Pigs for the Ancestors: Ritual in the Ecology of a New Guinea People by Roy A. Rappaport
501 pages, $48.95 list
Pigs for the Ancestors
Ritual in the Ecology of a New Guinea People
Second Edition
This influential work is the most important and widely cited book ever published in ecological anthropology. It is a classic case study of human ecology in a tribal society, the role of culture (especially ritual) in local and regional resource management, negative feedback, and the application of systems theory to an anthropological population. It is considered a major work of theory, yet it is also empirically grounded in Rappaport’s meticulous collection of quantitative and qualitative data on such “material” matters as diet and energy expenditure, as well as such mental-cognitive-ideational domains as myth and folk taxonomies. Rappaport’s tour de force is a recognized classic because it contributes in so many ways to anthropological theory, ethnographic methodology, ecological anthropology, and the anthropology of religion. This enlarged edition offers a carefully reasoned, empirically focused reassessment of Rappaport’s original study in the context of ongoing theoretical and methodological problems.
“The original version of this book attracted more attention, critical and otherwise, than any other ethnography on the New Guinea Highlands before or since . . . [This enlarged edition] is definitely a tour de force.” —American Ethnologist

“Few ethnographic studies . . . become ‘instant classics’ upon publication, but among them is Pigs for the Ancestors . . . . The contribution of this new edition does not consist of a checklist of points and counterpoints, but a carefully reasoned, empirically focused reassessment of what has become a major research tradition within our discipline.” —American Anthropologist
Table of Contents
Foreword, 1968 (A. P. Vayda)
Prefaces, 1968, 1984
1. Ritual, Ecology, and Systems
2. The Tsembaga
3. Relations with the Immediate Environment
4. Relations with Other Local Populations
5. The Ritual Cycle
6. Ritual and the Regulation of Ecological Systems
Appendix 1. Rainfall
Appendix 2. Soils
Appendix 3. Floristic Composition of Primary Forest
Appendix 4. Estimating Yields per Unit Area
Appendix 5. Energy Expenditure in Gardening
Appendix 6. Secondary Growth
Appendix 7. Commonly Propagated Plants
Appendix 8. Nondomesticated Resources
Appendix 9. Diet
Appendix 10. Carrying Capacity
Epilogue, 1984
7. Ecology as Vulgar Materialism
8. Economism, Ecologism, and Logos
9. Ecological Principles and Native Understandings
10. Ecology Fetishism, Ecological Explanation, and an Ecological Problematic
11. Further Discussion of Cognized Models
12. Function and Description
13. Ecology and the Rationality of Systems
14. Fallacy, Final Cause, and Formal Cause
15. Systemic Analysis
16. Units and Their Implications
17. Negative Feedback
18. Ritual: Regulated or Regulating?
19. Transformation
20. Objective and Subjective Principles in Anthropology
21. The Ecology of Explanation
Appendix 11. Nutrition in Pigs for the Ancestors