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ERIC Number: ED143732
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977
Pages: 24
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Ethnic Identity and Cultural Achievement: Popular Mythology and Archeological Realities.
Wallace, Ron
The difficulties faced by ethnic groups today are related not only to widespread unfamiliarity with the cultural evolution of specific groups, but to an inadequate popular understanding of the processes of cultural evolution itself, i.e., man's prehistory. Archeology can make significant contributions in this regard by counteracting the deleterious contemporary effects of the mythologized understandings of the human past. There are at least 6 different deleterious "popular mythologies" about the evolutionary process. All of these affect minority relationships to some extent. All might in time be corrected entirely, given a sufficient widespread understanding of the various artifactual and theoretical findings of nomothetically-oriented archeological research. None of these 6 assumptions is borne out by the present-day synthesis of archeological findings. Principally, the science of prehistory advocated in this paper can demonstrate: 1) the inadequacy of single-factor explanations of sociocultural evolution, 2) the emergence of high-energy complex societies, 3) the questionable utility of technological complexity as a criterion of cultural achievement, 4) the fallacy of assuming that a society which has undergone changes while in close contiguity with other cultures has done so as a result of its own indigenous innovations and 5) the converse of the previous fallacy. The prehistoric record indicates that the present biological and cultural diversity of humankind is a recent evolutionary development. (Author/AM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Sociological Society (1977)