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Culture and reproduction. An anthropological critique of demographic transition theory. Edited by W. Penn Handwerker. Boulder CO Westview Press. 1986. xix +389 pp. figures tables index. $35

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AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY 73:407-414 (1987)
Book Reviews
CULTURE
REPRODUCTION.
AN ANTHRO- of which utilizes hard demographic data. A
CRITIQUE OF DEMOGRAPHICtheoretical effort is represented by Brian
TRANSITION
THEORY.
Edited by W. Penn Hayden’s intriguing model linking reproHandwerker. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. ductive levels to group competition and re1986. xix +389 pp., figures, tables, index. source scarcity.
$35.00 (cloth).
At the heart of the volume are studies
based on contemporary Third World popuCulture and Reproduction consists of 15 lations. Almost exclusively, these support
papers presented at a 1981 conference. In the anthropological contention that chiladdition, the editor provides a n introduc- dren in pretransitional and transitional
tion summarizing the papers’ relationship populations represent net economic producto historic and modern demographic tran- ers. Mary Ode11 finds support for both Eassition theory. Chief among the latter are terlin’s and Caldwell’s theories in a study
Richard Easterlin’s econometric models of of Guatemalan village fertility patterns.
fertility and John Caldwell’s “wealth Debra Schumann’s analysis of a Mexican
~ ~ O W Stheory
”
of the economic rationality of village also supports Caldwell’s contention
high fertility in developing countries. The that people will have as many children as
volume’s avowed goal is the consideration economic constraints allow. Linda Whiteof the role of culture in demographic ford finds Mexican-American women selecting reproductive strategies based on
transition.
Surprisingly, the first two papers do not economic-political status, while Handwerachieve this goal. In the first, Paul Crosbie ker’s analysis of Liberian farm workers
gives a n excellent critique of the applica- notes that stable sexual unions are still
tion of rationality theories, including mi- primarily maintained for the sake of procroeconomics, value of children, and ducing economically valuable children.
subjective expective utility models to fertil- Continuing economic returns for large famity studies. However, his own data are ilies override newly acquired knowledge of
based on a n amorphous “university stu- contraception in a n Alaskan Inuit populadent” population, lacking in any cultural tion studied by Jean Brainard and Teresa
identity. In the second work, Edmund Overfield. Such rewards lead to fertility
Wilmsen reexamines the biological deter- increase even in the face of infant mortalminants of !Kung fertility in light of Bon- ity decrease and modernization, findings
gaarts’ model of proximate fertility totally contrary to traditional demographic
variables, but without reference to demo- transition theory. Recent fertility increase
graphic transition theory.
is also linked to family economics in the
What these two papers do is introduce the Peter Weil study of Gambian farmers and
high degree of statistical elaboration and David Cleveland’s analysis of Ghanian culreliance on standard demographic models tivators. The only disagreement with Caldthat runs throughout the volume. Analyses well’s theory is Kevin O’Reilly’s obserproceed via multiple regression, path, and vation that Irish public education systems
factor analysis, with frequent use of Bon- promote high fertility by espousing the
gaarts’ model and Coale and Trussell’s Catholic Church’s pronatality stance.
These interesting, well-defined studies do
model of natural fertility. The result is a
methodologically sophisticated, data-rich not necessarily constitute a n anthropologicollection with a surprising lack of theory cal critique of demographic transition thefor a n anthropological volume. Notable ex- ory. Rather, they can be viewed as a n
ceptions to the above include Eric Ross’ independent discipline’s confirmation of
article on population growth and the polit- modern demographic transition theory, as
ical economy of the hish Famine and Paul exemplified by Caldwell’s wealth flow hyAlexandra’s examination of labor and fer- pothesis. Methodologically, the articles’
tility in nineteenth century Java, neither aforementioned concentration on adAND
POLOGICAL
@ 1987 ALAN R.LISS. INC.
408
BOOK REVIEWS
vanced, standardized statistics and demographic models also moves anthropology
closer to modern demography. The strength
of this approach is the mastery of techniques allowing for direct comparison of
results between culturally and temporally
different study groups. While this certainly
helps to correct deficiencies in many earlier
anthropological demography works, the
achievement is realized at the loss of,
rather than emphasis on, culture analysis.
Only two works, Leisa Stamm and Amy
Ong Tsui’s analysis of fertility in a Tunisian city and Vernon Dorjahn’s examination of Temne urban-rural fertility
patterns, actively sought informants’ views
on marriage, fertility, large families, and
old age support. Rather than utilizing what
Dorjahn calls such ((soft’’data, the contributors almost solely depended on standard
socioeconomic variables (e.g., income) and
demographic attributes (age, parity,
breastfeeding duration) as the basis of
analyses. This is in spite of Dorjahn’s com-
DENTALANTHROPOLOGY:
Al’PLICATIONS AND
METHODS.
Edited by V. Rami Reddy. New
Delhi: Inter-India Publications. 1985. xxxv
+ 388 pp., figures, tables, index. $88.00
(cloth).
Dental Anthropology results from the “National Seminar on Dental Anthropology,”
hosted by the Department of Physical Anthropology and Prehistoric Archeology of Sri
Venkateswara University, Tirupati, India, in
March 1984. There are 28 papers by 59 contributors arranged in six sections: eruption
and development (eight papers), pathology
and morbidity (eight), morphology (nine),
odontometry (four), applied (three), and history and methods (four). All the papers deal
with some aspect of the dental anthropology
of India, including new-found prehistoric
materials.
As editor Rami Reddy of S.V. University
notes, India is a vast country, and anthropologically complex as reflected in its having
15 recognized languages and 212 dialects.
Because there is very little known about the
dental anthropology of India, publication of
the National Seminar has been eagerly
mon sense observation that, “If you want
to find out why people did something you
start out by asking them why they did it.”
While demographers were present at the
conference, their views of this approach remain unknown. Particularly lacking is any
comment by John Caldwell, who was in
attendance and whose work was cited in
almost every article.
Despite these considerations, this is a
well-edited, interesting volume, bringing
together concise research under one common theme. While the volume’s emphasis
on economic, rather than biological, parameters may lessen its usefulness to physical anthropologists, it should be considered
recommended reading for all concerned
with cultural and demographic change.
ERICROTH
Department of Anthropology
University of Victoria
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
awaited. Naturally, high expectation always
carries with it some disappointment, but
since this volume represents the first effort
ever in India to establish a dental anthropological voice with universal standards and
well-defined problems, it should be viewed in
such a formative perspective. Moreover,
everyone interested in dental anthropology
should encourage the Indian effort, and I
know from correspondence with V. Rami
Reddy that even such small help as sending
reprints would greatly benefit scholars and
students alike.
Comments on a few papers will give a n
impression of the volume’s character. D.
Chowdhury and M.B. Sharma found a significant relationship between dental caries and
phenylketonuria (PTC) nontasters. They suggest that possibly the relationship is linked
to saliva flow influenced by iodine level. P.
Ganguly looked into the heretofore neglected
question of tooth type survivorship. It was
found for both jaws and both sides that the
canine survives longest and that the third
molar is on the average lost earliest in life;
thus: I1 > I2 > C < P1 < P2 < M1 < M2
< M3. The crown morphology of several In-
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