Preface to Ecology Meaning and Religion P.1 of 3

Like all essays these must speak for themselves, so I shall be brief in sending them on their way. The first two were written a good many years ago. The second is reprinted unchanged, but for the first I have prepared a "new" final section, based upon an unpublished article also written in 1961. My reasons for expanding an essay almost two decades old with an equally ancient argument are twofold. First, the constraints of original publication were such as to require so drastic a condensation of an argument concerning the ecological bases of differences in social stratification in Polynesia that it became almost incomprehensible, but, made clearer in the present expansion, it may still he of interest to some students. Second, the propriety of the distinction between populations and social orders upon which that argument rests remains a matter of debate in anthropology. Because it has been the object of rather sharp criticism within the last several years, it seemed to me useful to present it in the comparative ethnographic context in which it was originally conceived. Of the remaining essays, one-"On Cognized Models"- has been written especially for this collection, and the others are all rather recent. I have felt free to revise them because I do not regard them, in either their original or present forms, to be so much finished works as thoughts in progress. Sections IV, Xl 'md XII of "Ecology, Adaptation, and the Ills of Functionalism" are new, and so are many other passages in that essay and the others. These revisions represent second thoughts and elaborations, but I have also edited extensively to reduce the repetitiveness otherwise inevitable in publishing together articles on related subjects originally appearing separately for different audiences. I have, however, chosen not to eliminate all redundancy. To do so would have made some complex arguments even more difficult to follow and would have imposed hardship upon those readers who may want to read some, but not all, of the essays or who, in any event, will not read the volume through at one time. Moreover, reiteration is not devoid of advantages of its own: the appearance of particular points or arguments in more than one essay cannot help but make explicit the themes that articulate them all. Those who read the collection as a whole will surely become aware of the general direction in which it moves. The first and second essays could be construed as exercises in a rather strict ecology. The concerns of "The Obvious Aspects of Ritual," the penultimate essay-with the understandings entailed by ritual's form could hardly be "less ecological," at
Preface P.2
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