ANTHROPOLOGICAL THEORIES

A GUIDE PREPARED BY STUDENTS FOR STUDENTS

The guides to anthropological theories and approaches listed below have been prepared by graduate students of the University of Alabama under the direction of Dr. Michael D. Murphy.  As always, !Caveat Retis Viator! (Let the Net Traveller Beware!)

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Cultural Materialism

Catherine Buzney and Jon Marcoux

(Note: authorship is arranged stratigraphically with the most recent author listed first)

Basic Premises:

Coined by Marvin Harris in his 1968 text, The Rise of Anthropological Theory, cultural materialism embraces three anthropological schools of thought, cultural materialism, cultural evolution and cultural ecology (Barfield 1997: 232).  Risen as an expansion of Marxism materialism, cultural materialism explains cultural similarities and differences as well as models for cultural change within a societal framework consisting of three distinct levels:  infrastructure, structure and superstructure.  Cultural materialism promotes the idea that infrastructure, consisting of “material realities” such as technological, economic and reproductive (demographic) factors mold and influence the other two aspects of culture.  The “structure” sector of culture consists of organizational aspects of culture such as domestic and kinship systems and political economy, while the “superstructure” sector consists of ideological and symbolic aspects of society such as religion.  Therefore, cultural materialists believe that technological and economic aspects play the primary role in shaping a society. Cultural materialism aims to understand the effects of technological, economic and demographic factors on molding societal structure and superstructure through strictly scientific methods.  As stated by Harris, cultural materialism strives to “cre ate a pan-human science of society whose findings can be accepted on logical and evidentiary grounds by the pan-human community" (Harris 1979: xii). Cultural materialism is an expansion upon Marxist materialism.  Marx suggested that there are three levels of culture, infrastructure, structure, and superstructure; however, unlike Marxist theory, cultural materialism views both productive (economic) and reproductive (demographic) forces as the primary factors which shape society.  Therefore, cultural materialism explains the structural features of a society in terms of production within the infrastructure only (Harris 1996: 277). As such, demographic, environmental, and technological changes are invoked to explain cultural variation (Barfield 1997: 232).

In contrast to cultural materialists, Marxists argue that production is a material condition located in the base (See American Material Page) that acts upon and is acted upon by the infrastructure (Harris 1996: 277-178). Furthermore, while Marxist theory suggests that production is a material condition located in the base of society that engages in a reciprocal relationship with societal structure, both acting and being acted upon by the infrastructure sector, cultural materialism proposes that production lies within the infrastructure and that the infrastructure-structure relationship is unidirectional (Harris 1996: 277-278). Thus, cultural materialists see the infrastructure-structure relationship as being mostly in one direction, while Marxists see the relationship as reciprocal. Cultural materialism also differs from Marxism in its lack of class theory. While Marxism suggests that culture change only benefits the ruling class,  cultural materialism addresses relations of unequal power recognizing innovations or changes that benefit both upper and lower classes (Harris 1996: 278). Despite the fact that both cultural materialism and Marxism are evolutionary in proposing that culture change results from innovations selected by society because of beneficial increases to productive capabilities, cultural materialism does not envision a final utopian form as visualized by Marxism (Engels, quoted by Harris 1979: 141-142; Harris 1996: 280).

Cultural Materialists believe that all societies operate according to  model in which production and reproduction dominate and determine the other sectors of culture (See Key Concepts ‘Priority of Infrastructure’), effectively serving as the driving forces behind all cultural development.  They propose that all non-infrastructure aspects of society are created with the purpose of benefitting societal productive and reproductive capabilities.  Therefore, systems such as government, religion, law, and kinship are considered to be constructs that only exist for the sole purpose of promoting production and reproduction.  Calling for empirical research and strict scientific methods in order to make accurate comparisons between separate cultures, proponents of cultural materialism believe that its perspective effectively explains both intercultural variation and similarities (Harris 1979: 27).  As such, demographic, environmental, and technological changes are invoked to explain cultural variation (Barfield 1997: 232). 

Points of Reaction:

As with other forms of materialism, cultural materialism  emerged in the late 1960s as a reaction to cultural relativism and idealism.  At the time, anthropological thought was dominated by theorists who located culture change in human systems of thought rather than in material conditions (i.e. Durkheim and Levi-Strauss). Harris critiqued idealist and relativist perspectives which claimed that comparisons between cultures are non-productive and irrelevant because each culture is a product of its own dynamics. Marvin Harris argued that these approaches remove culture from its material base and place it solely within the minds of its people. With their strictly emic approach, Harris stated that idealists and relativists fail to be holistic, violating a principal tenet of anthropological research (see Key Concepts) (Harris 1979; 1996: 277). By focusing on observable, measurable phenomena, cultural materialism presents an etic (viewed from outside of the target culture) perspective of society. 

Leading Figures:

Marvin Harris (1927-) was educated at Columbia University where he received his Ph.D. in 1953. In 1968, Harris wrote The Rise of Anthropological Theory in which he lays out the foundations of cultural materialism (CM) and critically considers other major anthropological theories; this work drew significant criticism from proponents of other viewpoints.  (Barfield 1997: 232). Harris studied cultural evolution using a CM research strategy. His work with India’s sacred cow myth (1966) is seen by many as his most successful CM analysis (Ross 1980).  In this work, Harris considers the taboo against cow consumption in India, demonstrating how economic and technological factors within the infrastructure affect the other two sectors of culture, resulting in superstructural ideology.  In this work, Harris shows the benefits of juxtaposing both etic and emic perspectives in demonstrating how various phenomena which appear non-adaptive are, in fact, adaptive. Harris also made a concerted effort to write for a more general audience. His 1977 work Cannibals and Kings: The Origins of Culture laid out in CM terms the evolutionary trajectories that lead to all features of human society (i.e., population growth, technological change, ecological change) (Harris 1977). This work also represents the point at whi ch many believe Harris started placing too much emphasis on material conditions in explaining human society (Brfield 1997: 232). Harris’ critics argued that his use of CM to explain all cultural phenomena was too simplistic and, as a result, many criticized and even dismissed his work (Friedman 1974).

In spite of his critics, Harris left a significant legacy having successfully created  an anthropological theory and disseminated it to both students and the public. His work is widely cited by both proponents and critics of cultural materialism, and as of 1997, Harris’ anthropological textbook Culture, People, Nature was in its seventh edition, attesting to the quality of his work (Barfield 1997: 232).

Julian Steward (1902 – 1972) developed the principal of cultural ecology, which holds that the environment is an additional, contributing factor in the shaping of cultures.    He defined multilinear evolution as a methodology concerned with regularity in social change, the goal of which is to develop cultural laws empirically.  He termed his approach multilinear evolution, and defined it as "a methodology concerned with regularity in social change, the goal of which is to develop cultural laws empirically" (Bohannan and Glazer 1988:321). In essence, Steward proposed that, methodologically, one must look for "parallel developments in limited aspects of the cultures of specifically identified societies" (Hoebel 1958:90). Once parallels in development are identified, one must then look for similiar causal explanations. Steward also developed the idea of culture types that have "cross-cultural validity and show the following characteristics: (1) they are made up of selected cultural elements rather than cultures as wholes; (2) these cultural elements must be selected in relationship to a problem and to a frame of reference; and (3) the cultural elements that are selected must have the same functional relationships in every culture fitting the type" (Bohannan and Glazer 1988:321).

Leslie White (1900 – 1975) was concerned with ecological anthropology and energy capture as a measure by which to define the complexity of a culture.  He was heavily influenced by Marxian economic theory as well as Darwinian evolutionary theory.  He proposed that Culture = Energy * Technology, suggesting that "culture evolves as the amount of energy harnessed per captia per year is increased, or as the efficiency of the instrumental means of putting the energy to work is increased" (Bohannan and Glazer 1988:340). Energy capture is accomplished through the technological aspect of culture so that a modification in technology could, in turn, lead to a greater amount of energy capture or a more efficient method of energy capture thus changing culture. In other words, "we find that progress and development are effected by the improvement of the mechanical means with which energy is harnessed and put to work as well as by increasing the amounts of energy employed" (Bohannan and Glazer 1988:344). Another premise that White adopts is that the technological system plays a primary role or is the primary determining factor within the cultural system. White's materialist approach is evident in the following quote: "man as an animal species, and consequently culture as a whole, is dependent upon the material, mechanical means of adjustment to the natural environment" (Bohannan and Glazer 1988).

R. Brian Ferguson is a professor within the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers University. Ferguson’s research interests include warfare and political economy in Puerto Rico. He has published several books including Warfare, Culture, and Environment (1984) and Yanomami Warfare: A Political History (1995). Ferguson’s approach to anthropology is very similar to that of cultural materialism, but he argues that the infrastructural factors are not the only sources of culture change;Fergusoninstead, he argues that causal factors may exist throughout the entire sociocultural system, including both structural and superstructural sectors (Ferguson 1995: 24). For example, Ferguson argues that  Puerto Rican sugar plantations were, in fact, cartels politically maintained by statutes of the U.S. congress (Ferguson 1995: 33). Furthermore, he argued that these structural factors allowed for economic inefficiency which ultimately led to the collapse of Puerto Rico’s sugar plantations, subsequently causing hardships for all citizens (Ferguson 1996: 33). In this case, he argues that the infrastructure was  affected by the structure (i.e., the biological well being of citizens of Puerto Rico was affected by a wholly structural factor).

Martin F. Murphy is the chairperson of the Anthropology Department at the University of Notre Dame. . He has published widely on the subject of political organization in the Caribbean, including the book Dominican Sugar Plantations: Production and Foreign Labor Integration (1991) (Murphy and Margolis 1995: 213). In this 1991 work, Murphy seeks to explain the use of foreign labor in sugar production as a response to material conditions such as demography and technology. Specifically, the use of foreign labor, such as Haitian immigrants, is seen as a response to a shortage of native Dominicans who are willing to do that type of intensive labor (1991).

Maxine L. Margolis is a professor of anthropology who works with Marvin Harris at the University of Florida. She has studied culture both in the United States and Brazil with a focus on gender, international migration, and anthropological ecology (Murphy and Margolis 1995: 213). Her works include Mothers and Such: Views of American Women and Why They Changed (1984) and The Moving Frontier: Social and Economic Change in a Southern Brazilian Community (1973).  See “Methodologies” for an example of her CM analysis.

Allen Johnson currently teaches at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research applies a cultural materialism framework to economic anthropology (Murphy and Margolis 1995: 212). One of his most notable works, The Evolution of Human Societies: From Foraging Group to Agrarian State (1987) was co-written with the notable materialist archaeologist Timothy Earle. In this work, the authors use empirical grounds to argue that population growth is a prime cause for culture change; population  growth leads to competition for resources among egalitarian groups, and this competition acts as a catalyst in forming new adaptive modes (Johnson and Earle 1987). Some of these new adaptive modes involve an increase in inequality and the rise of stratified societies. Thus, they argue that social evolution is driven by infrastructural causes. 

Key Works:

  • Burroughs, James E., & Rindfleisch, Aric.  2002.  Materialism and Well-Being:  A Conflicting Values Perspective.  The Journal of Consumer Research 29(3):  348-370. 
  • Dawson, Doyne.  1997.  Review:  Evolutionary materialism.  History and Theory 36(1):  83-92.
  • Ferguson, R. Brian. 1984. Warfare, Culture, and Environment.  Florida:  Academic Press. 
  • Ferguson, R. Brian. 1995.  Yanomami Warfare: A Political History.  New Mexico:  The American School of Research Press.
  • Goodenough, Ward H. 2003.  In pursuit of culture.  Annual Review of Anthropology 32: 1-12.   
  • Harris, Marvin.  1927.  Culture, people, nature:  an introduction to general anthropology.  New York: Crowell.
  • Harris, Marvin. 1966. The Cultural Ecology of India’s Sacred Cattle. Current Anthropology 7:51-66.
  • Harris, Marvin. 1968. The Rise of Anthropological Theory: A History of Theories of Culture. New York: Crowell.
  • Harris, Marvin. 1977. Cannibals and Kings: The Origins of Culture. New York: Random House.
  • Harris, Marvin. 1979. Cultural Materialism: The Struggle for a Science of Culture. New York: Random House.
  • Henrich, Joseph.  2001.  Cultural transmission and the diffusion of innovations: Adoption dynamics indicate that biased cultural transmission is the predominate force in behavioral change. American Anthropologist 103(4):  992-1013. 
  • Johnson, Allen, & Earle, Timothy. 1987.  The Evolution of Human Societies: From Foraging Group to Agrarian State.   California: Stanford University Press. 
  • Manners, Robert A.  1913.  Process and pattern in culture, essays in honor of Julian Steward.  Chicago:  Aldine Pub. Co. 
  • Margolis, Maxine L.  2003.  Marvin Harris (1927-2001).  American Anthropologist 105(3):  685-688. 
  • Margolis, Maxine L. 1984. Mothers and Such: Views of American Women and Why They Changed.  California: University of California Press. 
  • Margolis, Maxine L. 1973. The Moving Frontier: Social and Economic Change in a Southern Brazilian Community.  Florida: University of Florida Press. 
  • Milner, Andrew. 1993.  Cultural Materialism.  Canada:  Melbourne University Press.
  • Murphy Martin, &  Margolis, Maxine (Eds.). 1995. Science, Materialism, and the Study of Culture. Gainesville: University of Florida Press.
  • Murphy, Martin. 1991. Dominican Sugar Plantations: Production and Foreign Labor Integration.  New York:  Praeger Publishers.
  • Nolan, Patrick, & Lenski, Gerhard.  1996.  Technology, Ideology, and Societal Development.  Sociological Perspectives 36(1):  23-38.
  • Roseberry, William.  1997.  Marx and Anthropology.  Annual Review of Anthorpology 26:  25-46. 
  • Ross, Eric (Ed.).  1980. Beyond the Myths of Culture: Essays.  In Cultural Materialism. New York: Academic Press.
  • Steward, Jane C., & Murphy, Robert. F. (Eds.).  1977.  Evolution and ecology:  essays on social transformation.  Urbana:  University of Illinois Press. 
  • Steward, Julian. 1955.  Chapter 20:  The Concept and Method of Cultural Ecology.  In Theory of Culture Change. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, pp. 30-42. 
  • White, Leslie. 1959.  Energy and Tools.  In: Paul A. Erickson & Liam D. Murphy (Eds.), Readings for a History of Anthropological Theory.  Ontario:  Broadview Press, pp. 259-277.
  • White, Leslie A., & Dillingham, Beth.  1973.  The concept of culture.  Minneapolis: Burgess Pub. Co. 
  • Whitely, Peter M.  2003.  Leslie White’s Hopi Ethnography:  Of Practice and in Theory.  Journal of Anthropological Research 59(2):  151-181. 
  • Wolf, Eric. 1982. Introduction to Europe and the People Without History.  In Paul A. Erickson and Liam D. Murphy (Eds.), Readings for a History of Anthropological Theory.   Ontario:  Broadview Press, pp. 370-386.

Principal Concepts:

Emic: This term denotes an approach to anthropological inquiry where the observer attempts to “get inside the heads” of the natives and learn the rules and categories of a culture in order to be able to think and act as if they were a member of the population (Harris 1979: 32). For example, an emic approach might attempt to understand native Faeroe islanders’ highly descriptive system for naming geographic locations. Cultural materialism focuses on how the emics of thought and the behavior of a native population are the results of etic processes (i.e., observable phenomena).

Etic: This term denotes an approach to anthropological inquiry where the observer does not emphasize or use native rules or categories but instead uses "alien" empirical categories and rules derived from the strict use of the scientific method. Quantifiable measurements such as fertility rates, kilograms of wheat per household, and average rainfall are used to understand cultural circumstances, regardless of what these measurements may mean to the individuals within the population (Harris 1979:32). An example of this approach can be found in Paynter and Cole’s work on tribal political economy (Paynter and Cole 1980). Cultural materialism focuses on the etics of thought and the etics of behavior of a native population to explain culture change.

Etic behavioral mode of production: The etic behavioral mode of production involves the actions of a society that satisfy the minimal requirements for subsistence (Harris 1979: 51). The important thing to remember here is that these actions are determined and analyzed from a scientific perspective, without regard for  their meaning to the members of the native society.

Etic behavioral mode of reproduction: The etic behavioral mode of reproduction involves the actions that a society takes in order to limit detrimental increases or decreases to population (Harris 1979: 1951).  These actions are determined and analyzed from a scientific perspective by the observer, without regard for their meaning to the members of the native society.

Infrastructure: The infrastructure consists of etic behavioral modes of production and etic modes of reproduction as determined by the combination of ecological, technological, environmental, and demographic variables (Harris 1996: 277).

Structure: The structure is characterized by the organizational aspects of a culture consisting of the domestic economy (e.g., kinship, division of labor) and political economy (Harris 1996: 277). Political economy involves issues of control by a force above that of the domestic household whether it be a government or a chief.

Superstructure: The superstructure is the symbolic or ideological segment of culture. Ideology consists of a code of social order regarding how social and political organization is structured (Earle 1997: 8). It structures the obligations and rights of all the members of society. The superstructure involves things such as ritual, taboos, and symbols (Harris 1979: 229).

Priority of Infrastructure: In Harris’ words, "The etic behavioral modes of production and reproduction probabilistically determine the etic behavioral domestic and political economy, which in turn probabilistically determine the behavioral and mental emic superstructures" (Harris 1979: 55-56). In other words, the main factor in determining whether a cultural innovation is selected by society lies in its effect on the basic biological needs of that society. These innovations can involve a change in demographics, technological change and/or environmental change in the infrastructure. The innovations within the infrastructure will be selected by a society if they increase productive and reproductive capabilities even when they are in conflict with structural or superstructural elements of society (Harris 1996: 278). Innovations can also take place in the structure (e.g., changes in government) or the superstructure (e.g., religious change), but will only be selected by society if they do not diminish the ability of society to satisfy basic human needs. Therefore, the driving force behind culture change is satisfying the basic needs of production and reproduction.

Methodologies:

Harris writes, "Empirical science...is the foundation of the cultural materialist way of knowing" (Harris 1979: 29). Epistemologically, cultural materialism focuses only on those entities and events that are observable and quantifiable (Harris 1979: 27). In keeping with the scientific method, these events and entities must be studied using operations that are capable of being replicated (Harris 1979: 27). Using empirical methods, cultural materialists reduce cultural phenomena into observable, measurable variables that can be applied across societies to formulate nomothetic theories.

Harris’s basic approach to the study of culture is to show how emic (native) thoughts and behaviors are a result of material considerations.   Harris focuses on practices that contribute to the basic biological survival of those in society (i.e., subsistence practices, technology, and demographic issues). In order to demonstrate this point, analysis often involves the measurement and comparison of phenomena that might seem trivial to the native population (Harris 1979: 38).  Harris used a cultural materialist model to examine the Hindu belief that cows are sacred and must not be killed.. First, he argued that the taboos on cow slaughter (emic thought) were superstructural elements resulting from the economic need to utilize cows as draft animals rather than as food (Harris 1966: 53-5 4). He also observed that the Indian farmers claimed that no calves died because cows are sacred (Harris 1979: 38). In reality, however, male calves were observed to be starved to death when feed supplies are low (Harris 1979: 38). Harris argues that the scarcity of feed (infrastructural change) shaped ideological (superstructural) beliefs of the farmers (Harris 1979: 38). Thus, Harris shows how, using empirical methods, an etic perspective is essential in order to understand culture change holistically.

Another good example of cultural materialism at work involves the study of women’s roles in the post-World War II United States. Maxine Margolis empirically studied this phenomenon and interpreted her findings according to a classic cultural materialist model. The 1950’s was a time when ideology held that the duties of women should be located solely in the home (emic thought); however, empirically, Margolis found that women were entering the workforce in large numbers (actual behavior) (Margolis 1984). This movement was an economic necessity that increased the productive and reproductive capabilities of U.S. households (Margolis 1984).Furthermore, Margolis argues that the ideological movement known as "feminism" did not cause this increase of women in the workforce, but rather was a result of this movement by women into the workforce (Margolis 1984). Thus, here we see how infrastructure determined superstructure as ideology changed to suit new infrastructural innovations.

For more examples see Ross 1980.

Accomplishments:

Cultural materialism can be credited with challenging  anthropology to use more scientific research methods. Rather than rely solely on native explanations of phenomenon, Harris and others urged analysts to use empirical and replicable methods. Cultural materialism also promoted the notion that culture change can be studied across geographic and temporal boundaries in order to get at so-called universal, nomothetic theories. Some of Harris’ work (1966, 1977) shows that logical, scientific explanations for cultural phenomena such as India’s beef taboos are possible without invoking mystical or ephemeral causal factors such as are present in structuralist or functionalist interpretations.

Archaeologists, too, have adopted cultural materialist approaches. Archaeologist William Rathje wanted to test many of the assumptions archaeologists have in dealing with waste from the past (Rathje 1992). In pursuit of this aim, Rathje excavated modern landfills in Arizona and other states and took careful measurements of artifact frequencies. One of the many things he did with this data was to test the difference between stated alcohol consumption of informants and actual alcohol consumption (based on refuse evidence). In order to do this, Rathje selected a sample of households from which he collected and analyzed refuse. He also gave those households a questionnaire that asked questions relating to alcohol consumption. After analyzing what people said they drank and what was actually found in the refuse, Rathje found a significant discrepancy between stated and actual alcohol consumption (Rathje 1992). This case study demonstrates that an etic approach to cultural phenomena may uncover vital information that would be otherwise missed by a wholly emic analysis. 

Criticisms:

Criticisms of cultural materialism are plentiful in anthropology. As with all of the different paradigms in anthropology (e.g., functionalism, structuralism, and Marxism), cultural materialism does have its flaws. Cultural materialism has been termed "vulgar materialism" by Marxists such as J. Friedman because opponents believe that the cultural materialists empirical approach to culture change is too simple and  straightforward (Friedman 1974). Marxists believe that cultural materialists rely too heavily on the one-directional infrastructure-superstructure relationship to explain culture change, and that the relationship between the "base" (a distinct level of a sociocultural system, underlying the structure, in Marxist terminology) and the superstructure must be dialectically viewed (Friedman 1974).  They argue that a cultural materialist approach can disregard the superstructure to such an extent that the effect of superstructure on shaping structural elements can be overlooked. 

Idealists such as structuralists (e.g., Durkheim and his followers) argue that the key to understanding culture change lies in the emic thoughts and behaviors of members of a native society. Thus, in contrast to cultural materialists, they argue that there is no need for an etic/emic distinction (Harris 1979: 167). To idealists, the etic view of culture is irrelevant and full of ethnocentrism; furthermore, they argue that culture itself is the controlling factor in culture change  (Harris 1979: 167). In their view, culture is based on a panhuman structure embedded within the brain, and cultural variation is the result of each society’s filling that structure in their own way (Harris 1979: 167).  They argue that the cultural materialist emphasis on an etic perspective creates biased conclusions. 

Postmodernists also argue vehemently against cultural materialism because of its use of strict scientific method. Postmodernists believe that science is itself a culturally determined phenomenon that is affected by class, race and other structural and infrastructural variables (Harris 1995: 62). In fact, some postmodernists argue that science is a tool used by upper classes to oppress and dominate lower classes (Rosenau 1992: 129). Thus, postmodernists argue that the use of any science is useless in studying culture, and that cultures should be studied using particularism and relativism (Harris 1995: 63). This is a direct attack on cultural materialism with its objective studies and cross-cultural comparisons.

Sources and Bibliography:

  • Barfield, Thomas. 1997. Cultural Materialism.  In:  The Dictionary of Anthropology. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Barth, Frank et al. (Eds.).  2005.  One discipline, four ways:  British, German, French, and American anthropology.  Chicago:  University of Chicago Press. 
  • Birx, H. James (Ed.).  2006.  Encyclopedia of anthropology.  Thousand Oaks, California:  Sage.   
  • Bohannan, Paul & Glazer, Mark  (Eds.).  1988.  Cultural Materialism.  In:  High Points in Anthropology.  New York:  McGraw-Hill, Inc.
  • Burroughs, James E., & Rindfleisch, Aric.  2002. Materialism and Well-Being:  A Conflicting Values Perspective.  The Journal of Consumer Research 29(3):  348-370. 
  • Carneiro, Robert L. 1981. Leslie White.   In: Sydel Silverman (Ed.), Totems and Teachers. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Cerroni-Long, E.L. (Ed.).  1999.  Anthropological theory in North America.  Westport, Connecticut: Bergin & Garvey. 
  • Clemmer, Richard O., Myers, L. Daniel, & Rudden, Mary Elizabeth.  1999.  Julian Steward and the Great Basin: the making of an anthropologist.  Salt Lake City:  University of Utah Press. 
  • Darnell, Regna. 2001.  Invisible genealogies:  a history of Americanist anthropology.  Lincoln:  University of Nebraska Press. 
  • Dickson, D. Bruce, Olsen, Jeffrey, Dahm, P. Fred, & Wachtel, Mitchell S.  2005.  Where do you go when you die?  A cross-cultural test of the hypothesis that infrastructure predicts individual eschatology. Journal of Anthropological Research 61(1):  53-79. 
  • Earle, Timothy. 1997. How Chiefs Come to Power. Stanford:  Stanford University Press.
  • Ericksen, Thomas Hylland, & Nielsen, Finn Sivert.  2001.  A history of anthropology.  London: Pluto Press. 
  • Ferguson, R. Brian. 1995. Infrastructural Determinism. In: M. Murphy & M. Margolis (Eds.), Science, Materialism, and the Study of Culture. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, pp. 21-38.
  • Goodenough, Ward H. 2003.  In pursuit of culture.  Annual Review of Anthropology 32: 1-12. 
  • Harris, Marvin.  1927.  Culture, people, nature:  an introduction to general anthropology.  New York: Crowell.
  • Harris, Marvin.  1999. Theories of culture in postmodern times. Walnut Creek, California:  AltaMira Press. 
  • Harris, Marvin. 1968. The Rise of Anthropological Theory:  A History of Theories of Culture. New York: Crowell.
  • Harris, Marvin. 1966. The Cultural Ecology of India’s Sacred Cattle. Current Anthropology 7:51-66.
  • Harris, Marvin. 1979. Cultural Materialism: The Struggle for a Science of Culture. New York: Random House.
  • Harris, Marvin. 1980. History and Ideological Significance of the Separation of Social and Cultural Anthropology. In: Eric B. Ross (Ed.), Beyond the Myths of Culture: Essays in Cultural Materialism.  New York: Academic Press, pp. 391-405.
  • Harris, Marvin. 1995. Anthropology and Postmodernism. In: Martin Murphy & Maxine Margolis (Eds.), Science, Materialism, and the Study of Culture. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, pp. 62-80.
  • Harris, Marvin. 1996.  Cultural Materialism. In: David Levinson & Melvin Amber (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology. New York: Henry Holt and Co., pp. 277-281. 
  • Headland, Thomas, Pike, K., &  Harris, Marvin. 1990.  Emics and Etics: The Insider/Outsider Debate. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Henrich, Joseph.  2001.  Cultural transmission and the diffusion of innovations: Adoption dynamics indicate that biased cultural transmission is the predominate force in behavioral change. American Anthropologist 103(4):  992-1013. 
  • Johnson, Allen, & Earle, Timothy.  1987. The Evolution of Human Societies: From Foraging Group to Agrarian State. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
  • Kerns, Virginia.  2003.  Scenes from the high desert:  Julian Stewart’s life and theory.  Urbana:  University of Illinois Press. 
  • Kerns, Virginia.  2010.  Journeys West:  Jane and Julian Steward and their guides.  Lincoln:  University of Nebraska Press. 
  • Korom, Frank J. 2000.  Holy Cow!  The Apotheosis of Zebu, or Why the Cow is Sacred in India.  Asian Folklore Studies 59(2): 181-203.
  • Kuklick, Henricka (Ed.).  2008.  A new history of anthropology.  Oxford: Blackwell. 
  • Kuznar, Lawrence A, & Sanderson, Stephen K. (Eds.).  2007.  Studying societies and cultures:  Marvin Harris’ s cultural materialism and its legacy.  Boulder, CO:  Paradigm Publishers. 
  • Levinson, David & Ember, Melvin (Eds.). 1996. Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology. New York:  Henry Holt and Company.
  • Manners, Robert A.  1913.  Process and pattern in culture, essays in honor of Julian Steward.  Chicago:  Aldine Pub. Co. 
  • Margolis, Maxine L.  2003.  Marvin Harris (1927-2001).  American Anthropologist 105(3):  685-688. 
  • Margolis, Maxine. 1984. Mothers and Such: Views of American Women and Why They Changed. Berkley: University of California Press.
  • Milner, Andrew. 1993.  Cultural Materialism.  Canada:  Melbourne University Press.
  • Murphy, Martin. 1991. Dominican Sugar Plantations: Production and Foreign Labor Integration. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishing.
  • Murphy Martin, &  Margolis, Maxine (Eds.). 1995. Science, Materialism, and the Study of Culture. Gainesville: University of Florida Press.
  • Murphy, Martin. 1991. Dominican Sugar Plantations: Production and Foreign Labor Integration.  New York:  Praeger Publishers.
  • Nolan, Patrick, & Lenski, Gerhard.  1996. Technology, Ideology, and Societal Development.  Sociological Perspectives 36(1):  23-38.
  • Patterson, Thomas C.  2009.  Karl Marx, Anthropologist.  New York:  Berg. 
  • Paynter, Robert, & John W. Cole. 1980. Ethnographic Overproduction, Tribal Political Economy, and the Kapauku of Irian Jaya. In: Eric B. Ross (Ed.), Beyond the Myths of Culture: Essays in Cultural Materialism. New York: Academic Press pp. 61-96.
  • Peace, William J.  2004.  Leslie A. White:  Evolution and revolution in anthropology.  Lincoln:  University of Nebraska Press. 
  • Rathje, William L. 1992. Rubbish! The Archaeology of Garbage. New York: Harper Collins.
  • Rosenau, Pauline. 1992. Post-Modernism and the Social Sciences: Insights, Inroads, and Intrusions. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • Roseberry, William.  1997.  Marx and Anthropology.  Annual Review of Anthorpology 26:  25-46.
  • Ross, Eric B. (Ed.).  1980. Beyond the myth of culture:  essays in cultural materialism.  San Francisco:  Academic Press. 
  • Rubel, Paula G., & Rosman, Abraham.  2004.  Commentary on the Obituary for Marvin Harris.  American Anthropologist 106(1):  212-213.
  • Silverman, Sydel (Ed.).  2004.  Totems and teachers:  key figures in the history of anthropology.  Walnut Creek, California:  AltaMira Press. 
  • Steward Julian. 1955.  Chapter 20:  The Concept and Method of Cultural Ecology.  In Theory of Culture Change. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, pp. 30-42.
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