Broude (psychology, Vassar) has produced a work that is more anthropological than psychological in nature, placing its emphasis on societal and tribal customs rather than on individuals' motivations. Broude uses the concept of sociobiology to explain why so many cultures have similarities in ideals-if not in the way these ideals are carried out. For example, in almost all cultures people will help their own kin before helping strangers, which Broude explains as an instinctive attempt by a person to make sure their genes (some of which are shared by their kin) survive. Similarly, Broude repeatedly explains the differences in male-female sex roles from an evolutionary perspective. Whether or not one agrees that biology is destiny, Broude makes a convincing case in several articles that this is a possible motivation for behaviors that occur across cultures. This philosophical underpinning aside, the encyclopedia has several idiosyncrasies. The articles have somewhat odd titles and are split where they don't necessarily need to be: for instance, interaction between husband and wife falls under "Husband-Wife Eating Arrangements," "Husband-Wife Joint Work Activities," "Husband-Wife Leisure," and more. While good indexing should be able to atone for some of the confusion, it will not make up for the overlap between entries. More disturbing, the sources cited tend to be fairly old, with quite a few dating from the 1950s and earlier. Works such as Companion Encyclopedia of Anthropology (LJ 2/1/94) cover the same ground-although without the focus on relationships-and tend to be more evenhanded in their explanations of why behaviors occur across cultures. The Companion Encyclopedia, for instance, draws on several different theories to explain why there are rules regarding who marries whom. Still, while Broude's encyclopedia will not function as a balanced or up-to-date single source, it will be a useful addition to almost any public or academic library seeking to expand a collection on family and relationship with a book that adds multicultural and sociobiological coverage.
Publisher: ABC-Clio Inc
Number Of Pages: 372
Publication Date: 1994-11
ISBN-10 / ASIN: 0874367360
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