Theories of Culture in Postmodern Times

Front Cover
Rowman Altamira, 1999 - Social Science - 224 pages
Marvin Harris is arguably the most influential, prolific anthropological theorist of our time. This book brings together many of the strands of his work of the past two decades into a unified, contemporary statement on anthropological theory and practice. In this book, he presents his current views on the nature of culture addressing such issues as the mental/behavioral debate, emics and etics, and anthropological holism. He resoundly critiques many current theoretical trends_from sociobiology to postmodernism to Afrocentrism. And he offers a cultural materialist perspective on diverse contemporary issues such as the IQ question and the fall of communism. Harris' thought-provoking and controversial theoretical views will be required reading for all anthropologists, social theorists, and their students.
 

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Contents

What Is Are Cultures?
19
Emes
20
Culture as Idea and Behavior
22
Animal Cultures
25
No Consensus
28
Emics and Etics
31
Whose Community of Observers?
33
SubjectiveObjective
34
Origins of Ethnomania
112
Ethnicity
114
The Struggle for Ethnic and Racial Empowerment
115
Afrocentric Ethonmania
116
Inventing African History
117
The StolenCulture Myth
118
Egyptian Colors
119
Why Africa Lags
120

InsiderOutsider
35
CognizedOperational
36
EmicEtic vs MentalBehavioral
37
Dead Participants
38
Emics and Etics of Behavior
39
Are Etic and Emic Accounts Always Different?
40
The Rejection of Etics
41
An Ethnographic Disaster
43
Sacred Cow Revisted
44
The Importance of Etics
45
Ertic Accounts Needed for Prediction
47
The Nature of Cultural Things
49
Metaphysical Hocus Pocus
51
Physical Reality
52
Foundations of Supraindividual Holism
54
Holism and Individualism Need Each Other
55
Science Objectivity Morality
57
The Unity of Science and Morality
58
The Importance of Getting It Right
60
Critical Anthropology
61
Getting It Wrong
62
BIOLOGY AND CULTURE
65
DeBiologizing Culture The Boasians
67
Opposition to Biologized Theories of Culture
69
Confronting the Emics of Race
73
Race and Disease
76
Biologizing Inequality
79
The Rise of the Custodial State
81
IQ Is Destiny
83
Learning to Live with Inequality
85
Valued Places
86
Policy Recommendations
88
Neglected causes and Processes
89
IQ and Race
93
The Flynn Effect
95
IQ Studies and Politics
96
NeoDarwinism
99
Cultural Selection Does Not Always Favor Reproductive Success
100
Measuring Reproductive Success
102
Alternative Theories
104
A Misleading Analogy
106
Confronting Ethnomania
111
The Development of Underdevelopment
122
Melanin Theory
123
Albino Theory
125
Iceman Theory
127
EXPLANATORY PRINCIPLES
131
Holism
133
LaundryList Holism
135
Processual Holism
137
Cultural Materialism
141
Economics
142
Who Benefits?
143
Causality
144
Neutral and Dysfunctional Features
145
The Role of Meaning and Ideas
147
Religion in Command?
148
Long and Short Term
149
Human Agency
150
Probabilistic Determinism
151
Values and Praxis
152
Postmodernism
153
Pomo Modes of Discourse
156
Postprocessualism
157
Improving the Reliability of Ethnography
158
Human Agency
159
MACROEVOLUTION
161
Origins of Capitalism
163
Max Webers Theory
165
Marxist Explanations
166
The Question of Timing
169
The Soviet Collapse
175
Strategies for Saving Marxism
176
The Collapse and Cultural Materialism
179
Declining Efficiency of Soviet Infrastructure
180
Structural Incompatibilities
181
The Nationalist Surge
184
Primacy of Infrastructure or Primacy of Politics?
185
Marx Again
187
A Disclaimer
188
References Cited
191
Index
213
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About the author (1999)

University of Florida

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