Friday, January 27, 2012

Cultural Materialism

Marvin Harris developed the cultural materialism approach as a research strategy linking ecological and sociological branches of anthropology.His theory focuses on the importance of population pressure and ecological pressure in the determination of socio-cultural systems.

According to him, the evolution of four levels of human organization is determined by the need for food,sexual relations,affective stimuli and so on.The four levels are the infrastructure of production and reproduction.The structures of domestic and political economy.The behavioral superstructure of social relations and the mental superstructure of goals,values,beliefs etc.The first level determines the second,the second the third and the third determines the fourth level.The theory of Harris is considered to be a variant of ecological determinism.The pioneer's work is aimed at arriving at ecological explanations for taboos,cannibalism and the practice of food prohibition.

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