Volume 55, Number 4, Abstracts

The Facts of Life:
Fertility, Kinship,
Individualism and War

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Karen L. Kramer
Department of Demography, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-2120
Garnett P. McMillan
Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-1086

In the mid 1970's, the introduction of modern technology into a Maya subsistence agricultural village markedly increased the efficiency with which maize could be ground and water collected. This change in labor efficiency introduced a possible savings in the overall time that women allocate to work and, importantly, to energetic work. This article documents the response of female fertility to the introduction of laborsaving technology. Using two proximate determinants of female fertility, we look at the association between the advent of modern technology and changes in the age at which women give birth to their first child and the length of mothers' birth intervals. Analyses show that since the introduction of laborsaving technology, mothers have their first child at a younger age. Changes in birth intervals are less conclusive. Although completed family size is not known because many of the women in the sample are still in their childbearing years, women who initiate reproduction at a younger age can potentially have longer reproductive careers and larger families. Examining the relationship between female fertility and modern technology has important implications for the changes in demographics and economics now going on in many developing communities.


Per Hage
Department of Anthropology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112

In a cross-cultural analysis of alternate generation terminology, Aberle found that the merging of relations in the first ascending and descending generations implies the merging of relations in the second ascending and descending generations. He was, however, unable to explain this result and concluded that it was "a finding in search of a theory." Parkin has argued that alternate generation equivalence, despite its neglect in recent anthropoloigcal theory, is as important as the parity (cross/parallel) distinction in many kinship terminologies. Following Needham and Allen, respectively, he interprets alternation an a fundamental mode of human thought and as a correlate of symmetric prescriptive marriage systems. This article first suggests that Aberle's finding can be explained in cognitive-linguistic terms as a marking effect. Second, it shows that alternate generation equations are associated with cognatic as well as prescriptive marriage systems. An explanation for this apparent anomaly is suggested by Allen's "Big Bang Theory" of human kinship systems.


Adrie Suzanne Kusserow
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Saint Michael's College, Winooski Park, Colchester, VT 05438

Recent theories have noted that the discovery of differences in self concepts has led to an overly dichotomized view of Eastern sociocentric selves "versus" Western individualistic selves. While most anthropologists agree on the need for a richer theoretical understanding of the self beyond the bipolar ego/sociocentric model, few theorists have suggested ways in which this model could be improved upon, especially on the Western side of the dichotomy. Although many anthropologists are beginning to break down the homogenous constructs of the sociocentric self in Eastern societies they study, this has not yet been rigorously attempted in the West. In this article, I focus on some of the problems with the dichotomy, with particular emphasis on problems on the Western "side"-- namely, the assumption that individualism precludes sociocentrism, the tendency to equate the West with America, the misrepresentation of the Western philosophical tradition, the homogenization of Western individualism, and the re-creation of the ego/sociocentric dichotomy within the West along gender and class lines. Finally, questions posed by social psychologists engaged in the individualism/collectivism debate, as well as examples from my own research on child rearing in Manhattan and Queens (Kusserow 1999), suggest ways in which conceptions of the Western self must be complexified.


Azar Gat
Department of Political Science, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978 Isreal

This article shows that the pattern of human fighting among hunter-gatherers and simple horticulturalists was not very different from that prevailing among animal species; indeed, it is explained by a similar evolutionary logic. The article addresses all scales of both inter- and intragroup fighting, for fighting and killing to take place both within and between groups. This pattern is more complex than the simple ingroup cooperation/outgroup rivalry suggested by Herbert Spencer and W.G. Sumner. The distinction that has been made between "blood feuds" and "warfare," "homocide," and "war killing," while of course not wholly arbitrary, largely reflects our point of view as members of more or less orderly societies. The phenomenon dealt with here is deadly aggression, whose forms differ little within or between groups, in individual feuds or in large-scale fighting.


Happenings and Hearsay: Experiences of a Biological Anthropologist. Gabriel W. Lasker. Detroit, Mich.: Wayne State University Press, 1999, 240 pp. $30.00, cloth. Reviewed by C. Loring Brace, University of Michigan.

Brushed by Cedar, Living by the River: Coast Salish Figures of Power. Crisca Bierwert. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1999, xvii + 314 pp. $35.00, cloth. Reviewed by Tom Harmer, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Ritual and Religion in the Making of Humanity. Roy A. Rappaport. Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 1999, xxiii + 535 pp. 209 pp. $64.95, cloth; $19.95, paper. Reviewed by Edith Turner, University of Virginia.

Beyond the Reservation: Indians, Settlers, and the Law in Washington Territory, 1853-1889. Brad Asher. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999, xii + 275 pp. $34.95, cloth. Reviewed by Raymond Brinkman, University of Chicago.

At Home in the Streets: Street Children of Northeast Brazil. Tobias Hecht. Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 1998, 233 pp. $59.95, cloth; $19.95, paper. Reviewed by Marcia Mikulak, University of New Mexico.

Bridging Mental Boundaries in a Postcolonial Microcosm: Identity and Development in Vanuata. William F.S. Miles. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1998, xxiv + 272 pp., maps, tables, figures, photographs. $47.00, cloth; $22.95, paper. Reviewed by Lamont Lindstrom, University of Tulsa.

The Measurement of Cultural Evolution in the Non-Literate World: Homage to Raoul Naroll. David G. Hays. New York: Metagram Press, 1998, 512 pp. $24.95, CD-ROM. Reviewed by Garry Chick, Pennsylvania State University.

The Archaeological Process: An Introduction. Ian Hodder. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1999, xiv+ 242 pp. $26.95,paper. Reviewed by Brian Fagan, University of California, Santa Barbara.

The Land of Prehistory. A Critical History of American Archaeology. Alice Beck Kehoe. New York: Routledge, 1998, xiv + 288 pp. $22.99, paper; $80.00, cloth. Reviewed by Don D. Fowler, University of Nevada, Reno.

James A. Ford and the Growth of American Archaeology. Michael J. O'Brien and R. Lee Lyman. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1998, xx + 377 pp., black-and-white illustrations, halftones. $42.50, cloth. Reviewed by Ann F. Ramenofsky, University of New Mexico.

Floods, Famines, and Emperors: El Nino and the Fate of Civilizations. Brian Fagan. New York: Basic Books, 1999, xix + 284 pp. $25.00, cloth. Reviewed by Richard Martin Reycraft, University of New Mexico.

Man Corn: Cannibalism and Violence in the Prehistoric Southwest. Christy G. Turner and Jacqueline A. Turner. Salat Lake City: Univeristy of Utah Press, 1999, 547 pp., 368 halftones and illustrations. $60.00, cloth. Reviewed by Diane Gifford- Gonzales, University of California, Santa Cruz.

Hopi Dwellings: Architecture at Orayvi. Catherine Cameron. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1999, 160 pp. $39.95, cloth. Reviewed by T.J. Ferguson, Heritage Resources Management Consultants, Tucson, AZ.

Laboring in the Fields of the Lord: Spanish Missions and Southeastern Indians. Jerald T. Milanich. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1999, 210 pp. $26.95, cloth. Reviewed by Rochelle A. Marrinan, Florida State University.

Zooarchaeology. Elizabeth J. Reitz and Elisabeth S. Wing. Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Manuals in Archaeology, 1999, xix + 415 pp. $80.00, cloth; $34.95, paper. Reviewed by Richard G. Klein, Stanford University.

Early Human Behavior in Global Context: The Rise and Diversity of the Lower Paleolithic Record. Michael D. Petraglia and Ravi Korisettar, eds. London: Routledge, 1998, xix + 481 pp., figures and tables. $160.00, cloth. Reviewed by Lawrence Guy Straus, University of New Mexico.

The Archaeology of Solvieux: An Upper Paleolithic Open Air Site in France. James Sackett. Monumenta Archaeologica 19. Los Angeles: UCLA Institute of Archaeology, 1999, xvi + 328 pp., 73 plates of stone tool drawings by Jean Gaussen, figures, tables. $75.00, cloth. Reviewed by Lawrence Guy Straus, University of New Mexico.

El Habitat Mesolitico en el Cantabrico Occidental: Transformaciones Ambientales y Medio Fisico durante el Holoceno Antiguo. Miguel Angel Fano Martinez. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports, International Series 732: 1998, xi + 145 pp., figures, tables, appendices. 38 British pounds, paper. Reviewed by Lawrence Guy Straus, University of New Mexico.

The Archaeology of the Wadi Al-Hasa, West Central Jordan, vol. 1: Surveys, Settlement Patterns and Paleoenvironment. Nancy R. Coinman, ed. Arizona State University Anthropological Paper 50. Tempe: Arizona State University, 1998, v + 228 pp., 83 figures and plates. $25.00, paper. Reviewed by Anthony E. Marks, Southern Methodist University.