Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches

The Riddles of Culture


Paperback published by Vintage (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
This book challenges those who argue that we can change the world by changing the way people think. Harris shows that no matter how bizarre a people's behavior may seem, it always stems from concrete social and economic conditions.
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This book challenges those who argue that we can change the world by changing the way people think. Harris shows that no matter how bizarre a people's behavior may seem, it always stems from concrete social and economic conditions.
Product Details
Paperback (288 pages)
Published: December 17, 1989
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Vintage
ISBN: 9780679724681
Other books byMarvin Harris
  • Cannibals and Kings

    Cannibals and Kings
    Origins of Cultures
    In this brilliant and profound study the distinguished American anthropologist Marvin Harris shows how the endless varieties of cultural behavior -- often so puzzling at first glance -- can be explained as adaptations to particular ecological conditions. His aim is to account for the evolution of cultural forms as Darwin accounted for the evolution of biological forms: to show how cultures adopt their characteristic forms in response to changing ecological modes. "[A] magisterial interpretation of the rise and fall of human cultures and societies." -- Robert Lekachman, Washington Post Book World "Its persuasive arguments asserting the primacy of cultural rather than genetic or psychological factors in human life deserve the widest possible audience." -- Gloria Levitas The New Leader "[An] original and...urgent theory about the nature of man and at the reason that human cultures take so many diverse shapes." -- The New Yorker "Lively and controversial." -- I. Bernard Cohen, front page, The New York Times Book Review

    Cultural Materialism

    Cultural Materialism
    The Struggle for a Science of Culture
    Cultural Materialism, published in 1979, was Marvin Harris's first full-length explication of the theory with which his work has been associated. While Harris has developed and modified some of his ideas over the past two decades, generations of professors have looked to this volume as the essential starting point for explaining the science of culture to students. Now available again after a hiatus, this edition of Cultural Materialism contains the complete text of the original book plus a new introduction by Orna and Allen Johnson that updates his ideas and examines the impact that the book and theory have had on anthropological theorizing.

    Food and Evolution

    Food and Evolution
    Toward a Theory of Human Food Habits
    The old adage "you are what you eat" may be more accurate than anyone could have ever imagined. This unprecedented interdisciplinary effort by scholars in primatology, biological anthropology, archaeology, nutrition, psychology, agricultural economics, and cultural anthropology suggests that there is a systematic theory behind why humans eat what they eat. Includes discussions ranging in time from prehistory to the present, and from the most simple societies to the most complex, including South American Indian groups, African hunter-gatherers, and countries such as India, Bangladesh, Peru, and Mexico.

    Theories of Culture in Postmodern Times

    Theories of Culture in Postmodern Times
    Marvin Harris is arguably the most influential, prolific anthropological theorist of our time. This book brings together many of the strands of his work of the past two decades into a unified, contemporary statement on anthropological theory and practice. In this book, he presents his current views on the nature of culture addressing such issues as the mental/behavioral debate, emics and etics, and anthropological holism. He resoundly critiques many current theoretical trends_from sociobiology to postmodernism to Afrocentrism. And he offers a cultural materialist perspective on diverse contemporary issues such as the IQ question and the fall of communism. Harris' thought-provoking and controversial theoretical views will be required reading for all anthropologists, social theorists, and their students.

Favorite QuotesFROM THIS BOOK
  • Siempre que se discute acerca de la influencia de los factores prácticos y mundanos en los estilos de vida, estoy seguro de que alguien dirá: "¿Pero, qué opina de todas esas vacas que los...

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  • This book is about the causes of apparently irrational and inexplicable lifestyles.

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  • Yet, there is sound basis for assuming that by struggling to demystify our ordinary consciousness we shall improve the prospects for peace and economic and political justice. If this...

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