Studying Societies and Cultures: Marvin Harris's Cultural Materialism and its Legacy

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Nonspecific Binding
  • Copyright: 2008-01-30
  • Publisher: Routledge

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One of the most important anthropologists of all time, Marvin Harris was influential worldwide as the founder of cultural materialism. This book accessibly analyzes Harris's theories and their important legacies today. The chapters explore cultural materialism's epistemology and its relation to rational choice theory, Darwinian social science, and population pressures. The authors assess recent attempts to extend and reformulate cultural materialism and highlight cross-cultural, archaeological, and ethnographic applications of cultural materialism today.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
List of Contributorsp. ix
Introduction: The Potentials and Challenges of Cultural Materialismp. 1
The Legacy of Cultural Materialism: I
The Impact of Cultural Materialism: A Bibliometric Analysis of the Writings of Marvin Harrisp. 20
The Theoretical Legacies of Cultural Materialism and Marvin Harrisp. 56
The Epistemology of Cultural Materialism
Cultural Materialism, Scientific Anthropology, Epistemology, and "Narrative Ethnographies of the Particular"p. 66
Cultural Materialism, Rational Choice, and the Problem of General Ethnography: Marvin Harris and the Struggle for Science in Anthropologyp. 78
Applications of Cultural Materialism
Materialist Particularity in Nuclear Micronesia: A Pre-Postmodernist Theory of Cultural Evolutionp. 104
Linking Past and Present: Cultural Materialism, Archaeology, and the Medieval Transition in the Aegeanp. 128
Effects of the Physical and Social Environment on Culture: Results of Cross-Cultural Testsp. 153
The Darwinian Challenge to Cultural Materialism
The Effect of Nepotism on the Evolution of Social Inequalityp. 168
Coevolutionary Materialismp. 180
Marvin Harris, Meet Charles Darwin: A Critical Evaluation and Theoretical Extension of Cultural Materialismp. 194
The Legacy of Cultural Materialism: II
What Role Does Population Pressure Play in the Evolutionary Dynamics of Marvin Harris?p. 230
Evolutionary Materialism and Darwinian Conflict Theory: A Critical Analysis of Stephen Sanderson's Extensions of Cultural Materialismp. 238
When Is a Theoretical Strategy Not Cultural Materialism? Comments on Kennedy's Critique of Evolutionary Materialism and Darwinian Conflict Theoryp. 256
Requiscat in Pace-Obituaries of Marvin Harris "Marvin Harris, 74, Is Dead; Professor Was Iconoclast of Anthropologists"p. 261
"Marvin Harris (1927-2001)"p. 263
Selected Other Obituaries of Marvin Harrisp. 268
Bibliography of Marvin Harris, 1952-2001p. 269
Referencesp. 285
Indexp. 313
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