Review: Pigs for the ancestors: ritual in the ecology of a New Guinea people

  • Gerth I
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Abstract

This influential work is the most important and widely cited book ever published in ecological anthropology. It is a classic case study of human ecology in a tribal society, the role of culture (especially ritual) in local and regional resource management, negative feedback, and the application of systems theory to an anthropological population. It is considered a major work of theory, yet it is also empirically grounded in Rappaport's meticulous collection of quantitative and qualitative data on such "material" matters as diet and energy expenditure, as well as such mental-cognitive-ideational domains as myth and folk taxonomies. Rappaport's tour de force is a recognized classic because it contributes in so many ways to anthropological theory, ethnographic methodology, ecological anthropology, and the anthropology of religion. This enlarged edition offers a carefully reasoned, empirically focused reassessment of Rappaport's original study in the context of ongoing theoretical and methodological problems.

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Authors

  • Ilse Gerth

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