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Social stratification and mobility in central Veracruz ? By Hugo G. Nutini

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Social stratification and mobility in central Veracruz ? By Hugo G. Nutini
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  Book reviews Archaeology and materialculture D e  W aal , F rans .  Our inner ape: the best and worst of human nature  . xi,  272  pp., plates,bibliogr. London: Granta Books,  2005 . £ 17 . 99 (cloth)  JRAI   readers with a background in, or even ageneral awareness of, recent advances inprimatology will be familiar with the pivotalcontributions that Frans de Waal has made tothis field. Rooted in the tradition of classicalEuropean ethology with its emphasis on detailedobservation and description of behaviour innatural or near-natural settings, de Waal’spioneering research on chimpanzee politicsopened the eyes of specialists and generalreaders alike to the capacity for assortedskulduggery and machination among our nearest relatives; and also to their elaboratedevices for conflict resolution. More recently, de Waal has played a leading part in opening up adiscussion of social complexity in general that emphasizes its situational character, andpromises new understandings of the emergenceof human from non-human forms of socialaction (see, e.g., de Waal & Tyack (eds),  Animal social complexity  ,  2003 ). His sophisticatedanalyses of political strategies amongnon-human primates have given him, rightly inmy view, a voice in geo-politicalhorizon-scanning in the human world.This book draws on the scientific authority of de Waal’s earlier and parallel work, but isdifferent. In that it is addressed to a generalreadership, it can be placed within the‘popularizing’ genre also inhabited by manyother authors, of whom Dawkins is perhapscurrently the most exposed. Boundaries andboundary-crossings between ‘academic’ and‘popular’ writing relating to the humancondition deserve, of course, extended analysisin their own right. Here, I have space only tonote the grand narrative that runs through thebook, and connects it to other grand narrativesand other moments in a history of Westernstory-telling about the ‘nature of human nature’.As its subtitle announces, the book seeks toilluminate, through primate models, a moralityof the human condition. De Waal himself scrupulously recounts some of the earlier historyof story-telling about the ‘primate in the human’– killer apes, territorial imperatives, aggressionand dominance, genetic selfishness, femalecoalitions – but stops short of locating his ownaccount within the same narrative history.Hindsight reveals clearly how, as knowledgeabout wild primates accumulated over thetwentieth century, preconceptions about ‘human nature’ had the effect of screeningparticular primate models in and out of view,while, among those groups that were allowed tobe visible, selective data-gathering reflected to asignificant extent the ideologies and tensions of the times. If the story is an ongoing one, inwhich the science resonates in deep ways withthe social and historical consciousness of thescientist and his/her audiences, it is surely not altogether fanciful to see in the new knowledgeof fissile and fragmentary primate power-mongering an echo of the contemporary –indeed European – political experience.Bonobos, and our even newer knowledge of thisfascinating group, add another model to therepertoire available for the telling of stories.  Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.)    ,    -   © Royal Anthropological Institute    Power, sex, and empathy recombine, and enter the narrative in new ways. Bonobos offer anattractive primate model  pour nos jours  . What might a future historian of grandnarratives discern as themes connecting de Waal’s account with others in the genre? Ibelieve that there are two important ones.Firstly, de Waal constructs his ‘human nature’in the form of an undifferentiated ‘we’ whosecharacter is assumed to be directly known. Agood example occurs early in the book:The bonobo provides a compellingexample of social harmony preciselybecause underlying tensions remainvisible. This paradox applies to us as well.In the same way that the ultimate test of aship is how it holds up in a storm, weonly fully trust a relation if it has survivedoccasional conflict.This piece of folk psychology may be truesometimes, but is at least questionable. Similarly,the claim (p.  17 ) that ‘[h]uman socialorganization is characterized by a uniquecombination of   1 ) male bonding,  2 ) femalebonding, and  3 ) nuclear families’ (p.  108 ) mayindeed express a deep truth beneath variableethnographies, but the diversity of cultural formsneeds to be acknowledged and accounted for before the claim to universality can be madegood. Throughout the book, in fact, de Waal’snarrative structure is of the form ‘ P   is the caseamong  X   primate group ... and the same is trueof humans’. There is here a direct echo not onlyof other contemporary and recent grandnarratives, but also of Darwin himself, whosewritings on human-animal comparisonfrequently take exactly this form.The second connecting theme is themoralization of ‘nature’ and the naturalization of morality. De Waal writes, as have predecessorssuch as Lorenz, within a moral construction of nature, in which his concern is to show that ageneralized ‘human nature’ comes equippedwith the potential for ‘good’ as well as ‘bad’qualities. Nature is drawn into a human moraluniverse, which is assumed to be invariant.Future analysts should be able to trace the waysin which a moralized nature leaches continuallyin and out of contemporary ideologicalposition-taking (where, for example, emperor penguins are taken as a model for family values)and in which the whole complex is, once more,embedded in a history of ideas and practice.Also striking in its continuity with other writingsof the past and present is a two-edgedconception of the morality of nature. As for Lorenz (aggression is the precondition for bothdestruction and progress) and Dawkins (wehumans alone can overrule our selfish genes),empathy in de Waal’s view is what makespossible both intentional cruelty and intentionalkindness in the chimpanzee, bonobo, and‘human’ make-up.If, as I argue, de Waal’s book is readable as acontemporary moment in a longer morality tale,this does not of itself invalidate the sciencebehind the story. The discoveries that de Waaland others have made about the complexity of non-human primate social relations, and theneed for an equal subtlety in addressing themempirically and theoretically, are of the utmost importance. What one could wish for is aparallel sophistication in the representation of the human. In one of the very few references toanthropology in the book, de Waal recounts anunfortunate conference experience with‘postmodern anthropologists’, who ‘believe that reality is made up of words, that it cannot beseparated from our narratives’ (p.  91 ). This, it seems, led to an impasse over the actuality of orgasm without there being a word for it.Leaving aside the likelihood that each side onthat occasion missed the other’s point, the hopemust now be that scientists of de Waal’s calibrewill find ground on which to hold aconversation with anthropologists (postmodernor not) that recognizes both the complexities of real phenomena, and the complexities of their interpretation in the primate and human worlds.H ilary  C allan  Royal Anthropological Institute  D ube , S aurabh .  Stitches on time: colonial textures and postcolonial tangles  . xv,  259  pp., figs,table, bibliogr. London, Durham, N.C.: DukeUniv. Press,  2004 . £ 65 . 00  (cloth), £ 18 . 50  (paper)Speaking from within the field of anthropological history, which locates thetensions between historical and contemporaryconstructions of community/state/nation frompost-colonial perspectives, Saurabh Dube’s newmonograph develops the notion of ‘historywithout warranty’ to revitalize the subalternstudies project. Creatively entitled  Stitches ontime  , the work attempts to open up a newmethodology for a scholarly negotiation of theinterface between imperial histories andpost-colonial modernities. The book is organizedinto two parts, the first dealing with evangelicaldiscourse, state legalities, and related subaltern B ook reviews 478  Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.)    ,    -   © Royal Anthropological Institute    interventions and transgressions (all framed as‘colonial textures’) and the second focusing oncontemporary historiography, secularism, and Hindutva   (i.e. ‘postcolonial tangles’). GivenDube’s agenda to connect history and thepresent, the separation of these two parts seemscurious. For all its critical insight andethnographic detail, the findings of the first section do not feed into the later chapters,which remain as an assortment of theoreticallyand politically pertinent but (within the context of the first part of the book) somewhat randomessays. The book’s title re-hashes Dube’s panelon ‘Stitches on time: borders of histories andfabrics of pasts’ held at the Association of AsianStudies meeting in Washington, D.C. in  1998 . It would have been worthwhile to re-organize theshape of the book (perhaps by integrating thefinal chapter into the introduction and bycombining chapters  1  and  2 ) and to revise thetitle as  Stitches on time: essays on history without warranty  , in order to retain the poetics of thetextile metaphor whilst promoting the desiredhistoriographic focus.Although it will not be heralded for itsnovelty, ‘history without warranty’ asencountered in  Stitches on time   will berecognized as a valuable meditation on the issueof historical consciousness in a polarizedacademic-political milieu pittinganti-foundational approaches against neo-foundational realities (such as  Hindutva  , or ‘Hindu-ness’, for example). For Dube, historywithout warranty can be understood as‘particular dispositions toward the past and thepresent, toward social worlds and their criticalunderstandings’, to enable a deep questioningof the concepts generated through colonialismand modernity, which return to inform bothcommunity consciousness and governmentalpractice in post-colonial arenas. It is therefore areflexive and malleable notion, which can beelaborated via both colonial encounters,shedding light on the dialectics betweenlow-caste converts and Protestant missionariesin central India, and more recent trends insubaltern studies and religious nationalism. Asnoted in his discussion of the artwork of SaviSawarkar and citation of popular imagery, theidea can also be made relevant to visual fields,although Dube does not develop thesepotentials.Dube could also have elaborated the notionof the vernacular, which is pitted against thecosmopolitan and applied almost ubiquitouslyto disparate subaltern situations. He uses thetitle of   Stitches on time   to trace how the‘vernacularization’ of the proverb ‘A stitch intime saves nine’ (as spoken by his childhoodconvent teacher) can shed light on the subalternexperience. Suggestive of (a) the urgency that accompanied the birth of modernity in India(in terms of de-colonization), (b) thecontingency of agency/practice and time, and(c) modernity’s difficult translatability/pluralization (into the universal from theparticular, and vice versa), the phrase and itsre-working in a site of Indian modernity provideDube with enough metaphorical possibilitiesand conceptual leads to rethink the role of anthropological history in relation tocontemporary South Asia.On account of his conceptual and textualdexterity, which unravels narratives of cohesionat their seams whilst threading new motifs intothe critical agenda, special mention should bemade of Dube’s usage of the textile metaphor.Though familiar to scholars of resistance throughearlier references to ‘entanglements’ of power,and ‘knots’ of subaltern historical consciousness, Stitches on time   re-weaves the narrative threads,marginal designs, and enmeshed subjects of modernity directly into the surface of the text. Inpresenting the anthropological historical text asa complex fabric, which ties the threads gleanedfrom decades of deconstruction into  swadeshi  (indigenist)-type demands for inter-communityunity and political autonomy, Dube knits therhetoric of artisanal creativity into new discursiveformations. These may draw on MahatmaGandhi’s  khadi   idea, that is, the  satyagrahi   (civildisobedience) practice of cloth-spinning andrenunciation, and related state ideals that havebeen institutionalized via the All IndiaHandicrafts Board (see, e.g., KamaladeviChattopadhyay writing in the journal  Marg  , 1964 : ‘Stitches are but a means to an end, not an end in themselves’). Dube employs themetaphor of material culture to re-inscribesubaltern experience and consciousness into thefabrics of modernity and post-modernity, of colonialism and post-colonialism, of authorityand alterity.As such,  Stitches on time   should appeal toscholars and students of these transformativeprocesses. Dube, however, would benefit fromavoiding excessive alliteration, which he uses inthe introduction, and applying his critique of ahistorical treatments of terms to himself, suchas in relation to the term  adivasi  , which hetranslates literally ‘srcinal inhabitant’ but whichis also constitutive of more complex, oftensubaltern, modernities.D aniel  J. R ycroft  University of East Anglia  B ook reviews  479  Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.)    ,    -   © Royal Anthropological Institute    H abicht -M auche , J udith  A., S uzanne  L.E ckert  & D eborah  L. H untley  (eds).  The social life of pots  . xi,  324  pp., maps, figs, tables,illus., bibliogr. Tucson: Univ. Arizona Press, 2006 . $ 50 . 00  (cloth)This volume brings together research on ceramictechnology of glaze-decorated pottery madeduring the Pueblo IV period in the SouthwesternUS, approximately AD  1300 - 1700 . With morethan a dozen authors, this volume displays theresults of a recent surge in research on ceramictechnology. The contents are technical, but clearly presented, and of interest to anyonecurious about the potential of ceramictechnology studies. The social life of pots   also displays the sociallife of research. Authors include prime movers inceramic technology studies, their students, andjunior colleagues. The scope of some articles ismore limited than others as a result of thedisparity in experience, but a coming generationof researchers in Americanist ceramic technologystudies is obviously being trained, mentored,and showcased here. The potential of neutronactivation (INAA) and mass spectrometry(ICP-MS) in archaeology is being realized.The authors employ petrographic andspectrographic analyses to determine themineralogical and elemental composition of glazes and tempers. Habicht-Mauche (chap.  1 )outlines the contemporary theoreticalapproaches that inform the interpretation of thetechnological data. Stark (chap.  2 ) describessome of these, including practice theory andBourdieu’s concept of ‘ habitus  ’. Lemonnier’s useof the concept of ‘ chaîne opératoire  ’, andLechtman’s definition of ‘technological style’,along with Appadurai’s views on the ‘social lifeof things’.For those unfamiliar with the Southwesternglaze ware sequence, Eckert (chap.  3 )summarizes the series of regional ceramic typesthat change across space and through time,interrelated by their use of glaze paint. Moredata presentation than the other chapters,Eckert’s summary is most comprehensive. It maybe time for me to discard the mimeographedconference proceedings that have been mysource for these descriptions.Many ceramic studies demonstrate changeover time and space in decoration or other attributes, and a central question has been what these changes mean. Do they precede or followsocial changes; do they represent migratingpeople, or exchange of goods and ideas?Chapters  4 - 13  take on these questions.Fenn  et al  . (chap.  4 ) show that different paint ‘recipes’ were used on White Mountain Red Ware and Cibola White Ware, within sites as wellas changing over time in the Silver Creek area of Arizona. They suggest that glaze paint wasintroduced with changes in firing required to yield red-surfaced pottery. Paint that wouldremain black after firing contained minerals that produced a glassy finish. Van Keuren (chap.  5 )looks even more closely at glaze paint, findingconsistent brushstroke patterns on FourmilePolychrome and highly varied brushstrokes onthe later Grasshopper Polychrome. He suggeststhat this change displays a loss of symboliccontent over time, with Fourmile painters seeingevery stroke charged with meaning, while for Grasshopper painters the finished vesselembodied meaning, while the painting processdid not.Huntley (chap.  6 ) and Schachner (chap.  7 )examine glaze painted ceramics from the Zuniregion. Huntley shows that glaze recipes becameincreasingly homogeneous, which she attributesto a ‘shared conception about the “correct” wayto make a glaze paint that may be tied to theproposed ritual functions of glaze ware vessels’(p.  121 ). Schachner examines the decline of glazeproduction in the Zuni area during the AD 1400 s, associating the subsequent pottery typeswith the arrival of new population and activitiesincorporating migrants into new social groupsbuilding a shared tradition. Laumbach (chap.  8 )examines a periphery, the site of Pinnacle Ruin,identifying a migrant occupation that arrived inthe late thirteenth century.Eckert (chap.  9 ) compares four sites dating tothe late thirteenth century in the Central RioGrande, noting the varied pace of change fromblack-on-white to glaze paint at each. Sheconcludes that ‘glaze technology ... was theresult of the complex web of social interactionsthat reflected villagers’ attempts to negotiate thecomplex, and often contradictory dynamics of anewly formed social landscape’ (p.  175 ).Herhahn’s analysis of glaze paint minerals(chap.  10 ) suggests that there may not be a clear priority of Zuni glaze painted pottery over that from the Rio Grande Valley. She points out that early Zuni glaze and Rio Grande glaze ware bothutilized lead sources from the Rio Grande insimilar glaze recipes.Nelson and Habicht-Mauche (chap.  11 ) lookat the distribution of finished glaze ware vesselscompared to the distribution of lead ores. Asingle lead source in the Cerrillos Hills was usedpreferentially, though other sources wereavailable. Thus the finished vessels were locally B ook reviews 480  Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.)    ,    -   © Royal Anthropological Institute    made, but shared a regional paint source.Symbolic value is seen as the motive for thischoice.Capone (chap.  12 ) considers glaze decoratedceramics from Salinas region during the latter period of glaze production, the sixteenth andseventeenth centuries, after the arrival of Europeans, while Leonard (chap.  13 ), looks out onto the Plains. Examining temper to identify thesource of glaze wares at Plains sites, sheproposes a neat explanation for the different range of glaze wares found at each of the closelyspaced Garza sites. Groups dispersed during the year developed trade relationships that theymaintained during their shared winter encampment in the relatively mild climate of Blanco Canyon.Cordell (chap.  14 ) points out that the authorswork in the tradition of Anna Shepard – anoutstanding ceramic technologist. Shepardconducted her work more than fifty years ago,examining the mineralogy of pottery from PecosPueblo and other sites. Her legacy is apparent;many of the authors have worked withShepard’s archive. Cordell provides context for Shepard, explaining why her work took so longto be incorporated into accepted archaeologicalpractice.Cordell also reminds us to consider whether sites were contemporaneous before assumingthat they were part of a network. She points out the need for consideration of the proper scale of analysis, the need for theory, iconographystudies, and examination of pottery distribution.The ambitious goal of applying practice theorywill need additional effort, too. The unansweredquestions are many but there are new directionsdiscussed here that apply well beyond theAmerican Southwest. W inifred  C reamer  Northern Illinois University  H oltorf , C ornelius .  From Stonehenge to Las Vegas: archaeology as popular culture  . x,  185  pp.,illus., bibliogr. Oxford, New York: AltaMira Press, 2005 . $ 72 . 00  (cloth), $ 24 . 95  (paper)Near the beginning of Cornelius Holtorf’s newbook,  From Stonehenge to Las Vegas  , he includestwo sketches. One depicts a precipitous chasmseparating ‘The lost past’, with its ruined castleand ‘many unresolved questions’, from ‘Thefamiliar present’ of cars, Las Vegas, and thetower-block of ‘daily life’; the other sketch,entitled ‘The world of our experiences’, depicts abusy motorway snaking between the castle, Las Vegas, and the tower-block. No worrying chasmhere, the second sketch offers a graphicillustration of the increasingly accepted thesisamong trendy archaeologists that, as Holtorf puts it, ‘past and present [are] part of a singlereality, with archaeologists and otherscelebrating it’.Cornelius Holtorf’s is the latest in a series of books by the group sometimes called the‘post-processual archaeologists’. Led by thetriumvirate of Michael Shanks, Ian Hodder, andChris Tilley, they maintain that the interpretationof the past is determined by the process of excavation itself and particularly by the culturalcontext in which the archaeologist conducts that excavation and interpretation. In other words,archaeology is as much about perception andideology as it is about objective science. Andtherefore images, metaphors, and narrativeswhich illustrate that perception become asinteresting as the statistical data extracted fromthe ground.Like the authors of these previous books,Holtorf explores the symbolic significance of the‘underground’ in the cultural imagination, themetaphor of the ‘earth as body’, and issues of authenticity and desire. But he pushes thedebate over the relative importance of imagination or scientific objectivity inarchaeology even further. ‘It is not what happened in the past that needs investigating’,he argues, but rather ‘why so many of us are sointerested in the past in the first place’. Hemeasures that interest by surveying the portrayalof archaeology in popular culture.  FromStonehenge to Las Vegas   is packed withinformation about archaeologists in film andnovels, about new computer games involvingarchaeologists, and about museums and theheritage industry. There are also wittyphotographs of archaeological ‘sites’ today,many snapped by Holtorf himself; the picture of a ‘Mayan frieze’ in a Cambridge sports shopstands out. ‘Ultimately the perceptions of themany matter as much as, or more than, thefactual knowledge of the few’, Holtorf argues.Therefore, one must consider archaeology not simply in popular culture but ‘as popular culture’.Holtorf writes with spirit and enthusiasm,although several lists and boxes interrupt thepleasure of the text. This is not a book for thegeneral reader and leaves the reader wonderingwhy all this archaeology matters. Holtorf iscaught up in the ‘magic’ of it for its own sake,his sketched cars happily racing down thefreeway between Stonehenge and Las Vegas. Thecollage of images and information dances before B ook reviews  481  Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.)    ,    -   © Royal Anthropological Institute  
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