Marvin Harris

Cultural Materialism: A Conceptual Analysis

The essay discusses Marvin Harris’ cultural materialism concept, which posits that all human social relations are determined by the material conditions of life. The concept is used to explain a wide range of phenomena, from the Pueblo Rebellion to the Russian Revolution. However, the concept has also been criticized for its reductionist approach and for its failure to take into account the role of ideas in social change.

The Different Roles of Messiahs in Harris’ “Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches”

In “Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches: The Riddle of Cultures”, Marvin Harris attempts to explain the significance of the Biblical stories for the culture of contemporary US society. He does this by analyzing the cultural function of messiahs in different societies.

Harris argues that messiahs have always played an important role in human societies. They usually fulfill one or more of the following functions:
– The Subduer: A messiah who subdues evil forces and makes the world a better place;
– The Controller: A messiah who controls the behavior of people and keeps them in check;
– The Retaliator: A messiah who avenges wrongs and punishes those who deserve it.

According to Harris, all three types of messiahs can be found in the Bible.

The Importance of Anthropology

This essay looks at the importance of anthropology, with a focus on three key writers in the field. It discusses how their work has helped to shape our understanding of human societies and how they have adapted to their environments.