COWS, PIGS, WAR AND WITCHES: The Riddles of Cultures [Marvin Harris] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches has ratings and reviews. Paquita Maria said: There are several reasons why I wasn’t going to review this book. On. Pig farming was a threat to the integrity of the basic cultural and natural But cows, pigs, wars, or witches, the answers to our riddles do not lie.

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Having persevered through the last few chapters despite their sudden left turn in tone and focus, I would say 3.

Better to ban them entirely and not risk further ecological damage. Add to that confessions elicited through torture, and you have yourself quite the patsy.

Table of Contents for: Cows, pigs, wars & witches : the riddles

The main thing Harris is trying to do here is to describe how certain elements of culture, cluture may at first glance seem not to make practical or economic sense, turn out to have functions deeply rooted either in ecology and a relationship with the land, or in an adaptive relationship to power. The Madang people worshiped their own native, waars gods until Australian missionaries hit the scene around WWII and introduced them to the ridd,es of cargo.

Notify me of new posts via email. On the opposite end of things, the Maring of Papua New Guinea have the appropriate climate for pig farming, and will breed them to excess for about a decade at a time, up to a point where they risk losing too much forest, at which time they will slaughter almost every single one in order to conduct a giant feast in search of tribal allies.

Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches: The Riddles of Culture

They seem to believe that tribal peoples are nonmaterialistic, spontaneous, and reverently in touch with occult sources of enchantment Wars will be fought and lands will be conquered, leaving the tribes with new patches of forest for slash-and-burn farming.

I picked this up again last week and enjoyed it greatly. The witcbes ends with a commentary on the culture of Harris’s time, which was several decades ago, that took some of the momentum away from the book since it was so topical for the time it was written but no so much today.


These and other riddles are explored by famous anthropologist Marvin Harris, and his conclusions are simple: Perhaps half a million people died, in probably hundreds of Jewish uprisings, all led by religious insurgents called Messiahs. Someone recommended this to me when I first went back to school — eight years ago! While Westerners like to lord it over the unthinking wogs, Harris provides examples on how facile that attitude can be.

Given the arid terrain and constant movements inherent to the war-torn history of monotheism wara the biblical Holy Lands, pig farming was impractical bordering on dangerous. Primitive tribal peoples who encounter Westerners usually soldiers or anthropologists are introduced to the concept of cargo, which is interchangeable with “blessings” to early Judeo-Christians.

File:Harris Marvin Cows Pigs Wars and Witches The Riddles of Culture pdf – Monoskop

And masochistic I am not. View all 55 comments. The Kwakiutl of Vancouver Island were known to conduct a sort of ceremony referred to as “potlatch”, in which tribal elders competed with one another to show off their wealth and greatness by giving it away to the competition. Witchcraft fit the bill nicely. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email.

Be the first to ask a question about Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches. It also influences men as to the importance of recreation or religion, influences women about the priority of career or childbearing, and has a powerful effect on how we approach procreation and moral issues.

Christianity would come full circle and provide the ideological backing for revolutionary movements against the dominant social order of Europe during the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. Chiefs similarly pursue prestige, and plan great feasts to show off their managerial skills, but they themselves harvest little food. If one were to go through India and swoop up all the “useless” cows in order to grind ’em up for food, a massive influx of farmers and their families would be forced into the already overburdened cities looking for work which simply does not exist at sufficient levels.


The final bits of the book deal with counter-culture’s embrace of pseudo-science and Eastern spirituality, of defiance of the scientific method in favor of internal transcendentalism. Dec 26, Kim rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Jun 09, David Gross rated it really liked it Shelves: Roots, tubers, vegetables, nuts and seeds, meat when they can get it.

An excellent, detailed book of wackadoo theories for long-standing constant human cultural mores, working with next to no practical evidence and tied together with all the pomp and coherence of a drunk, aphasic sociologist giving an extemporaneous sermon on whatever crosses his mind.

His “proof” that Jesus was really a warrior messiah is abysmally threadbare — four verses from the Gospels, two of which he apparently doesn’t realize are parallel synoptic accounts. Harris’ earliest work began in the Boasian tradition of descriptive anthropological fieldwork, but his fieldwork experiences in Mozambique in the late s caused him to shift his focus from ideological features of culture, toward behavioral aspects.

I’m giving this book three stars because it kept me entertained, and gave some interesting ideas to chew on. No trivia or quizzes yet. I can certainly appreciate the broad appeal a uclture like this has for non-specialists and non-scholars. Please don’t hit me.

Library Resource Finder: Table of Contents for: Cows, pigs, wars & witches : the riddles

It turns out the chubby animals compete with humans for the same foods. Ruddles too often, we are like puppets on a string, as our culture determines what is ‘cool.

Smokescreens by resourceful magicians. It is by isolating and identifying these conditions that we will be able to understand and cope with some of our own apparently senseless l.