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718 A M E R I C A N ANTHROPOLOGIST [85, 19831

their senior civil servants. More importantly, the analyses about the Indian collective (or cor-
insights derived by the reader from this scholar- porate) responsive processes. However, the
ly presentation reflect immediately on concerns careful documentation provided by Weaver
with related constitutional issues and the allows us to draw our own conclusions where
tremendously important issue of Quebec hers do not extend far enough.
One of the most important contributions the “The Indian question is still with us” remains
book makes is the record of what Weaver calls a truism. In addition to Weaver’s accounts, the
the “corporate memory” and experience of civil Canadian constitutional deliberations made
servants, Privy Council members, and the clear that Indians are not yet part of any policy
Ministers and their deputies. T h e carefully decision-making processes. At this time, the I n -
documented account of who said and did what dian Act is again under review with little Indian
at a given point of time and the rippling effects consultation. Consultations, such as they are,
of such actions and decisions on policies and are very reminiscent of the 1969 White Paper
lives is a major contribution to our understand- ones, that is, post facto and spotty. Seemingly,
ing of how incremental collective behavior leads the insights provided by Weaver as to how and
to often immutable policies for which no one in- why certain policy decisions are made have not
dividual assumes accountability. This is central been utilized by current decision makers. many
to an understanding of Indian reactions to In- of whom are still the same individuals who ap-
dian policy and to the evaluation (hopefully) of pear in her book. Weaver’s work is a core docu-
the political processes that might counteract the ment for any serious scholar of Canadian Indian
collective process of decision making. If the policy and addresses the complexities of policy
work is to be faulted, it is only because we d o making in fruitfully analytic, highly literate,
not have access to the same data, insights, and and very readable ways.


Symbols i n Action: Ethnoarchaeological Thus, in succeeding chapters, studies of several

Studies of Material Culture. Ian Hodder. New African groups (the Tugen, Pokot, Njemps,
Studies in Archaeology. Cambridge: Cambridge Dorobo and Samburu of Kenya; the Lozi of
University Press, 1982. x + 244 pp. $39.50 Zambia; and the Nuba of Sudan) are described.
(cloth). As aspects of each group are discussed,
Hodder’s interpretations evolve, the conceptual
Stephen E. Plog schemes of different ethnologists are applied,
University of Virginia and he shows that ideas presented in earlier
chapters are simplistic. This format presumably
Karen Richman reflects the evolution of Hodder’s own ideas.
University of Virginia Documenting that evolution provides an ex-
cellent example of the continual formulation
Efforts to understand patterns of stylistic and modification that is part of any research
variation in prehistoric artifacts have increased but also leads to a longer, less succinct presen-
in recent years. Hodder addresses the relation- tation that is not theoretically integrated.
ship between patterns in material culture and Following the discussion of the ethnoarcheolog-
ethnicity, such as whether areas with similar
ical studies, Hodder outlines the implications of
types of artifacts or stylistic attributes represent the research for archeology and provides a case
similar social units or when different ethnic
units use different material symbols. In the
opening chapter, he argues that such questions T h e conclusions reached range from state-
can only be answered through ethnoarcheolog- ments concerning the causes of stylistic varia-
ical studies in which it is possible to measure tion to more general proposals about appro-
directly the relationship between such variables priate theoretical frameworks for archeological
as cultural similarity and interaction intensity. research. In regard to stylistic variation, pro-

positions that view stylistic patterns as a passive of symbolic meaning, these disparities raise
reflection or by-product of social organization questions about some of the interrelationships
or relationships are criticized. Rather than Hodder posits between material symbols and
passive reflections, Hodder (p. 125) proposes social behavior.
that material culture forms and gives meaning Finally, Hodder provides little evidence of
to social behavior as a “part of ideologies which what the people who produce, exchange, and
support, justify, legitimate, or disrupt the adap- consume material items think or say about the
tive strategies of groups within societies.” They objects studied. Thus, his identification of some
are, in short, symbols in action. As ideology and items and not others as pivotal symbolic markers
symbolic codes vary from group to group, Hod- sometimes seems arbitrary, and his discussions
der (p. 217) states that “there can never be any do not confront the problem of meaning in a
direct predictive relationships between material cultural context. Two aspects of his analysis of
culture and social behavior,” including relation- Njemps calabashes exemplify some of the prob-
ships between such variables as burial treatment lems with his treatment of meaning. Njemps
and social status or settlement area and popula- women, unlike their counterparts among the
tion size, as well as relationships between neighboring Pokot and Tugen, carve elaborate
material culture boundaries and ethnic units. designs on their calabash milk containers. Hod-
As a result of this latter conclusion, Hodder der observes that the Njemp artisans casually
criticizes some of the major components of cur- borrow designs from women of foreign ethnic
rent archeological research. groups, and he finds this practice in marked
It is an understatement to say that Hodder’s contrast to the highly conformist “in-group’’
work is provocative, though some aspects of his style of women’s clothing and pottery. While the
work, such as the emphasis on the active role of Njemps women’s dress and ceramics demon-
material symbols, echo some of the conclusions strate female “acceptance of the strict control
of other recent archeological studies such as held over them by men,” the decorative cala-
Wobst’s (Anthropological Papers of the bashes are said to be used by women to “disrupt
Museum of Anthropology, University of Michi- social boundaries in opposition to the older men
gan, No. 61) discussion in 1977 of style and in- and to form their local independence” (p. 69).
formation exchange. Nevertheless, other The designs incised on the calabashes also are
aspects depart considerably from the views of the medium of “silent discourse” for women
many archeologists and in all likelihood will whose communication in every other context
generate considerable debate. seems to be stifled completely by senior men.
That discussion may focus on several aspects However, Hodder does not identify these local
of Hodder’s research. First, while ethnoarche- independencies or give examples of women’s
ology offers the opportunity to define and disruptions of social boundaries. (Indeed, we
measure precisely such ambiguous archeological wonder if by symbolically expressing their dif-
terms as “interaction intensities” or “economic ference women are not disrupting, but reinforc-
competition,” that opportunity often is not rea- ing the status quo hierarchy.) Although he
lized because only general summary statements discusses the limited and highly controlled
concerning critical variables are provided. Sec- status of women in the Baringo district, the only
ond, material distributions and similarities evidence is drawn from Spencer’s (Routledge
often are illustrated by only dots on maps, with and Kegan Paul, 1965) ethnography of a dif-
little information on the sample sizes or samp- ferent society, the Samburu. Hodder’s (p. 83)
ling units. I t appears that the author spent only interpretation of that evidence equates lineality
a brief period among each of the groups with authority, implies that monogamous
studied, and that he spoke through interpreters unions attribute higher status to women, and
during those visits. He does not clarify to what devalues female domestic labor, propositions
extent informants and material items were that may characterize the ideology of gender
sampled systematically. The limited nature of domination in our own society but not
the ethnography is compounded by the author’s necessarily in the pastoral groups he discusses.
reliance on few other sources for his discussion T h e calabash designs also are examined for
of the different groups; those used include some representations of the Njemps social order.
ethnographies published more than 30 years “Zoned,” or bounded, decorations are con-
ago, such as Nadel’s (Oxford University Press, trasted with the total absence of, or haphazard-
1947) study of the Nuba. As culture change and ly placed, “floating” designs on Tugen and
context complicate the ethnographer’s discovery Pokot containers, and he postulates that “zona-

tion is part of the more constrained outlook and but there are occasional references to more
greater awareness of boundaries around and complex societies that have been the subject of
within the Njemps” (p. 72). Without consid- ecological interpretation (e.g., the Aztec).
ering the Njemp artisan’s conception of the The volume is divided into eight chapters, the
aesthetic order, Hodder (pp. 70-73) concludes first two of which establish the conceptual
that order in the artistic domain reflects the framework. Chapter one reviews the basic tenets
desire for order in the social world. He thus cir-upon which cultural ecology regularly draws for
cumvents altogether the Njemps cultural cate- theoretical support. Evolution is accorded spe-
gories and postulates an unsupported relation- cial attention on the grounds that ecological
ship between aesthetic order and social order. theory is ultimately grounded, at least in part,
Despite these issues, however, Hodder’s study in evolutionary theory. In chapter two, Jochim
is an important addition to theoretical discus- joins a series of psychological theories to develop
sions of the causes of variation in the archeo- a model of human behavior couched in terms of
logical record and will lead to continued revi- stimuli and rewards. This is clearly a departure
sions of theories of style. For example, while from mainstream cultural ecology, which tends
some of Hodder’s general proposals are similar to regard individual perception and motive as
to those of Wobst, the data Hodder presents are incidental to the problem of human adaptation.
inconsistent with Wobst’s predictions from the Jochim addresses, but does not resolve, the
information exchange theory, such as the pat- thorny problem of reconciling this psychological
terns of stylistic variation expected on items of approach, which would seem to admit the
differing degrees of visibility. Furthermore, possibility of vacillation in the motives and
Hodder’s discussion of the complex interrela- perceptions of an individual, with evolutionary
tions among ideology, economic strategies, theory, where inherited traits are essentially im-
mutable, thus exposing their recipients to the
social relationships, and stylistic variation are a
needed addition to previous studies of style. His rigors of natural selection.
work complements other recent analyses of the Chapters three through seven constitute the
above relationships, for example, Wiessner’s substance of what Jochim has to say about
(Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropol- ecological anthropology. Environments, their
ogy, University of Michigan, 1977) study among structure and variability, and the difficulties
the lKung Bushmen. It also suggests the need to imposed by this structure and variability on
consider the voluminous anthropological litera- those who live and reproduce in them are con-
ture on ethnicity that has been ignored by ar- sidered in chapter three. Chapter four is
cheologists concerned with stylistic patterns in devoted to feeding strategies, the goals of these
prehistoric artifacts. In combination with ar- strategies, and the range of strategies viable in
cheological studies that are beginning to different settings and circumstances. There is a
measure change through time in these lengthy discussion of efficiency in which effi-
variables, Hodder’s work will move us toward a ciency of land, labor, and time are presented as
more adequate understanding of stylistic varia- separate goals- distinctions useful in theory,
tion. but often difficult to apply.
Chapter four also takes up the issue of secur-
ity which Jochim believes is a goal of feeding
strategies among many hunter-gatherers and
Strategies for Survival: Cultural Behavior in simple agriculturalists. This discussion, how-
a n Ecological Context. Michael A . Jochzm. ever, is marred by several apparent misstate-
New York: Academic Press, 1981. x + 233 pp. ments. The most serious of these occurs with
$18.50 (cloth). reference to Peter Gould’s game theoretic
analysis of fanning strategies in Western Ghana
Robert L. Bettinger (p. 98). Briefly, Could proposes that a particu-
University of California at Davis lar mixture of maize (which does well in wet
years) and hill rice (which does well in dry years)
It is Jochim’s stated purpose to provide a should be planted by the farmers of Western
framework for examining human/environmen- Ghana, who are unable to predict the occur-
tal interaction and for comparing studies of rence of wet and dry years. Jochim identifies this
such interactions in diverse natural and cultural as a production maximization strategy solution
settings. The bulk of the text is devoted to and suggests that these farmers might instead
hunter-gatherers and simple agriculturalists, opt to maximize security by planting only hill