Hunger and Work in a Savage Tribe: A Functional Study of Nutrition among the Southern Bantu

Hunger and Work in a Savage Tribe: A Functional Study of Nutrition among the Southern Bantu

Hunger and Work in a Savage Tribe: A Functional Study of Nutrition among the Southern Bantu

Hunger and Work in a Savage Tribe: A Functional Study of Nutrition among the Southern Bantu

Excerpt

Anthropology is a young science. This inflicts upon its followers a great many disabilities. It gives them also one or two advantages. In the new Science of Man it is still possible to find and work out problems entirely untouched; to become an explorer of untrodden fields; and thus to reap the reward of discovery--the reward of discovery, but not the unearned increment of first claim.

In scientific pioneering the first-comer, far from enjoying any privileges of idle occupation, has always a specially difficult task and plenty of hard work to do. This is true of anthropology as of any other branch of learning. In the breaking of a new field there is no relying upon the well-known compendia, no looking up of the evidence in Tylor, Westermarck and Frazer. The student has to go to the sources, scour the articles in special journals, and look through innumerable records of field-work. And since the subject is new, he will find but scanty notices and scattered bits of information. Nor can he take over from scientific tradition well-established methods, patterns of research, ready-made concepts, classifications and terminologies. He has to work out all these for himself.

In this volume Dr. Richards has undertaken just such a difficult task and has carried it out successfully. She has set out upon an entirely new subject: the social and cultural functions of nutritive processes. To my knowledge there is no book upon this problem published by an anthropologist, or for the matter of that by any student of an allied discipline. The author presents us with the first collection of facts on the cultural aspects of food and eating; she demonstrates conclusively that this universally neglected subject can and indeed must be treated in the science of human civilization; she lays . . .

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