cultural materialism (anthropology)


  • Thus, much as in earlier Marxist thought, material changes (such as in technology or environment) are seen as largely determining patterns of social organization and ideology
    in turn.

  • The essence of its materialist approach is that the infrastructure is in almost all circumstances the most significant force behind the evolution of a culture.

  • [2] Harris subsequently developed a full elaboration and defense of the paradigm in his 1979 book Cultural Materialism.

  • The primary question that arises in applying the techniques of science to understand the differences and similarities between cultures is how the research strategy “treats
    the relationship between what people say and think as subjects and what they say and think and do as objects of scientific inquiry”.

  • [7] In response to this cultural materialism makes a distinction between behavioral events and ideas, values, and other mental events.

  • Cultural materialism is an anthropological research orientation first introduced by Marvin Harris in his 1968 book The Rise of Anthropological Theory,[1] as a theoretical
    paradigm and research strategy.

  • Theoretical principles • Etic and behavioral infrastructure, comprising a society’s relations to the environment, which includes their ethics and behavioral modes of production
    and reproduction (material relations).

  • Emic operations, within cultural materialism, are ones in which the descriptions and analyses are acceptable by the native as real, meaningful, and appropriate.

  • [3] To Harris social change is dependent of three factors: a society’s infrastructure, structure, and superstructure.


Works Cited

[‘ Harris, Marvin (2001a) [First published 1968], The Rise of Anthropological Theory: A History of Theories of Culture, Walnut Creek, California: AltaMira Press, ISBN 978-0-7591-0132-6, retrieved 10 September 2010 Paperback ISBN 0-7591-0133-7
1. ^ Margolis,
Maxine L (2001), “Introduction”, in Marvin Harris (ed.), The Rise of Anthropological Theory: A History of Theories of Culture, 2001a (first published 1968), p. x
2. ^ Harris, Marvin (2001b) [First published 1979], Cultural Materialism: the Struggle
for a Science of Culture (Updated ed.), Walnut Creek, California: AltaMira Press, ISBN 978-0-7591-0134-0, retrieved 10 September 2010 Paperback ISBN 0-7591-0135-3
3. ^ Frank, Elwell (2001), Harris on the Universal structure of societies, archived
from the original on 2015-09-30
4. ^ Harris (2001a), p. 673ff.
5. ^ Moore, Jerry D (2004), “Marvin Harris: Cultural Materialism”, Visions of Culture: An Introduction to Anthropological Theories and Theorists (2nd ed.), Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira
Press, pp. 203–215, ISBN 978-0-7591-0410-5, retrieved 10 September 2010 Paperback ISBN 0-7591-0411-5
6. ^ Harris 2001b, p. 29
7. ^ Harris 2001b, p. 54
8. ^ Harris 2001b, p. 72
9. ^ Ward, Todd.A.; Eastman, Raymond. & Ninness, Chris (2009),
“An Experimental Analysis of Cultural Materialism: The Effects of Various Modes of Production on Resource Sharing”, Behavior and Social Issues, 18: 58–80, doi:10.5210/bsi.v18i1.1950, S2CID 153865620, retrieved 10 September 2010
10. ^ Dalakoglou,
D. (2009), An Anthropology of Road
Photo credit:’]