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ANTHROP 1AA3 Lecture Notes - Marvin Harris

Course Code
Sandra Preston

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March 28/2013
Anthropology 1AA3
- Peer evaluations due today at noon
- Reflection and revised essay due Monday (by noon)
Food Taboos
1) A marker of identity
2) Protection against diseases
3) Environment (ecology)
Reasons for Food Taboos
- Early anthropologists “quirk” of culture
- Environmental reasons not suitable for area or scarce
- Medical reasons unhealthy more value alive
- Economic reasons more value alive
- Symbolic reasons unnatural
- Social reasons to increase cohesion within groups and/or reinforce differences between groups (“us and
How did taboos about Eating Dogs Develop?
- Domesticated 10 000 ya
- Marvin Harris dogs used for transport, hunting, protection, warmth, companionship
- Service more valuable than meat
- There dogs will eaten in cultures where their services are not needed and/or resources are scarce
Important points:
- Food is more than nutrition
- As in other aspects of life, food is an expression of our culture
- Food is symbolic and ritualized; it has meaning
- Meaning varies within and between human groups
Food and Subsistence
Aspects of Food Examined in Anthropology
- Production
- Preparation (cooking)
- Distribution gifts, exchange, feasts, festivals, markets…
- Consumption socially patterned
- Disposal what is considered trash; who gets leftovers?
Influences on food production and diet
- Geography
- Access to water
- Growing conditions
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