Volume 52, Number 4, Abstracts

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Janine Gasco
Institute of Archaeology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90024

This study explores how participation in the colonial world economic system influenced patterns of economic inequality within and among the indigenous communities of the Soconusco region of Chiapas, Mexico. Specifically, the research addresses frequently debated issues regarding changing levels of economic stratification within colonial Indian communities and among modern peasant communities as participation in the world economy increases. An analysis of documentary and archaeological data from Soconusco reveals that during the course of approximately 250 years, both leveling and increased stratification occu rred in different towns and at different times. Further examination of historical data provides possible explanations for the variable trends. The research demonstrates that diachronic analysis covering centuries rather than decades is critical to our u nderstanding of changing levels of economic inequality.


Chris Kyle
Social Sciences Program, Stephens College, Columbia, MO 65201

The manner in which local communities are embedded within broader regional, national, and international economies, a central theme in contemporary ethnographic research, is heavily conditioned by the prevailing forms of transportation. Major improvements in transport efficiency frequently correspond to equally dramatic changes in the position of communities in their broader socioeconomic environment. This article presents a method of evaluating transport costs that can be used by ethnographers to quantify the magnitude of shifts in relative efficiency. The method and the processes it is designed to elucidate are demonstrated in the case of communities in an agrarian marketing region in southern Mexico. The article attributes divergent patterns of economic development within the region to quantifiable differences in access to particular types of transportation systems.


Susan D. Russell
Department of Anthropology, Northern Illinois University, De Kalb, 11, 60115-2854
Rani T. Alexander
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 88003

The debate over the "skipper effect" encompasses two issues in the maritime anthropological literature: whether a skipper's skill plays a statistically significant role in explaining variation in catch size among boats and whether folk models of the role skippers play in fishing success explain what statistical models cannot. This article reviews the theoretical debates about the skipper effect and contrasts the cultural and economic context of North Atlantic fisheries with a purse seine fishery for mixed tropical species in the Philippines. Whereas most North Atlantic studies have struggled to identify variables that represent a captain's fishing skill, we argue that a boat's mean catch per tr ip and the number of crew both serve as reliable, indirect measures of a skipper's skill in this region. We attribute the absence of an ideology of the skipper effect to the limited competition for skippers in kin-based, petty commodity forms of producti on.


David Jacobson
Department of Anthropology, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02254-9110

Although the relative paucity of social cues in computer-mediated communication poses problems for the organization of social relations in cyberspace, recent studies have begun to focus on the ways in which this deficit is managed. This article contributes to this research by addressing the question of how participants distinguish between contexts in online discourse. Data on cues, and on naming practices in particular, in text-based virtual realities called MOOs illustrate the structure of contexts and the dynamics of contextualizing communication and interaction in cyberspace.


Peter D. Dwyer
Department of Zoology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland,
Australia 4072

With a few possible exceptions, the breeding systems of domestic pigs represented in mainland New Guinea fall into one of three categories. In the first, all pigs in the care of people are the progeny of matings between wild boars and wild sows, and the captive population is fully alienated from breeding. In the second, some pigs in the care of people are the progeny of matings between wild boars and domestic sows, and the remainder are the progeny of wild boars and wild sows. The relative contributions of domestic and wild sows as mothers to the piglets that are taken into care vary among societies that implement this system of breeding pigs. In the third category, all pigs in the care of people are the progeny of matings between domestic boars and domestic sows. Thus, in nearly all New Guinean domestic pig populations, the fathers of those pigs are either all wild boars or all domestic boars and, contrary to earlier conclusions, there is not continuum of pig-breeding systems within New Guinea. It is argued that the relatively high costs associ ated with managing domestic boars have inhibited transformation to full male and female breeding except in areas, such as highland New Guinea, where wild pigs are absent or rare. Furthermore, the transformation to breedings systems of this type is likely to have been abrupt. Potential complications arising from inbreeding depression in small populations suggest that the circulation of live pigs among prehistoric New Guinean communities was a necessary precursor to the shift to full male and female breed ing. Questions concerning the emergence of social complexity within the New Guinea highlands will need to be revisited in the light of this interpretation.


The Human Biology of the English Village. G. Ainsworth Harrison (with a chapter on "Surnames" by Gabriel W. Lasker). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995, x + 147 pp., $80.00 (cloth). Reviewed by Joel D. Irish, University of New Mexico.

Literacy, Emotion, and Authority: Reading and Writing on a Polynesian Atoll. Niko Besnier. Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 1995, xx + 234 pp., $54.95 (cloth), $19.95 (paper). Reviewed by Jane N. Hill, University of Arizona.

The Psychoanalytic Study of Society, vol. 19. L. Bryce Boyer, Ruth M. Boyer, and Howard F. Stein (editors). Hillsdale, N.J.: The Analytic Press, 1994, xxvi + 364 pp., $45.00 (cloth). Reviewed by Edwin R. Wallace IV, M.D., University of South Carolina.

Making It Their Own: Severn Ojibwe Communicative Practices. Lisa Philips Valentine. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1995, x + 252 pp. Reviewed by David R. Margolin, University of New Mexico.

Navajo Sacred Places. Klara Bonsack Kelley and Harris Francis. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1994, vi + 260 pp., 20 black-and-white photos, 4 maps, $29.95 (cloth), $14.95 (paper). Reviewed by David M. Brugge, Albuquerque, N.M.

The Pueblo Revolt of 1680: Conquest and Resistance in Seventeenth-Century New Mexico. Andrew L. Knaut. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1995, 272 pp., 8 black-and-white illustrations, 2 maps, $29.95 (cloth). Reviewed by Marianne L. Stoller, The Colorado College.

Enduring Western Civilization: The Construction of the Concept of Western Civilization and Its "Others". Silvia Federici (editor). Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1995, xvi + 210 pp., $55.00 (cloth), $19.95 (paper). Reviewed by Jerry H. Bentley, University of Hawaii.

The Peopling of Africa: A Geographic Interpretation. James L. Newman. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1995, xiv + 235 pp., $30.00 (cloth). Reviewed by Gary L. Gaile, University of Colorado, Boulder.

Across the West: Human Population Movement and the Expansion of the Numa. David B. Madsen and David Rhode (editors). Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1995, x + 225 pp., $50.00 (cloth). Reviewed by Thomas J. Connolly, Oregon State Museum of Anthropology, University of Oregon.

Paradigms of the Past: The Story of Missouri Archaeology. Michael J. O'Brien. University of Missouri Press, 1995, xxviii + 561 pp., $29.95 (paper). Reviewed by John H. House, Arkansas Archaeological Survey.

Living with the Ancestors: Kinship and Kingship in Ancient Maya Society. Patricia McAnany. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1995, xvi + 248 pp., 23 black-and-whie photos, 8 line drawings, 2 maps, $27.95 (cloth). Reviewed by Stanley L. Walling, Montclair State University.

Mortuary Practices and Skeletal Remains at Teotihuacan, vol. 3. Martha L. Sempowski and Michael W. Spence. Ogden: University of Utah Press, 1994, xviii + 483 pp., $100.00 (cloth). Reviewed by Jane Buikstra, University of New Mexico.

Prehistoric Cultural Ecology and Evolution: Insights from Southern Jordan. Donald O. Henry. New York: Plenum Publishing Corporation, 1995, xxiii + 466 pp., $59.95 (cloth). Reviewed by Michael P. Neeley and Geoffrey A. Clark, Arizona State University.

The Neanderthal Legacy: An Archaeological Perspective from Western Europe. Paul Mellars. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996, xix + 471 pp., 6 halftones, 229 line illustrations, 9 tables, $69.50 (cloth). Reviewed by Anthony E. Marks, Southern Methodist University.

The Middle Paleolithic Site of Combe-Capelle Bas (France). Harold Dibble and Michel Lenoir (editors). University Museum Monograph 91. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Museum, 1995, xxi + 363 pp., 315 figures, 45 tables, bibliography, $40.00 (cloth). Reviewed by Lawrence Guy Straus, University of New Mexico.

Human Evolution in China: A Metric Description of the Fossils and a Review of the Sites. Xinzhi Wu and Frank E. Poirier. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995, vii + 317 pp., $65.00 (cloth). Reviewed by G. Philip Rightmire, State University of New York at Binghampton.

The Prehistory of the Mind: The Cognitive Origins of Art, Religion, and Science. Steven Mithen. London: Thames and Hudson, 1996, 304 PP., $27.50. Reviewed by Lawrence Guy Straus, University of New Mexico.

Tools, Language, and Cognition in Human Evolution. Kathleen R. Gibson and Tim Ignold (editors). Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 1995, xii + 483 pp., $29.95 (paper). Reviewed by Alexander Marshack, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University.

Who Needs the Past? Indigenous Values in Archaeology. Richard Layton (editor). London and New York: Routledge, 1994, xxiv + 215 pp., $19.95 (paper). Reviewed by Brian Fagan, University of California, Santa Barbara.

Civilizations and World Systems: Studying World-Historical Change. Stephen K. Sanderson (editor). Northhampton, Mass.: Altamira Press, 1995, 328 pp., $56.00 (cloth), $24.95 (paper). Reviewed by Philip L. Kohl, Wellesley College.

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