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An introduction to anthropology 4th ed. By Ralph L. Beals and Harry Hoijer. xix + 711 pp. figures maps glossary bibliography index. Macmillan New York. 1971. $10

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Book Reviews
AN INTRODUCTION
TO ANTHROPOLOGY,4th
old partitions, despite modest claims of
ed. By Ralph L. Beals and Harry Hoijer. synthesis in the former and a glimmer of
xix
711 pp., figures, maps, glossary, success at it in the latter.
bibliography, index. Macmillan, New
The significant reduction in pagination
York. 1971. $10.95 (cloth).
allotted to physical anthropology in this
CULTURE,
MAN, AND NATURE:
AN INTRO- edition of Beals and Hoijer is due to the
DUCTION TO GENERALANTHROPOLOGY. wise elimination of the ponderous discusBy Marvin Harris. xxv
660 pp., fig- sion of racial typology in previous editions,
ures, maps, bibliography, glossary-in- expansion of ethnology sections, and the
dex. Thomas Y. Crowell, New York. belief (challengeable, to say the least) that
1971. $9.95 (cloth).
most first-year students “. . . have already
learned the major ideas of evolution and
These two texts reflect different philos- genetics” (p. vi). As a result, in two chapophies in the teaching of introductory ters, one on man’s evolutionary history
anthropology. Beds and Hoijer, despite and fossil record, the other on human
an introductory disclaimer, follow the tra- variation and genetics, 82 pages, the
ditional view of anthropology as a partitive intent is to make students aware of
science in which a “well rounded expo- “. . . most of the major aspects of physical
sure to the basic data of each subdiscipline anthropology” and “. . . its close relationis the goal for the student who may take ship with cultural anthropology” (p. vi).
only one course, and a needed preliminary The intent was doomed from the beginfor those who go further. Thus, the view ning on both counts. Brevity combined
that anthropology “. . . combines in one with a summary review of the field plus a
discipline the approaches of both the bio- descriptive inventory of data and conclulogical and the social sciences” (p. 3). sions leads to errors of oversimplification,
The thrust is predominantly descriptive, the use of terms and concepts inadequateas such surveys must be. The result is ly defined, and a tragic irony: Among the
predominantly a packaged inventory of major aspects of the field omitted are those
biological, archeological, and cultural which perhaps most reflect its relevance
data, strong on the latter as this text deals to cultural studies - the approaches to
“. . . mainly with cultural-social anthro- population dynamics which reveal selective responses in fertility, mortality, denpology” (p. 1).
Harris espouses the alternate philoso- sity and nutrition.
The usual evolutionary classification of
phy that anthropology is a unified discipline which draws upon its sublsciplines man is summarized, but classification
in applying a particular body of data and per se is never discussed. An examination
theory to particular problems. This phi- of the latter is, I submit, somewhat more
losophy abjures the notion of comprehen- important to our beginning student than
sive surveys of the separate areas in favor a description of the latter. The trend from
of an eclecticism focused on limited goals. “. . . very simple and generalized forms”
. . more elaborate or complex and
This is “general anthropology” for the to
specialized forms” (p. 23) is stated as a
beginning student.
At the outset I should state my own conclusion (the horse given as an exampreference for the latter philosophy, as it ple), but the process(es) unexplained. The
promotes understanding of what advan- misleading notion that simple-to-complex
tages anthropological thinking has. It is synonymous with generalized-to-specialencourages consistency and sequence in ized is easily acquired, as well as the exthought in applying a variety of data to a clusive notion that specialized forms are
the more recent evolutionary products.
central idea. It cuts through partitions.
Unfortunately, both texts sustain the A discussion of the processes involved in
+
+
‘I.
AM. J. PHYS. ANTHROP., 37: 411-422.
411
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macmillan, figuren, hoijer, index, harry, bibliography, new, 4th, 1971, introduction, york, maps, xix, 711, ralph, glossary, Anthropology, beal
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