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Rethinking Anthropological Perspectives on Migration

Edited by Graciela S. Cabana and Jeffery J. Clark

Publication Year: 2011

All too often, anthropologists study specific facets of human migration without guidance from the other subdisciplines (archaeology, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, and linguistics) that can provide new insights on the topic. The equivocal results of these narrow studies often make the discussion of impact and consequences speculative.

In the last decade, however, anthropologists working independently in the four subdisciplines have developed powerful methodologies to detect and assess the scale of past migrations. Yet these advances are known only to a few specialized researchers.

Rethinking Anthropological Perspectives on Migration brings together these new methods in one volume and addresses innovative approaches to migration research that emerge from the collective effort of scholars from different intellectual backgrounds. Its contributors present a comprehensive anthropological exploration of the many topics related to human migration throughout the world, ranging from theoretical treatments to specific case studies derived primarily from the Americas prior to European contact.

Published by: University Press of Florida

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. iii-v


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pp. v-vi

List of Tables

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p. vii-vii

List of Figures

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

The primary goal of this volume is to break down subdisciplinary boundaries within anthropology in migration research. This aspiration extends well beyond migration research. We would not be the first to voice concern that anthropology has fallen into a “fragmentation trap” where the exploration of new theories ...

Part 1. Setting the Stage

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p. 1-1

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Introduction. Migration in Anthropology: Where We Stand

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pp. 3-15

As anthropologists we pride ourselves on our holistic approach to studying culture and society, past and present; we explore the human condition from multiple perspectives using a variety of data sources. Unfortunately this strength is also a weakness, as this multivariate approach can also lead to fragmentation, dispute, and ...

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1. The Problematic Relationship between Migration and Culture Change

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pp. 16-28

For more than a century, anthropologists have been pursuing “migration” as a topic of inquiry: if people moved from one area to another at some point in prehistory, did that movement precipitate changes in behavior, language, and material culture? The answer to this question has important implications. If the answer ...

Part 2. Archaeological Approaches

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p. 29-29

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2. Migration in Fluid Social Landscapes

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pp. 31-44

The minimal definition employed in this volume describes migration as “one-way residential location to a different ‘environment.’” This definition conceptualizes migration as a transgressive phenomenon involving the crossing of social boundaries. But what if both social boundaries and the groups we envision crossing ...

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3. Movement and the Unsettling of the Pueblos

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pp. 45-67

An interesting story appeared in the newspapers a few years ago about London cab drivers and their brains. The outlines of the story are as follows. A study had been undertaken in which the relationship between brain development and the length of time on the job among cab drivers was explored ...

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4. S-cuk Kavick: Thoughts on Migratory Process and the Archaeology of O’odham Migration

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pp. 68-83

This chapter is the fourth in a series of essays that examine O’odham ideology and archaeology to consider various aspects of the anthropology of Native infrastructure, mobility, and indigenous landscape analysis (see Darling 2009; Darling and Lewis 2007; Darling et al. 2004). In this chapter, I wish to develop an idea ...

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5. Disappearance and Diaspora: Contrasting Two Migrations in the Southern U.S. Southwest

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pp. 84-107

Since the publication of David Anthony’s seminal article in 1990, archaeologists of the U.S. Southwest—particularly those working in the late precontact period (A.D. 1200–1500)—have returned to migration in their explanations of material culture change (e.g., Adams and Duff 2004; Adler 1996; Bernardini ...

Part 3. Archaeolinguistic Approaches

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p. 109-109

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6. Using Cognitive Semantics to Relate Mesa Verde Archaeology to Modern Pueblo Languages

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pp. 111-146

In this chapter I develop a new approach to integrating archaeology and language in the study of ancient migrations. The very existence of language families implies that the movement of speech communities has been a common feature of human history, even if such movements are rare today. Rouse ...

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7. Power, Agency, and Identity: Migration and Aftermath in the Mezquital Area of North-Central Mexico

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pp. 147-171

Cabana and Clark ask in their introductory chapter, “Why migration?” For our part, the theoretical value of migration lies in its exaggeration of the otherwise common event of culture contact. This forefronts fundamental questions about the relationship between biology and ethnicity and the factors affecting ...

Part 4. Ethnolinguistic Approaches

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p. 173-173

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8. Linguistic Paleontology and Migration: The Case of Uto-Aztecan

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pp. 175-190

Migration has been a central theme in linguistic paleontology, a set of methods that uses the results of the comparative method in historical linguistics to reconstruct events, processes, and ideas in prehistory. The map of the languages of the world, grouped according to genealogical “families” or “stocks”—groups ...

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9. A Numic Migration? Ethnographic Evidence Revisited

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pp. 191-206

Ethnographic approaches to the study of migration have generally focused on defining motivating factors, such as changes in demographic or economic conditions, and on processual factors, such as communication networks or family structures that have facilitated documented population shifts, both gradual ...

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10. Loanword Histories and the Demography of Migration

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pp. 207-228

This chapter has a linguistic emphasis in the sense that it focuses on a neglected set of linguistic tools and evidence that have particular potential for assessing the demic processes accompanying different migration histories. But at the same time, the chapter is necessarily multidisciplinary. Its case studies, drawn from ...

Part 5. Bioanthropological Approaches

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p. 229-229

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11. Identifying Archaeological Human Migration Using Biogeochemistry: Case Studies from the South-Central Andes

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pp. 231-246

Innovative new theoretical and methodological developments are dramatically changing the ways anthropologists identify and understand migration. By using biogeochemical techniques from the physical sciences, archaeologists and bioarchaeologists can now identify migration in the migratory individuals ...

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12. Migration in Anthropological Genetics

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pp. 248-262

Migration, as have many ordinary language terms, has been defined in several senses in biology, biological anthropology, and anthropological genetics (see Fix 1999). Biologists tend to study migration from both an ecological and an evolutionary point of view. Thus biologist Hugh Dingle focuses on behavior as the ...

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13. Continuity and Change in AnthropologicalPerspectives on Migration: Insights from Molecular Anthropology

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pp. 263-277

Historically, anthropological discussions of migration have focused on migration as both a source and form of major change. The term “migration” has been used most frequently to refer to mass population movements over large distances and across sociocultural boundaries (Cabana 2002; Clark 2001). In most ...

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14. Migration Muddles in Prehistory: The Distinction between Model-Bound and Model-Free Methods

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pp. 278-292

The study of past human migration has followed varying trajectories in bioarchaeology and paleoanthropology over the past half-century. Bioarchaeological studies have used biological distance analysis to evaluate continuity of regional populations, identify external migration, and address questions of intraregional ...

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15. Evolutionary Models of Migration in Human Prehistory and Their Anthropological Significance

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pp. 293-309

Many of this volume’s chapters examine a long-standing tension in anthropology concerning the relative roles of large-scale population movements and local intergroup interactions in shaping human biological and cultural variation. This tension is reflected within the field of anthropological genetics in the ...

Part 5. Lessons from Contemporary Migration

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p. 311-311

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16. Modern Perspectives on Ancient Migrations

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pp. 313-338

In many ways, the recent (i.e., post-1990) renewed interest in migration among prehistorians represents an attempt to overcome the shortcomings of previous research: instead of simply using migration as a convenient explanation for sudden changes found in local material cultures, prehistorians are now developing ...

List of Contributors

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pp. 339-340


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pp. 341-350

E-ISBN-13: 9780813048208
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813036076
Print-ISBN-10: 0813036070

Page Count: 362
Illustrations: 43 b&w illustrations, 16 tables
Publication Year: 2011

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Pueblo Indians -- Migrations.
  • Uto-Aztecan Indians -- Migrations.
  • Human remains (Archaeology).
  • Emigration and immigration.
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