Against the Grain: The Vayda Tradition in Human Ecology and Ecological Anthropology

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Bradley B. Walters, Bonnie J. McCay, Susan Lees, Paige West
Rowman Altamira, 2008 - Social Science - 382 pages
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To rise to the increasingly urgent challenge of understanding the relationship between human beings and the environment, scholars need to step back and re-evaluate their basic premises about how current explanations should shape the form and content of their research. Against the Grain addresses a variety of topics in the field of human ecology, including ecological anthropology, evolutionary psychology, environmental history, and geography, and challenges scholars to re-think the adequacy of their methods and assumptions. Andrew P. Vayda concludes the volume with a critical commentary on these issues and, more widely, on the subject of explanation. The result is an extremely useful and provocative précis for thinking about, re-evaluating, and rectifying scholarly research.
 

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Contents

An Intellectual History of Ecological Anthropology
11
Maori Warfare Prefiguring Contemporary Directions in Ecological Science
27
Events Causes and Explanations
41
Explaining Causes in Evolving Contexts From Nepali Hill Farmers to Business Managers in Thailand
43
Events Politics and Environmental Change
67
Orthodoxy and Revision in West African Guinea Savanna Ecology
81
Looking for Cause with All the Small Changes Using Event Ecology to Find Human Causes of Biological Invasions
99
Shell Games on the Water Bottoms of Louisiana Investigative Journalism and Anthropological Inquiry
117
Research on Environment and Development
193
What Kind of Anthropology for Successful Conservation Management and Development?
195
Environmental Conservation and Social Life in Papua New Guinea
207
The Concept of Human Agency in Contemporary Conservation and Development
225
Using Progressive Contextualization to Understand a Rural Development Success Story in Indonesian Borneo
255
From Understanding to Action Building on Anthropological Approaches to Influence Policy Making
273
The Relevant Context Environmental Consequences of Images of the Future
287
Indigenous Knowledge and In Situ Crop Germplasm Conservation
307

Process in an Eventful Environment
135
A New Guinea CultureBound Syndrome Revisited Vayda Humility and Monological Authority in Anthropology
145
Deductivenomological vs Causalmechanical Explanation Relative Strengths and Weaknesses in Anthropological Explanation
159
Vayda Blues Explanation in Darwinian Ecological Anthropology
175
Concluding Essay
315
Causal Explanation as a Research Goal A Pragmatic View
317
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About the author (2008)

Bradley B. Walters is associate professor of geography & environment at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. Bonnie J. McCay is Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, in the Department of Human Ecology. Paige West is assistant professor of anthropology at Barnard College, New York. Susan Lees is professor emerita of anthropology at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

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