society he left out several other relationships. If actually women are innately envious of men or vice versa, and also the fact that art, music, poetry and charity were left out as stimuli for envious behavior. Many commentators took a harsher stance against Foster’s article. Apthorpe believes that American women do express feelings of envy amongst each other and do not attempt to conceal them. She also disagrees with Foster’s statement that envy is untenable and insists that such a strong statement would depend on individual circumstances. Bernard believes that in Foster’s separation of analysis of envy from others, fear of suspicion of envy, and fear of being envious are not in fact separate stimuli of envious behavior but collective parts. On a more positive side Bernard agrees with Foster’s statement that we avoid admission of envy because it results in admittance of inferiority as being powerful. Other commentators insisted that a compliment towards Foster’s work describing the anatomy of envy would be taboo regarding his stance on compliments as concealed envy.
The emphasis and focus for Foster’s article grew out of his lifetime experiences and curiosities. Much of Foster’s initial interest in envy originated from school age children in Tzintzuntzan, and their complete silence while eating, a concept foreign to American children. Foster related silence while eating amongst children to further discover peasants rise in discomfort level while being viewed by others when eating. He also considers his comments on envious behavior being ingrained in the formality of tipping as thoughts extending from his college years. Foster comments that many commentators unconvinced of his methods in analyzing envy have no backing or proof in their criticisms and statements of response, therefore having no more validity than he. By saying that envy itself cannot be adequately scientifically tested, Foster responds to comments that he insufficiently tested his hypothesis regarding envy.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
JONETTA JOHNSON Davidson College (Eriberto Lozada)
Foster, George M. The Anatomy of Envy: A Study in Symbolic Behavior. Current Anthropology, Apr., 1972. Vol.13(2):165-202.
Foster argues that envy is a universal social taboo. He focuses on three main categories of fear for the envier/envied: the fear of being envied, the fear of being accused of envy, and the fear of self-admittance of envy. Each category has socially specific methods, or acts, to reduce fear-caused anxiety. Foster notes a distinction between “jealousy” and “envy,” explaining that envy is potentially aggressive and more socially detrimental. He uses peasant societies to illustrate the idea that in societies where resources are finite, a shift in possession triggers latent envy, which is more easily observed than in more complex societies. Foster argues that envy is often expressed or denied symbolically in accordance with acceptable culturally-specific norms. Envy surfaces and is dealt with differently between people of equal and unequal statuses. Between equals, envy remains latent until the balance is disturbed. In situations of unequal status, society must bear responsibility for minimizing negative effects. In both cases, social rules exist to minimize potential envy. Foster suggests two institutional forms used to reduce envy: redistributive mechanisms, a system in which finite goods are periodically redistributed to prevent prolonged wealth or poverty, and encapsulation, a system in which society is broken down into sub-sections whose members have relatively equal access to the same desired goods. Foster uses several cross-cultural examples of envy to support his argument that envy is universal and has culturally specific manifestations.
While several commentators agree with Foster’s arguments in whole or in part, many disagree with his assumption that envy is universal. Some believe that the author’s use of several culturally specific examples required more context. Others suggest that Foster fails to elaborate or push the limits of his argument, claiming that he should have researched beyond peasant societies, further discussed causes of envy or tried more objective testing. Many commentators argue that the symbols Foster suggests to be manifestations of envy could actually be interpreted in several ways. Still others claim that the author simplifies societies for the purpose of his argument, thereby reducing the validity of several examples.
Foster begins by describing his experiences in Mexico which led him to study envy behavior and collect cross-cultural examples. He admits his possible overuse of envy symbolism, but suggests that symbols are multi-faceted and have several acceptable interpretations. He challenges commentators who argue that envy cannot be argued as universal to present examples of societies where envy does not exist. Relative envy cannot be measured quantitatively, and suggests that Whiting’s and Reynolds’s suggestions of objectivity are irrelevant. In response to Freeman’s criticism of using only peasant societies, Foster explains that envy is most clearly observed in such societies (as opposed to more complex societies where envy is not commonly admitted).
SONIA MISTRY Mount Holyoke College (Suzanne Zhang-Gottschang)
George M. Foster. The Anatomy of Envy: A Study in Symbolic Behavior. Current Anthropology April, 1972 Vol. 13(2): 165-202.
Foster presents an analysis of how envy is a universal emotion and how “envy is…a particularly dangerous and destructive emotion…which leads to aggression and violence capable of destroying societies.”(165). Furthermore, Foster then postulates that different communities and cultures use certain institutions and symbols to “neutralize, or reduce, or otherwise control dangers…from envy.”(165). However, Foster not only wants to show the dangers of envy, but also the differences in jealousy and envy, how envy shapes thinking and actions, the differences in envy between equals and non-equals, and finally how cultures control envy.
The first question Foster answers is: what is the difference between envy and jealousy? Foster explicates that envy and jealousy are not synonymous and they come from different linguistic origins, jealousy from the Greek word “zealos” which means “anger, wrath, or indignation” (167), and envy from the Latin word “invidia,” which means “to look maliciously on…to cast an evil eye upon”(167). Foster continues by stating that from these definitions “envy stems from the desire to acquire something possessed by another person, while jealousy is rooted in the fear of losing something already possessed”(168).
He extrapolates that envy also plays a psychological role in societies. For example, Foster uses the peasant societies as an archetype for what he calls the “Image of Limited Good” (169) or a system where one group of people is advancing at the expense of others. In a Limited Good society, Foster emphasizes that those being oppressed only revolt in two situations: when an individual rises above their position or when they go further down in society. This idea of “Limited Good” branches off from how envy between non-equals and equals plays an important relationship in forming power and position in a community.
But, how do cultures deal with envy and make sure it does not destroy the social fabric of a society? According to Foster, communities use four things in “a continuum of preferred choices” (175) to loosely control envy: concealment, denial, the sop, and true sharing. In concealment, a person might hide the object of envy from others or blatantly exposes the object so as not to arouse suspicion. When concealment fails, denial is used and Foster explains this symbolizes that the person who wants the object is mistaken in their appraisal and the object is not enviable. He continues by analyzing the gesture of tipping at restaurants which act as a “sop” or a “loser’s compensation” (177) and that Americans tip because “being served by another-even badly-establishes a psychological relationship that requires, for our peace of mind, the fulfillment of the prescribed ritual” (167). Finally, true sharing is when a community redistributes wealth from everyone in a form like taxes.
All people experience envy, yet how they control their envy differs from culture to culture, and sometimes it results in complete revolt. However, Foster concludes his essay by stating that controlling envy successfully is just a hypothetical thought that can never truly be known.
ADAM VALDEZ Valdosta State University (Melissa Rinehart)
Gallus, A. A Biofunctional Theory of Religion. Current Anthropology December, 1972 Vol.13(5):543-568
Gallus explains the development of human thinking from what he calls the “mythic stage”to a “wider range of rational thought,” scientific thinking. Religious or mythical thinking, as Gallus would put it, is seen as an “explanatory apparatus” that has evolved as a consequence of the evolution of the associational areas and their interconnections in the cortex of the brain. In other words, religious thinking is a result of the brain’s evolution and is an attempt to explain man and his role in the environment. Therefore religion is a concept controlled biologically that precedes man’s newly developed stage of scientific thinking. Religion is an innate process of thinking that man needs for biological survival in his environment. Gallus makes the connection between religion and man by stating that man’s biological survival is dependant upon his overcoming difficulties that can only be overcome by knowing the nature of the difficulty and anticipating its effect. The anticipation of the effect can be realized through religion, which helps man explain and “know” why certain things happen and what can be expected as a result. Religion explains things that happen in the present through giving mythological tales of things that apparently happened long ago. To legitimize his thoughts upon religion as a biological function of man, Gallus uses a myriad of citations ranging from Hamburg to Jung. Only short excerpts and phrases of other writers are used, therefore it is not made clear if their thoughts actually concur with those of Gallus. The phrases and excerpts mentioned display the beliefs of the writers’ on the subject of religion, but Gallus does not clearly make a connection between their argument and his own. It is consequently difficult to maintain whether Gallus’ argument is correct, although it does seem reasonable.
Generally speaking, the commentators of Gallus’ A Biofunctional Theory of Religion find the article full of flaws. The commentators tend to describe this work of Gallus as “a strange inconsistency” or marked by “pervasive wrongheadedness.” The critique of Gallus seems to stem from his failure to include anthropological references of men like Malinowski, Durkheim, Levy Strauss, Radcliffe-Brown, etc. One critic in particular, Stephen P. Dunn, asserts that neither Gallus nor his references show familiarity with the Western tradition of ethnographic research from the time of Durkheim onward. Essentially, Gallus’ critics would agree that he has failed to arrive at a valid theory based on his weak referencing (or lack there of) and a weak attempt to illustrate religion as a biological function of man.
In reply, Gallus believes that the commentators had difficulty in accepting his synthetic approach and his evolutionary orientation. He holds that human thinking developed from a mythic stage toward a scientific stage of rational thought. Yet he does make it clear that he did not suggest that one mode of thinking superceded the other in evolution. He claims to have argued for only an “expansion of scientific thinking.” Gallus also says that he sees religion as a complex phenomenon that requires analysis from many aspects and ought to be understood as the sum of all possible views. Gallus thinks that the commentators could not get away fromt the assumption that religion is external and is traditional material that is aquired through enculturation. In respnose to his failure to use the literature of other relevant anthropologists, Gallus claims that the literature is of no relevance to his argument. He also believes that the literature to which he does elude, sufficiently supports his theme. Gallus reiterates that religious experiences exist as potential in the biologically evolved and inherited central nervous system. Religion is thus internal and influenced by the biological and evolutionary function of man.
CHRISTIAN HUNT Davidson College (Eriberto Lozada)
Goldschimdt, Walter. An Ethnography of Encounters:A Methodology for the Enquiry into the Relation Between the Individual and Society. Current Anthropology February, 1972 Vol.13.(1):59-78.
In this article, Goldschidmt explores the role of encounter within ethnographic methods. He provides a general description of ethnography and its purpose while also examining the role of the researcher while in the field. The critical point of this message is the focus on a dissection of personal motivations and biases inherent within all social interactions including ethnographic research.
He includes two examples of ethnographic encounter to illustrate that performance elements exist in every society. Each individual performs according to his or her personal motivations within social encounters. Goldschimdt examines underlying cross-cultural perspectives that will influence the results of ethnographic encounters. Goldschimdt dissects the encounter between two brothers to reveal the history of their conflict, the psychological dimensions, the culturally- appropriate models of behavior, and
His dissection of the encounter reemphasizes the everyday, ordinary qualities of encounters that are overlooked when ethnographic reporting is publicized. Goldschimdt argues that through editing and analysis the encounter loses its individual substance. His proposed method of ethnographic reporting would maintain as much actual detail of the encounter as possible, thus allowing a more complete picture of the total experience of the subjects. Through this method both an ideal system can be observed and variances from the ideal can be noted. The narrative of brotherly disputes in this article exemplifies both the ideal kinship model and the system disruption when conflict arises.
The author also proposes ethnographic encounters be used to establish standards of cross-cultural roles. Goldschimdt argues that social relationships are maintained through standard behaviors that can be found in many different cultures.
Goldschimdt presents this article as if he is pioneering among anthropologists to propose such intense “ethnographic attention” be requisite of all researchers. However, most of the comments include numerous other examples that could have been included within the piece. Eliot Chapple, Ray Birdwhistell, and Erving Goffman are all cited for earlier contributions to ethnographic methods. Goldschimdt encounters a number of theoretical obstacles. He states what is obvious to “most” readers and requires extensive elaboration to justify studying everyday encounters. Cost and ethics ranked among the highest concerns of Goldschimdt’s critics. The largest ethical concern was the publication of research that could subsequently be read by the “subjects” of their own studies. The other readers questioned whether raw data should be published without analysis. Goldschimdt’s ideas, while not wholly original, are a controversial interjection within his contemporary academic setting. Most commentators disagree with the lack of analysis and lack of clearly defined limits with Goldschimdt’s type of investigation.
Walter Goldschimdt categorizes his reply to critics as general theoretical issues, relationship to existing literature and research techniques, and practical considerations. In his reply he addresses all of the concerns of his academic critics. In response to acknowledging the existence of pre-existing literature, the author cites the work of fellow anthropologist, P.H. Gulliver as an admirable example of researcher negotiation of an individual’s motivations within a society they are studying. He also allows that while other researchers have noted the complexity and necessity of ethnographic encounters, few have suggested that their text act as the intermediate between raw data and full analysis. By carefully examining the personal motivations of the encounters, Goldschimdt is pursuing a realistic portrayal of the subjects.
Although Goldschimdt was not attempting to “force-fit” his theory the article lacks sufficient elaboration of evidence. The author examines two of his own encounters without exploring other existing studies of ethnographic encounter. Goldschimdt must defend the limitations of his argument
CLARITY RANKING: 3
JANEEN L. BRYANT Davidson College (Eriberto P. Lozada)
Hinshaw, Robert; Pyeatt, Patrick; Habicht Jean-Pierre. Environmental Effects of Child-Spacing and Population Increase in Highland Guatemala. Current Anthropology April, 1972 Vol. 13(2):216-230.
Robert Hinshaw et al. examine the birth intervals and population trends in Santa Catarina, Panajachel, and Visitación, three Guatemalan Indian communities that border Lake Atitlán. A brief summary of the environmental and cultural changes is given for each community. They relied on data collected between 1925 and 1968 from both indigenous and outside sources. The birth and death rates and the average birth intervals of each community are reported and analyzed.
The birth rate dropped in the span studied in all three communities. Hinshaw et al. attribute this to an overall decline in the mortality rate and the limitations of postpartum amenorrhea caused by nursing. Longer spacing between surviving children and shorter spacing between children who die within the first year is hypothesized to indicate an anxiety over procreation. Mothers wait longer to have children when they are still caring for a surviving child. Birth spacing that does not show a differentiation whether a previous child survives or not is hypothesized to indicate less concern. The amount of concern over reproduction in a community is linked to the level of control they perceive to have over their destiny.
Santa Catarina gained access to modern medical facilities through neighboring communities and was no longer vulnerable to intermittent epidemics. This coincided with a lessening of concern over reproduction. Santa Catarina remains one of the poorest and less-educated communities among those surrounding Lake Atitlán, which contributes to their reluctance to take control over their collective destiny through child spacing techniques.
Panajachel and Visitación are wealthier and better-educated than Santa Catarina. Visitación has seized opportunities for medical, economical, and educational assistance offered by the Guatemalan government and Carmelite priests. When a highway was built through Panajachel connecting Lake Atitlán with Guatemala City their economy was strengthened. The money from tourism led to advances in education and medicine. Panajachel and Visitación’s ability to better their economic situation influenced a perception of increased control over their destiny and resulted in more controlled birth spacing.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
WARREN E. CHRISTIAN Davidson College (Eriberto P. Lozada Jr.)
Horvath, Ronald J. A Definition of Colonialism. Current Anthropology February, 1972 Vol.13(1):45-57.
In this article, Ronald Horvath attempts to construct a definition of colonialism, because academia has yet to agree on a general definition of the term. Contemporary implications of colonialism exist which posits an immediate need for a strong definition within which to discuss the subject matter. By using definitional analysis and classification models, he tries to construct a definition of colonialism that may be applicable in every situation.
Horvath’s discussion is divided into five sections: problems in defining colonialism, defining and classifying the term, manipulating the definition and model, uses of the methodology, and a glossary. First, he names some of the issues in constructing the definition: lack of cross-cultural perspective, theoretical perspective, and flexibility in the use of definitions, as well as the uses of an ultraconservative bias in defining. He then offers a definition of colonialism and imperialism, and a model of based on the power, presence of a group, type of cultural homogeneity, the presence of settlers, the relationships of the dominating to the dominated, and the stage of political growth. Examples of these factors are included in the model. Continuing, Horvath remarks on the necessity for adjustment of the model based on the aspect of colonialism that is being discussed. He provides an example of an adaptation to his model, preceding colonialism and imperialism with the adjectives informal and formal. Then, he explains the necessity for a definition to be adaptable, and that his semantic methodology is easier to understand than a mathematical explanation. Horvath also argues that the factors of social theory are all interconnected and cannot be separated in a model. The paper concludes with a glossary of terms that he constructed within the argument.
I believe that Horvath makes a strong argument about the need for a definition of colonialism on which scholars can agree. He establishes key distinctions between colonialism and imperialism. Notably, he recognizes the necessity of a flexible model that can be modified for the needs of a specific argument. Two of the problems with this article are the casual use of too many examples without a clear explanation, and the use of a number of variables that seem to be haphazardly inserted into his model. Nevertheless, as the title of the paper implies, this work is only one possible definition, and therefore a starting point for future research.
Horvath’s commentators touch on a few major issues that trouble the article. One of them, addressed chiefly by Andre Gunder Frank, concerns the lack of a scientific method used to develop the model of colonialism and imperialism. David Jacobson argues that Horvath is commenting on other’s work instead of developing his own ideas. Jacobson, Madeline Barbara Léons, and Robert Shirley all remark that there is a lack of explicit theory to guide the article. Shirley also realizes that economics should be considered in the model. Aidan Southall notes that the examples are not pertinent to Horvath’s proofs. J.E. Spencer is concerned with the lack of empirical data in the article. Finally, Bronislaw Stefaniszyn recognizes that many types of social scientists are consulted, but too few anthropologists.
Horvath responds with a general note on how there are numerous problems with the study of colonialism, and that his paper only tackles the need to deconstruct the many different definitions of colonialism. He remarks that empirical work is not part of the criteria in definitional analysis; rather that it determines the criteria. Classification, he believes, is a building block for further investigations, and that the commonality in examples shapes developing theory. Horvath states that he has inserted economic criteria into his revised model. Finally, he agrees with Frank that the principles and beliefs of scholars must be brought into the forefront to deconstruct bias in colonialism studies.
AMANDA L. GARBEE Davidson College (Eriberto Lozada)
Jones, W.T. World Views: Their Nature and Function. Current Anthropology February, 1972 Vol. 13(1):79-109
Jones attempts in this article to solve some of the problems related to the description of the world-views of a particular culture. The paper itself is an outgrowth of a 1968 conference on world views. When W.T. Jones wrote this work, the major debate in anthropology was between materialism and idealism, and Jones enters on the idealist side. One of the main attacks on analysis of ethos and world view is that is inaccurate, not scientifically rigorous, and that the analysis is without strict scientific guidelines. Jones attempts to resolve this by laying out a method by which world views can be scientifically described and categorized using the conference itself as an example of his method.
To begin his discussion, Jones first discusses what a belief is and how they can be defined. One of the problems is that unformulated beliefs are often the most useful for showing culture, but they are hard to scientifically determine because specifically because they are unformulated. To get around this problem he formulates a belief as a hypothesis created by an outside observer about a person, and as a hypothesis it can be tested. Jones then goes on to say that beliefs can be found in all actions, through the latent meanings inherent in an action. His example is sticking a thumb out for a ride. While the thumb out signals the desire for a ride, the means by which it is done can communicate other things such as frustration, impatience, or any number of feelings. He further uses specific word choice to show a constellation of ideas, such as describing someone’s hair as jet-black versus pitch-black. The message of black is hair is the same, but the latent meaning behind the specific word choice shows a set of beliefs about the object described. These interpretations can be made in an area Jones calls belief space, which is the next section in the work. Jones further elaborates that specific choice in belief space, choice in methods of description and action, is not always conscious. In the next section he discusses the difference between narrow and wide range vectors. The difference is narrow vectors are case specific and wide vectors apply in all cases. In the next section he describes how world views consist of an accumulation of these narrow and wide range vectors. Afterwards, he takes his established framework and gives specific examples of world view vectors. The examples he uses are wide ranging vectors that affect all aspects of an agent’s attitude, and can be used to formulate conclusions about world view. However, Jones points out that his choice of categories is dependant on his own worldview, and the same would hold true for any student of world views. After his methods have been explained, Jones applies his model to the Wenner-Gren conference he in which he participated. He uses his model to say that each participant’s supposedly scientific conclusions are a direct result of their world views. In his conclusion Jones again states, as he does at the beginning of his paper, that world views are only a hypothesis and thus no set of tests can ever truly confirm them.
The response to his article is generally supportive of his attempt to classify world views, but most of the respondents disagreed with Jones’ conclusions. One of the most notable problems is that of agency. Jones does not really explain how an individual’s actions reflect his world view, nor is there any explanation of how the world views are formed and changed. The same criticism is leveled at him that was given to Manilowski: that his theory puts individuals as nothing more than the product of their culture. Other anthropologists attack his position as being too metaphysical and not easily transferred to the study of groups of people, the supposed focus of anthropology. The most praise for Jones’ position is given in terms of the focus it puts on anthropologists analyzing their own methods and world views before analyzing another culture. This position lays the groundwork for the later post-modern movement.
In Jones’ response he tries to put to rest some of the problems the responses posed. He does not deny the metaphysical nature of world views, but instead contends that all economic and political actions are also based in metaphysics. He challenges the assertion that world view is not explained well in actions by reasserting the hypothetical nature of conclusions on world view. As far as the criticism of Jones’ focus on individuals, he puts this to a debate that will never be resolved between people who feel is society is an aggregate of individuals and those who feel society is defined by ideal forms.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
NICHOLAS A. JONES Davidson College (Fuji Lozada)
Molnar, Stephen. Tooth Wear and Culture: A survery of Tooth Functions Among Some Prehistoric Populations. Current Anthropology December, 1972 Vol.12(5):511-526.
Although there is an abundance of information on the anatomy of the face, jaw, and teeth, Molnar takes a new approach and discusses factors that may have had an effect on dental attrition. There is a significant lack of data taken on the evolutionary differences of dentition between prehistoric and modern humans. Molnar’s paper discusses how those differences in attrition might reflect the cultural and functional uses for teeth. He begins his paper with a description of the dentition fossils from various prehistoric groups such as Australopithecus africanus and Paranthropus robustus and the differences between different groups. Dental characteristics specific to a population such as worn down molars or large anterior teeth suggest certain uses for teeth. Not only is there diversity between the early human groups, but comparisons between early humans and modern peoples. As technology has changed, so has the type of attritions evident in skeletons and living populations due to new tool inventions or changes in culture. Molnar states that eating habits are the most common source of dental attrition including preparation of foods, type of foods consumed, physical condition of food, and texture of food. Supplemental foods must also be considered. Moreover, there are numerous other factors involved in shaping the wear and tear on dentition. Preparing medicines by using the mouth, chewing for stress relief, drug use, chewing patters, preparation, and gender all significantly affect tooth wear. Molnar discusses a key factor often overlooked when examining teeth: tool function. Many humans have used their teeth in the assembly of tools, as a substitute for tools, or for craft functions. Molnar emphasizes that although populations may share regions and food types, their dental attrition may be very diverse as there is much cultural variation between groups in food preparation and tools. He closes his discussion with the conclusion that research on dental attrition is only the beginning to using physical observations as clues to further details of lifestyle and culture.
Commentators generally applauded Molnar for a fantastic start to a new area of research. Comments complimented his comprehensive collection of data as well as his insight to understanding the multiple factors affecting tooth wear. Numerous commentators have suggestions of important issues to consider or perhaps add to the paper. Dewey suggests adding variation in pH and its effects on tooth enamel as another cause for tooth attrition as well as fluoridation of water in areas surrounding populations. Turner states that the absence of behavioral actions that also have an effect on teeth weakens the paper. Nearly all of the commentators express an interest in further research on tooth wear.
Molnar responds with his regret that he has only extensively examined tooth attrition as an indicator of lifestyle and has not yet pursued behavioral, psychological, or other suggested angles to his paper. He includes information on the importance of studying hard tissues, such as teeth, as indicators of general health and well being of the population. Additionally, they can indicate crises or stressors encountered by the group in study. Molnar enthusiastically admits that there needs to be more research done in all topics related to tooth wear and culture.
KATHERINE A. YOUNGER Davidson College (Eriberto Lozada)
Mukherjee, Ramkrishna. Concepts and Methods for the Secondary Analysis of Variations in Family Structures. Current Anthropology, 1972 Vol. 13(3/4):417-443.
In this article Ramkrishna Mukherjee explains the process for developing a universal system of categorizing the family unit. Considering the various forms in which family is expressed from culture to culture, Anthropolgy had yet to formulate a theory that would remain all inclusive for different family types while universally applicable to existing and developing ideas of family. Analysis is conducted on data collected from longitudinal studies taken from across the globe. Secondary analysis is used to determine cross cultural and longitudinal variation.
The discussion of family structure is set up in 4 sections: the need for universally applicable theory, definition of terms used in distinguishing family types, methodology for categorizing family types, further explanation of two step analysis. Mukherjee’s argument takes shape in sections 3 & 4, where detailed explanation of methodology is covered. The conclusion is a method of analysis that will allow anthropologist to accurately categorize family types in all their diversity.
Mukherjee’s argument is difficult to follow at times due to the number of variables, the short hand notation for each variable, and level of understanding of statistic needed in order to follow the methodology. During the discussion of methodology the reader may lose track of the definitions for the numerous variables or miss the overall theory, by focusing on the details of the statistical analysis. Mukherjee makes a considerable contribution to understanding the variation of family units and creates a theory that seeks universal applicability and longitudinal flexibility.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
MARY SQUARE Davidson College (Eriberto P. Lozada Jr.)
Nag, Moni. Sex, Culture, and Human Fertility: India and the United States. Current Anthropology April, 1972 Vol. 13 (2): 231-237.
Saucier, Jean- Francois. Correlates of the Long Postpartum Taboo: A Cross Cultural Study. Current Anthropology April, 1972 Vol. 13 (2): 238-258.
Sussman, Robert W. Addendum: Child Transport, Family Size, and Increase in Human Population During the Neolithic. Current Anthropology April, 1972 Vol. 13 (2) 258-267.
In these articles Nag, Saucier, and Sussman examine population problems within the context of anthropology. All three articles make arguments for why populations have increased so dramatically in particular areas of the world and during particular periods in history. Nag attributes population increases to high levels of fertility due to high frequencies of coitus. Saucier, however, focuses his study on postpartum abstinence length. Saucier found that variables such as tropical climate, poor nutrition, as well as other factors such as extensive agriculture, and localized kin groups, favor a long postpartum taboo. Finally, Sussman argued that an increase in food production during the Neolithic period was not a sufficient explanation for the expansion of the Neolithic population. Rather, Sussman argues the acquisition of sedentary habits caused an increase in the population.
The arguments are set up in sections focusing on specific subtopics of case studies of groups. Nag’s paper is divided into three sections: frequency of coitus and probability of conception, views on frequency of coitus in India, and data on coital frequency in India and the United States. He begins his study by describing how the frequency of coitus is an important factor in determining the likelihood of conception. The discussion then moves to a more concentrated study of coitus in India. High fertility can not be attributed to high frequency of coitus in India. Finally, Nag argues that the average frequency of coitus of Indian women, due to several cultural factors, was found to be less than that among American white women.
Saucier’s paper is divided up into four concentrated studies of different cultural groups: the Ashanti of southern Ghana, the Tenetehara of northern Brazil, the Venda of the Transvaal, and the Abipon of Paraguay. The postpartum taboo of the Ashanti and the Tenetehara is short, between three to seven months, while the postpartum taboo of the Veneda and the Abipon is very long, between three to five years. Saucier then goes into a discussion of the many different correlations of the postpartum taboo: economic and demographic correlates, sociopolitical correlates, and kinship correlates.
Sussman begins his argument by addressing the assumption that the increase in food production led to a population increase. Sussman dismisses this notion as not a cause but merely a correlation. He uses research gathered by Schaller on the Kabara gorillas in the Congo to support his conclusion. Schaler’s research shows that the spacing of births in the gorilla population is an important factor in limiting the population growth of gorillas and that such spacing is the result of the long infant dependency and the need to carry the dependent infant while the gorilla troop is moving. Sussman argues then, that like the gorillas, populations which must move constantly in order to obtain food will limit the number of children a woman can rear because she is their mode of transportation and support. The preagricultural era, therefore, saw a smaller population growth compared to the later sedentary, agricultural populations.
A commentary section concluded the Saucier and Sussman articles. In these comments, the scholars pointed out several methodological flaws as well as recognizing achievements made in research. Criticisms ranged from finding inaccuracies in comparing the non cultural spacing mechanisms among gorillas and the social spacing mechanisms of early man, to finding flaw in using “taboo” because of its strong negative connotations of forbidden behavior and supernatural sanctions.
Saucier concludes the articles with a reply to the commentators. He argues four points: that the postpartum taboo can’t be defined as a specific method of birth control, second, that after a few months the taboo would become burdensome to women who would no longer be in an emotional state of disinterest in sexual intercourse, third, that while many ethnographic reports concerning customs related to childbirth the postpartum taboo seems to be an integrated aspect of specific societies, and finally, that the taboo can only be maintained in small communities with localized kin groups and that exposure to the outside world makes the taboo less likely to be maintained.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
KATHERINE H. CASHWELL Davidson College (Eriberto Lozada Jr.)
Nakane, Chie. Japanese Society. Current Anthropology December 1972 Vol.13(5):575-582.
In the précis to her book, Japanese Society, Chie Nakane summarizes the construction of her image of Japan. She attempts to provide the key to unlock the mysteries of Japanese life, not through a cultural or historical explanation, but through a structural analysis. She contends that the basic characteristic of social structure in Japan is the vertical principle and that this principle has persisted unchanged from the past to the present.
According to Nakane, the most important feature of Japanese social organization is the single bond between individuals or groups, at the core of which is the relationship between persons of unequal ranks, expressed in the terms oyabun (having the status of a parent) and kobun (having the status of a child).
According to Nakane, this hierarchical ranking is the principal controlling factor of social relations in Japan. In particular, she focuses the lifetime-employment seniority system, in which it is more advantageous for a man to remain in one group and gradually work his way up than attempt to change groups and do so. Nakane also stresses that this value orientation of the Japanese man (i.e. a good citizen remains in one company throughout his life) leads to localism. That is, his comrades are found within or around his place of work. By extension, unanimous decision-making and majority rule within a group is always valued.
Further, the possibility of disruption of groups and the development of factions is always present, because the existence of competing, equal groups is an unstable situation. Rather, stability stems from the imbalance between groups. As a result of this stratification by institution, in Japanese society groups or companies compete horizontally with one another, not vertically within themselves. These characteristics of Japanese society also aid in the development of state political organization. Since competing groups rarely are able to reach consensus, they are not able to affectively deal with the state administration, and this facilitates the acceptance of state power.
Finally, Nakane feels that the strength of verticality has been invaluable in the modernization process. She argues that the dynamics of the relative rankings between essentially uniform individuals are found in Japanese society at large, and that this sharply contrasts with the caste system, such as that of India. Also, while others view the oyabun-kobun system as “feudal” and “traditional”, Nakane emphasizes that it embodies the same ideas as the modern bureaucratic system, and that without it Japan’s present economic and industrial success would not have been possible.
Most reviewers of Nakane’s book recognize that she identifies the most important element of Japanese society, verticality, but that her work has numerous shortcomings and is often over generalized and unscientific. Several reviewers also cited some central concepts to her argument which are not defined in her précis, such as the ie, a household-family, which Nakane views as key to the development of modern Japan, and the distinction between frame and attribute, which Ernest Brandewie recognizes is not fully developed in Japanese Society. Also, Robert M. Marsh questions Nakane’s understanding of the vertical principle. He believes it is a tendency in Japanese society, not a “near-constant” as Nakane proposes. Finally, several reviewers agree that her juxtaposition with the Indian caste system, and the subsequent jumping back and forth, is confusing and rarely comes to any logical conclusion.
Chie Nakane begins her reply to the reviewers by addressing the issues of over generalization and the unscientific nature of her work. She concedes that no one social principle can fully explain an entire society and clearly states that her book’s form “is not that of a scientific thesis.”In addition, Nakane clarifies her concepts of frame and attribute and responds to Marsh, criticizing his view of her “near-constant” model as a prejudiced view of the structural approach as static. She further argues that there exist many variables to explain Japanese society, but none more important than the vertical principle. Finally, Nakane clarifies that it was not her intention to make a comparative study of India and other countries but to challenge the common approach of dealing with Japan as a local issue with which only those interested are concerned.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
ANDRÉ A. GUIMARÃES Davidson College (Eriberto P. Lozada Jr.)
Nash, Dennison & Ronald Wintrob. The Emergence of Self-Consciousness in Ethnography. Current Anthropology December, 1972 Vol.13 (5):527-543.
Anthropologists have tried to shelter themselves for too long from the scrutiny that once accompanied emotional ties relating to field research. Dennison Nash and Ronald Wintrob made it a point in their article to show that in the past, many anthropologists were scared to let their feeling be known, but with the break through of some of the most influential anthropologist (e.g. Boas, Malinowski…), suppression of ones feelings during anthropological research was no longer necessary or required.
The main question that was put forth in this article was to what extent could the field of anthropology allow its researchers to openly voice their biases within their field research? This question was addressed quickly as Nash and Wintrob noted the increasing number of diaries and open accounts of field experiences being written about at that point. When that the mid-nineteen hundreds rolled around, it was becoming more and more clear to researchers that “participant observations” were going to have to be accepted (530).
This idea was widely acknowledged when Nash and Wintrob contributed a list of four reasons why anthropological views pertaining to ethnographies were gradually changing. It became very obvious that the separation of emotions from ethnographic research was almost impossible. Nash and Wintrob stated, (1) changes began to take place as the researchers involvement with their participants began to increase at a rapid rate. (2) As the researchers formulated closer relationships with their participants, the field of anthropology was becoming increasingly “democratic” (530). (3) Researchers needed to spend more time in the field, because more than one anthropologist was studying the same culture. It became necessary for the researchers to produce better data, and that in turn meant closer ties with their research participants. (4) Lastly, researchers had to become more respectful of their participants. Scientists could no longer accept work that did not reflect the ways of the people that they were studied. They were going to have to supply more reliable information.
As Nash and Wintrob conclude their article, they made it a point to state that ethnographies were becoming more of an open research project, where the researcher is allowed to interject their personal feelings and experiences within their work.
In response to the article written by Nash and Wintrob, the critics had much to say. They were both positive and negative in their responses to the material. For the most part, the critics mentioned their reactions to the four points that Nash and Wintrob laid out within their work. The responses stated anything from they loved the material and look forward to reading more articles from Nash and Wintrob to they hated the article and think that Nash and Wintrob did not even know what issue to address. Overall, the critics appeared to like at least part of the article that was presented.
Nash and Wintrob seemed to only have a problem with the critique offered by Rosalie Wax (the most negative critic of the ones offered on this article). Their rebuttal to her statement was in defense of their article’s topic, because she did not like the one that they chose to discuss. In defense of the rest of their article, Nash and Wintrob reiterated the importance of knowing the boundaries that do/do not exist between the ethnographer and his/her participants (541). Over all, Nash and Wintrob responded with confidence, because they had done their job in addressing the issue that they were presenting to their readers.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
TAMARA R. GALLEN Davidson College (Eriberto Lozada)
Polgar, Steven. Population History and Population Policies from an Anthropological Perspective. Current Anthropology 1972 Vol.13(2):203-211.
Hall, Roberta L. The Demographic Transition: Stage Four. Current Anthropology 1972 Vol.13(2):212-215.
Hinshaw, Robert; Pyeatt, Patrick; Habicht, Jean-Pierre. Environmental Effects on Child-Spacing and Population Increase in Highland Guatemala. Current Anthropology 1972 Vol.13(2):216-230.
Human population has commonly been examined through a three-stage model: a first stage of high birth and high mortality rates characterized by a stable population size, a second stage of high birth and low mortality rates characterized by large population growth, and a third stage of low birth and low death rates once again characterized by a stable population size. Such a three-stage approach has dominated the field of population studies, and these three papers seek to improve upon this model by examining population characteristics from an anthropological approach.
Hall and Polgar both base their papers on the model of population stages. Hall develops on this model by using data for the United States in the twentieth century to identify a fourth stage in which population growth is tied to the domestic economic situation. She then posits a possibly emerging fifth stage in which fertility becomes negatively related to female income and labor force participation. Polgar begins his paper by recounting the history of population size, and continues targeting frequent government policies of limiting population size in order to nudge a country into the third stage. Such policies, he holds, often prove ineffective because they misidentify the true determinates of large family size. In place of such policies, he advocates consideration of the cultural attitudes toward child bearing and the cultural implications of population policies.
While Hall and Polgar deal with broad theories for or across nations, Hinshaw et al. examine three Guatemalan communities in their paper. Using census data from 1950 through 1964, the authors compare population and other characteristics of the villages. They conclude that economic differences, and the resulting variety of access to health care and other services, cannot adequately explain the population differences between these communities. Rather, changing cultural norms across and between these communities influence both the desired number of children and the spacing between children.
Ultimately, these three papers maintain that the simple, three-stage model, rooted in Malthusian population concepts, simplifies population dynamics and ignores the range of motives involved childbearing.
CLARITY RANKING (Polgar): 4, (Hall): 4 , (Hinshaw et al.): 5
JOHANNES NORLING Davidson College (Eriberto P. Lozada, Jr.)
Shea, Mary B., Emmons, Mary E. Anthropology and Social Problems: Population; Environment; Education. Current Anthropology April, 1972 Vol.13(2):279-283.
This article addresses the issues discussed at the 1971 inaugural conference for the Center for the Study of Man. The conference was designed to develop a relationship between anthropology and current issues facing mankind. Members of the conference split into three groups concentrating on problems of population, the environment, and education.
Methods for research in cross-cultural studies of demographics were the main focus of the group concerned with issues of population. The members contributed to a manual of recommended procedures to be used by anthropologists studying population dynamics. The conference also stressed the need for demographic data on non-Western groups for population studies. The second group interested in ecological issues also discussed the methodologies used to study the dynamics between populations and their environment. Several participants including Kent Flannery suggested approaching human interactions with their environment as part of an ecosystem and this method would improve the understanding of human effects on the environment and vice versa (281). The topics addressed ranged from air pollution to large-scale development and ecocide. The group involved in addressing issues of education focused on the need for further anthropological input in cross-cultural studies of education. For example, scholars should be involved in the formation of school curriculums to address matters like the societal importance of education and to ensure the compatibility of culture values with the methods of teaching used in schools.
All three subgroups proposed that anthropologists work with experts in specific fields to obtain useful data and to exchange ideas between the two areas. Participants at the conference also recommended that specialists employ anthropological insight in approaching issues of population, environment, and education. Although the members recognized the limitations of their efforts toward these issues, they understand the improvements that can be achieved through collective awareness of these issues.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
JULIE F. ROWELL Davidson College (Eriberto P. Lozada Jr.)
Sorenson, Richard E. Socio-Ecological Change Among the Fore of New Guinea. Current Anthropology June- October, 1972 Vol.13(3/4): 349-383
This article demonstrates the ways in which new crops, technology, and contact with outsiders (Australians) produced social change in the Fore culture of New Guinea. In the 19th century the sweet potato was introduced to the Fore. This crop was perfect for the soil of New Guinea. As a result of the sweet potato, there was an increase in human and pig population. With an increased human and pig population came a new demand for land, which had never been a problem within the Fore culture. The new demand placed on land caused interethnic warfare between different hamlets. As a result, the Fore egalitarian system allowed the creation of the pig exchange and pig gift feasts to curtail or end warfare.
A century after the sweet potato, the Australians in the 1950’s set-up administrative posts throughout the Fore lands. In addition, they introduced steel axes, Western medicines, and cloth, expanded the road systems, and provided court arbitration. The arrival of the Australians and their administrative posts caused the Fore people to begin constructing hamlets very close to the outposts, creating new large villages rather than small groups of hamlets. Also, they used the new judicial system to settle land disputes and other matters that had not existed previously. The new road system allowed more travel and exchange between Fore groups far away. The new peace and prosperity led to the Fore producing coffee as a cash crop. The newly found wealth of the Fore presented the opportunity to purchase more Western goods.
DEMORRIO THOMAS Davidson College (Eriberto Lozada)
Wilkinson, Paul F. Oomingank: A Model for Man- Animal Relationships in Prehistory.Current Anthropology, Vol. 13, No. 1 (Febuary, 1972), 23-44.
Paul F. Wilkinson makes an in depth study of a contemporary project, the Musk Ox Domestication Project, to create a possible model for types of domestication of animals that could have occurred in prehisoric times. “Oomingank” is the Eskimo term for “musk ox,” a wool producing animal native to the artic. The Musk Ox Domestication Project is an attempt to make profitable and safe exploitation of musk ox wool, to give the Eskimo community an industry all their own, and an economic boost. The majority of the article describes this process and its economic and environmental viability, detailing the history and planned future.
The anthropological importance of the paper is evident throughout it, however. Wilkinson discusses the fact that very little prehistoric animal domestication is evident through archeology. It is Wilkinson’s thesis that this does not indicate that animal domestication did not occur at this time. He shows that the current musk ox project would have little visible archeological indicators. Wilkinson hypothesizes that without evidence against animal domestication in prehistory, it is reasonable to assume that such relationships could have and did exist.
Wilkinson designs a classification system including three types of animal domestications, more specific than the old standard of breaking man- animal relations into only hunter/ prey and pasoralist/ herd roles. The new classifications are based on the presence of environmental adjustments, taming, selective breeding, and other adaptations common to animal domestication. He concludes by citing several cases in which various pieces of anthropological data correspond to one of his three type of relationships, demonstrating the liklihood that such man-animal relationships were common in prehistory.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
JAMES C. SHELTON Davidson College (Eribeerto P. Lozada)