Re: Is Sahlins Still Relevant?

Paul A. Reser (Paul.Reser@JCU.EDU.AU)
Mon, 29 May 1995 09:33:28 +1000

I response to Larry Cebula's posting, reading in part:
> What I would like to know is, how is Sahlins regarded by
>anthropologists today? Are there any major rebuttals or revisions
>of his work that I should look at before I start applying his
>theories willy-nilly? Is there a
>Sahlin's "school"?

I would recommend looking at "Hunter-Gatherer's Today: An Aboriginal
Economy in North Australia". It was written by J.C. Altman, published in
1987 by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies (Canberra, ACT -
Australia). Altman appreciates Sahlins, but provides a critical view and
review of his idea of "original affleunce" in a few places in the text. The
book is an an economic account of a contemporary Aboriginal population, but
I would not say the entire book is relevant to a critique of Sahlins. More
specifically to this point I would refer you to a 1984 publication by the
same author, appearing in the journal "Mankind" (Vol 14, no. 3, pp 179-190)
entitled "Hunter-gatherer subsistence production in Arnhem Land: the
original affluence hypothesis re-examined".

Paul A. Reser
Department of Psychology and Sociology phone:077 81 4964
James Cook University fax: 077 79 5435
Townsville, Queensland 4811