reply to Scupin

Mike Lieber (U28550@UICVM.BITNET)
Sun, 16 Oct 1994 17:27:17 CDT

Yes indeed, Harris would indeed reply that the cultural (religioud) constraints
on traditional fishing grew out of the ecological constraints. The assumption
is that the ethnographer always knows more than the locals. Actually, I have
no idea why ZHarris ever bothered to do field work--or at leat talk to the
natives. What the hell do they know? I don't want to appear to be selling
anything, but in my book, _More Than a Living_, I had a kind of Harris-type
critique in the back of my mind as I was doing my analysis. The DATA that
I bring to bear in my argument obviates that sort of critique. What was
important about the cybernetic theory I used and my adaptation of Ward
Goodenough's activity-as-the-analytical-unit method was how they mapped out
the sorts of relevant DATA that had to be collected at MINIMUM!!! But I had
one other advantage--the assumption that the emic-etic contrast is nonsense.
That follows from the cybernetic construct of a system, which must include the
observer. There's only their emics and our emics. What we have to ask of our
emic framework is that it be explicit and powerful enough to translate (or map)
their emic framework. I really need not have had Harris in mind. He's
irrelevant to anything I consider important.
Mike Lieber