Marxist Anthropology. essentially an economic interpretation of history based on the works of Karl Marx and Frederich Engels posits a materialist model of societal change
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Karl Marx (1818-1883).
1820 - 1895
1956 published a Marxist reinterpretation of Meyer Fortes’sanalysis of the Tallensi (Ghana) society
The Tallensi of are subsistence farmers who traditionally lacked centralized leadership..
Fortes said that men worked the land of their fathers because ancestors graves were built on it for religious reasons I.e. functional
He proposed a more practical reason for people’s attachment to the land.
Worsely Showed that Tallensi young men returned to their father’s homestead when he reached old because of a the desire to inherit the right to farm some of this land.
Worsely demonstrated how Marx’s axiom that control of the means of production conferred power, elucidated the economic basis of lineage organization in small scale societies
The writings of Marx had been largely ignored by anthropologists but in the late 60s and early 70s they were rediscovered
In 1969, the Radical Caucus of the American Anthropological Association presented a resolution to the Association's annual meeting which began:
"Anthropology since its inception has contained a dual but contradictory heritage. On the one hand it derives from a humanistic tradition of concern with people. On the other hand, anthropology is a discipline developed alongside and within the growth of the colonial and imperial powers. By what they have studied (and what they have not studied) anthropologists have assisted in, or at least acquiesced to, the goals of imperialist policy. It is becoming increasingly apparent to many that these two traditions are in contradiction."
Marx's 11th Thesis on Feuerbach in mind: that the philosophers have interpreted the world, in various ways; the point, however, is to change it.