Marxist and Structural Marxist Perspectives of Hunter-Gatherers
The entirely unnecessary confusion regarding the differences between middle-range and optimal foraging theory reviewed in Chapter 4 indicates the kinds of problems that arise when research is conducted in the absence of a firm understanding of how it relates to general theory. Middle-range theorists to the contrary, like any other scientific enterprise, hunter-gatherer research requires a decent body of general theory. In the sense I intend here, to be viable that general theory must present, minimally, a coherent explanatory matrix in which materialist explanation and a concern for evolutionary processes figure prominently. I assume, further, that just as these features will characterize any modern theory of hunter-gatherers, so must they characterize any modern general theory of anthropology. These stipulations reflect my own theoretical perspective and assumptions regarding the quintessential role of hunter-gatherers in anthropology. Note further still that by invoking these stipulations and the body of theory underlying them, I am denying deliberately any possible role here for what has been called “post-processual archaeology” (Hodder 1982a, b, 1983). As Yengoyan (1985) notes, that approach effectively precludes any chance of doing comparative or generalizing research, which is assumed to be the principal purpose of all the theories, limited and general, in question here (see later discussion).
KeywordsSocial Formation General System Theory Marxist Theory Primitive Society Individual Hunting
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