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Ethnobiological Classification: Principles of Categorization of Plants and Animals in Traditional Societies Hardcover – June 15, 1992


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (June 15, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691094691
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691094694
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,734,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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"This well-researched and enthusiastically written book is a major contribution to ethnobiology.... This book is aimed at professional ethnobiologists, but it will also be of value to those who are interested in linguistics, systematics, psychological mechanisms, and the postmodernist debate."--
The Quarterly Review of Biology


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Format: Hardcover
This is easily the most difficult book I have ever read, both because it deals exclusively in taxonomic nomenclature and because the the theory Berlin presents is a radical upheavel in the world of cultural anthropology and ethnobiology. How do human beings come to name, order, define and organize species of the natural world they live in? Intended for an audience of experts in the fields listed above, Berlin's work argues that there is a universal scheme shared by all human beings in the way we classify and organize our knowledge of the natural world. Furthermore, these classifications have a perceptual, cognitive basis rather than a functionalist one (i.e. culturally specific useful plants more likely to be known, named, utilized rather than colorful plants). Berlin presents volumes of scientifically valid evidence to support each claim he makes; his data are compiled from years of research with several different discrete cultural groups residing in neotropical rainforest areas.
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