ENCOUNTER WITH ANTHROPOLOGY by Robert Fox

ENCOUNTER WITH ANTHROPOLOGY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Fox, a maverick anthropologist, stirred up a storm by insisting (with collaborator Lionel Tiger in The Imperial Animal) that male chauvinism was biologically based. In this collection of essays which range from field observations on the Gaelic Tory Islanders and Cochiti Pueblo Indians to theoretical speculations on language, kinship and culture (those on island squabbles and ""Pueblo Baseball"" are perhaps the most interesting) this neo-Darwinist plays on his theme with little variation: ""human cultures rest securely on the species repertoire of social behavior"" so that revolutionary behaviorist fiddling is bound to fail. (When in trouble ""find out what is in the wiring,"" don't try to change the program). Fox's basic inputs are, of course, all that Women's Libbers object to -- the ""mother-child bond"" is the basic kinship tie, men are the culture-makers who direct the ""flow of women round the system"" (even in matrilineal societies her mate is chosen by her brother); who marries whom is determined by economics, politics and status, and the young buck becomes a family man only when he chooses to. ""A man can be proud, jealous and pugnacious and live a very satisfactory life without feeling 'angst,' 'alienation' and 'anomie,' "" Fox declares (can he really?) but why should the women in his harem -- the wife, secretaries, typists, et al. -- tolerate his posturing (and their subordination) once his hollow status and pseudo-power cease to awe? He's provocative -- mainly as a target to shoot down.

Pub Date: Nov. 29th, 1973
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich