Theories Of Culture In Postmodern Times / Edition 1

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

Choice
Let the grinches who stole culture give it back,' demands Harris in this very readable and vigorous call for a revival of a science-oriented anthropology. . . . Harris argues that a cultural materialist research strategy is a necessary antidote to misdirections in anthropological theory such as the 'anything goes' eclecticism and antiscientific epistemology of postmodernism, as well as to the misuses of science within neo-Darwinism and other forms of biological reductionism. Familiar arguments and interpretations are revived and applied to topics such as the origins of capitalism, the demise of the Soviet Union, historical inaccuracies in Afrocentrism and other examples of 'ethnomania,' and blatant racism in Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray's The Bell Curve. The book may be welcomed for the opportunity it offers to a new generation of students to review some of the major theoretical controversies found within anthropology over the past four decades. . . . General readers, upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty.
— B. Tavakolian, Denison University
International Studies in Philosophy, Vol. Xxxv. No.2, 2003 - I. C. Jarvie
[Harris] is an especially acute guide. . . . [He] has written an excellent book for students. Its references are wide-ranging, its arguments always succinctly stated, its sentiments critical and truth-seeking...His clear-eyed depiction of the deficiencies of the rearguard arguments of Marxists is a particular treat.
CHOICE - B. Tavakolian
'Let the grinches who stole culture give it back,' demands Harris in this very readable and vigorous call for a revival of a science-oriented anthropology. . . . Harris argues that a cultural materialist research strategy is a necessary antidote to misdirections in anthropological theory such as the 'anything goes' eclecticism and antiscientific epistemology of postmodernism, as well as to the misuses of science within neo-Darwinism and other forms of biological reductionism. Familiar arguments and interpretations are revived and applied to topics such as the origins of capitalism, the demise of the Soviet Union, historical inaccuracies in Afrocentrism and other examples of 'ethnomania,' and blatant racism in Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray's The Bell Curve. The book may be welcomed for the opportunity it offers to a new generation of students to review some of the major theoretical controversies found within anthropology over the past four decades. . . . General readers, upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty.
Booknews
A unification of many of the author's ideas over the last two decades into a contemporary statement on anthropological theory and practice. Harris (emeritus, anthropology, Columbia U.) presents his current views on the nature of culture, addressing such issues as the mental/behavioral debate, emics and etics, and anthropological holism. Along the way he critiques many modern trends, from sociobiology to postmodernism to Afrocentrism. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761990215
  • Publisher: AltaMira Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.11 (w) x 9.09 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Meet the Author

University of Florida
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Table of Contents

chapter 1 Preface chapter 2 Part I: CONCEPTUALIZING CULTURE chapter 3 1. What is (are) Culture(s)? chapter 4 2. Emics and Etics chapter 5 3. The Nature of Cultural Things chapter 6 4. Science, Objectivity, Morality chapter 7 Part II: BIOLOGY AND CULTURE chapter 8 5. De-biologizing Culture: The Boasians chapter 9 6. Biologizing Inequality chapter 10 7. IQ Is Not Forever chapter 11 8. Neo-Darwinism chapter 12 9. Confronting Ethnomania chapter 13 PART III: EXPLANATORY PRINCIPLES chapter 14 10. Holism chapter 15 11. Cultural Materialism chapter 16 12. Post-Modernism chapter 17 PART IV: MACRO-EVOLUTION chapter 18 13. Origins of Capitalism chapter 19 14. The Soviet Collapse chapter 20 References chapter 21 About the Author chapter 22 Index
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