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Showing papers in "Annual Review of Anthropology in 1972"


Journal ArticleDOI

107 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The relationship between history and anthropology has too often been viewed in terms of the misleading dichotomy between the ideographic, the specific and unique, and the nomothetic, the abstract, and general as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: The relationship between history and anthropology has too often been viewed in terms of the misleading dichotomy between the ideographic, the specific and unique, and the nomothetic, the abstract, and general (see, for example, Boas 13; Harris 40; Kroeber 46; White 102). Nagel (67), who traces the dichotomy back to Aristotle, has convincingly demonstrated the use of generalizations and specific cases in both history and science, and Sahlins and Service have done a similar thing through their analysis of specific and general evolution (75). The early evolutionists were not historical in the ideographic sense but they were in the diachronic and documentarian senses. The founding fathers of anthropology-Morgan, Tylor, Maine, Marx, and others-sought to find the origins and antecedents of sociocultural systems and to trace their evolution through time. They based their studies on documentary accounts about native cultures written by travelers, missionaries, etc. As Kroeber repeatedly claimed, the historical approach was precociously applied in the social sciences, compared to the biological and physical sciences (47). The delayed development of a historical approach in the other sciences, Kroeber argued (48), was the requirement of a prior development of systematic, synchronic generalizations. This suggests one explanation for the patently ahistorical phase which followed the evolutionary beginnings of anthropology-viz. the need for detailed, synchronic studies. The aversion of Radcliffe-Brown and Malinowski to historical studies is well known. The structure-functionalism of British social anthropology was ahistorical on all counts. In the study of the structures of whole societies it was nomothetic, in the almost total reliance on ethnographic observations it was antidocumentarian, and in failing to study social change it was synchronic. In spite of Harris' recent attempt to portray the American culture historians' work as exclusively ideographic (41), there is good reason to view it as ahistorical in certain fundamental ways. Certainly the culture historians cannot be accused of failing to make diachronic studies, as under Boas' guidance

56 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In the field of demography, the field has been very much on the rise and shows no sign of being near its peak as discussed by the authors, which is somewhat surprising since so little attenuation has been dev oted to the most common biologic parameters, such as human demog raphy.
Abstract: A common definition of the fi eld of biological anthrop ology i s that it con­ cern s the description, caus es, and consequences of v ari ability in human bio­ logical characteristics. As such i t is somewhat surprising that so little atten­ tion has been dev oted to suc h an i mportant biologic al parameter as human demog raphy. In the ear ly development of anthropology there was a brief i nterest i n demography as attempts were made to discover whether some men had found a way to i ncreas e longevity. These myths persist with reports of great age in the USSR and the South Americ an Andean region. Anthropologists were also c urious about the longevity of our ancestors so that both historic al and skele­ tal studies of mortality were i n v ogue. At the opposite end of the life cycle considerable effort was expended on the s tudy of sex rati os at bi rth and the nature of seasonality i n bir th. Despite these early i nterests the field of demog­ r aphy was not pursued with any depth until recently. At the moment i nterest i n demog raphic data i s very much on the rise and shows no s ign of being near i ts peak. The reasons for the i ncreased inter­ est can be catalogued into three discrete developments of the 1960s. Firs t, the development of extensive research programs on the nonhuman primate i n his natural environment has produced a new body of descriptive data. Second, the develop ment of human p opulation genetics from the general synthetic theory of evolution has indicated the need for new types of demographic data on nonwestern populations . Finally , the strong interest in a subject area best c alled human ecology has suggested new ways in which we can understand the immediate causes and effects of population differences i n demographic c haracteristics. I n this paper we will attempt to highlight the current status of research i n these topics ev en though much of the subject matter has been

52 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Fossil hominid discovery has opened up a wider range of hypothetical possibilities than have been appropropriate in the past as mentioned in this paper, but this does not mean that the truth itself is necessarily simple.
Abstract: The strictures which encompass and define scientific method are high­ lighted in an observational science such as paleontology, which permits prac­ tically no experimentation. Progress in the study of human evolution based on the fossil record has been beset by nearly as many problems as it has solved. While today we know far more of the fossil evidence than those who wrote early in this century, we have also come to realize more clearly the theoretical difficulties which stand in our way. We know that we can never do more than present hypotheses on the basis of presently available evidence. As time-bound creatures, no ultimate truth about the origin and evolution of mankind can ever be known to us. The recent discovery of so many fossil hominids has, as we shall see, opened up a wider range of hypothetical possibilities than have been appro­ priate in the past. Those fossils known earlier in this century, and indeed as late as 1955, could be fitted into a relatively simple and not very controver­ sial phylogenetic lineage. The numerous fossils now known offer alternative interpretations (Figure 1). Since the number of possible hypotheses are both theoretically and practically unlimited, it is essential in our assessment of the present position to evoke the principle of William of Ockham that plurality should not be posited without need (essentia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem), but as Whitehead has pointed out, this does not mean that the truth itself is necessarily simple (127). In this review we shall discuss first some of the most important fossil dis­ coveries since 1955,1 and then consider their conceptual significance. 1 Archaeological sites lacking fossil hominid remains are obviously relevant to an understanding of human evolution. In the present state of our understanding of cultural variation and the taxonomy of tool assemblages, however, it is most unwise to equate a particular culture with a particular hominid taxon. Because of limited

37 citations




Journal ArticleDOI

18 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The first person to consider Stonehenge and Avebury in archaeological perspective was John Aubrey (1626-97) as discussed by the authors, who considered the three subjects of environment, subsistence, and society as the domain of at least one discipline.
Abstract: It is a cliche to begin a review article by acknowledging that the subject is too large to be examined in any comprehensive manner. Environment, subsistence, and society are each the domain of at least one discipline. Environment is considered to be the proper subject for ecologists, biologists, geologists, and geographers; subsistence is the domain of economists, nutritionists, and various agricultural specialists; society is studied by anthropologists, sociologists, and psychologists, to name only a few. Yet some men have attempted to relate the three subjects into an analytical framework. Few men have been as concise and yet been able to maintain as consistent a world view on this subject as John Aubrey (1626-97), the first person to consider Stonehenge and Avebury in archaeological perspective. He stated:

12 citations


Journal ArticleDOI

10 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors focus on the issues of theory in syntax and semantics are the same as those in phonology and morphology, including criteria of category and rule types, rule applicability, naturalness of linguistic generaliza- tions, diachrony versus synchrony.
Abstract: In one sense "linguistic theory" is whatever linguistic theorists choose to do. In the late 1940s, for example, they sought to characterize the relation­ ship between some corpus, whether fixed or potential, and an analytic state­ ment of structure. With the self-proclaimed revolution in the field during the past 15 or so years, linguistic theory in the dominant school has been defined as the construction of a universal theory of grammar in the sense of neces­ sary universals of linguistic "competence." This is from the point of view of what linguistic theorists are doing. Clearly all linguists at all times have as a general aim the elucidation of language in every respect; this is the ideal lin­ guistic theory. To a great extent, the issues of theory in syntax and semantics are the same as those in phonology and morphology. These include criteria of cate­ gory and rule types, rule applicability, naturalness of linguistic generaliza­ tions, diachrony versus synchrony. Inasmuch as the most intense recent con­ troversy has detailed areas of "syntax," broadly conceived, and "meaning," and because of severe space limitations on the current report, I limit my ex­ position to these concerns. In addition, this discussion of the more restricted area is based principally on the last two bibliographical years, with emphasis intended to be in proportion to the work reported. During this period linguis­ tic theory as defined by the transformational generative point of view contin­ ued to dominate the field as the most formalized, most developed, and most explicit framework.

9 citations



Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A review of studies in the physical anthropology of modern man concerns papers that have appeared in the period from mid-1969 to mid-1971 as mentioned in this paper, and aims to show how much activity there is in each major topic of investigation in the biological study of populations of man.
Abstract: This review of studies in the physical anthropology of modern man concerns papers that have appeared in the period from mid-1969 to mid-1971. Though far from comprehensive it aims to show how much activity there is in each major topic of investigation in the biological study of populations of man that exist today, and to pick out any trends in investigation that may be detectable. Several topics have been intentionally excluded, e.g. behavior studies, psychometric investigations, descriptive osteometry, and epidemiological works relating to particular disease states.

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