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Culture, Biology, and Anthropological Demography


  • 19 b/w illus. 26 tables
  • Page extent: 232 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.41 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 304.6
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: GN33.5 .R68 2004
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Demographic anthropology
    • Human ecology
    • Human behavior
    • Mate selection
    • Social ecology

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521809054 | ISBN-10: 0521809053)

Two distinctive approaches to the study of human demography exist within anthropology today: anthropological demography and human evolutionary ecology. The first stresses the role of culture in determining population parameters, while the second posits that demographic rates reflect adaptive behaviors that are the products of natural selection. Both sub-disciplines have achieved notable successes, but each has ignored and been actively disdainful of the other. This text attempts a rapprochement of anthropological demography and human evolutionary ecology through recognition of common research topics and the construction of a broad theoretical framework incorporating both cultural and biological motivation. Both these approaches are utilized to search for demographic strategies in varied cultural and temporal contexts ranging from African pastoralists through North American post-industrial societies. As such this book is relevant to cultural and biological anthropologists, demographers, sociologists, and historians.

• Suitable for upper-level undergraduate and/or graduate classes in anthropology and demography • Concise overview of both anthropological demography and human evolutionary ecology • Case studies dealing with diverse topics of interest to both anthropologists and demographers, e.g. , contemporary Chinese family adoption, sexual behavior and HIV/AIDS, cross-cultural patterns of mating and parental investment


Part I. Anthropological Demography and Human Ecological Behavioural Ecology: 1. Two solitudes; 2. Why bother?; 3. Anthropological demography: culture, not biology; 4. Human evolutionary ecology: biology, not culture; 5. Discussion: cultural and biological reductionism; Part II. Reconciling Anthropological Demography and Human Evolutionary Ecology: 6. Common ground; 7. Demographic strategies; 8. Reproductive interests: social interactions, life effort and demographic strategies: a Rendille example; 9. Sepaade as male mating effort; 10. Rendille primogeniture as a parenting strategy; 11. Summary: demographic strategies as links between culture and biology; Part III. Mating Effort and Demographic Strategies: 12. Mating effort as demographic strategies; 13. Cross-cultural mating strategies: polygyny and bridewealth, monogamy and dowry; 14. Bridewealth and the matter of choice; 15. Demographic and cultural change: values and morals; 16. The end of the sepaade tradition: behavioral tracking and moral change; Part IV. Demographic Strategies as Parenting Effort: 17. Parenting effort and the theory of allocation; 18. The Trivers-Willard model and parenting strategies; 19. Parity-specific parental strategies: the case of primogeniture; 20. Local resource competition model; 21. Infanticide and child abandonment: accentuating the negative; 22. Adoption in modern China: stressing the positive; 23. Summary: culture and biology in parental effort; Part V. Future Research Directions: 24. The central place of sex in anthropology and evolution; 25. Male sexuality, education and high risk behavior; 26. Final ground: demographic transitions; Part VI. References Cited.


'… Roth's undertaking is to be applauded … Roth draws on an exceptionally wide collection of materials to support his arguments … His first-hand account of how he developed this research focus will be particularly useful for those researchers engaged in or considering such cross-disciplinary work.' Population Studies

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