age sets/age classes comparision with western models

Ralph Anderson (randerso@UTCVM.UTC.EDU)
Mon, 12 Feb 1996 16:25:36 -0500

Semiannually we should discuss the relevance of anthropology to our lives
and society at large. Consequently, I am pleased to see some new discussion
of this recurrent theme. Of course, coming out of a sixties model of
anthropology training, I believe its relevance is grounded in the urgent
need for contemporary post-industrial citizens to understand the efforts
made by people at all times to accomplish the important task of fitting
their cultures to their environments. Anthropology with its depth and
comparative nature, I believe better than most disciplines, is positioned
to show these relationships and, dare I say it, advocate for coherence in
achieving a culture/environment marriage.

Once again in East Tennessee we are discussing the prospects of turning our
forests over to the chippers who will happily grind trees into oatmeal to
be sent to Japan for manufacturing paper products. Is anthropology
relevant? Granted culture is about adaptation, but perhaps it is also about
preservation. In the approaching high tech millennium, maybe trees are as
important as paper, and maybe anthropology can help provide the forsight
needed to anticipate adaptive shifts such as paper to disks.

Ralph Anderson