A Piece of Anthro Theory: Morgan’s “Ethnical Periods”

Lewis Henry Morgan piece called Ethnical periods showed social context of what people thought of other races and cultural that differ from westernized understanding of human civilized development.  Morgan’s argument, I found, was reasonably rooted in some truths, but his nineteenth century racial bigotry shines through his work and shows how clunky new ideas can be within such social constrains.  I did find his seven levels of “primary institutions” still rings true as a good foundational analysis within modern modifications.  One of his focuses was primitive verse complex.  Yet, other would argue that speaking sign language or English as simply two different languages, no less complex or unimportant.  Morgan’s definition of this statement would be that spoken words are more complex, therefore more advanced than hand gestures.  Over all, I think this is a piece that others should be read and uses as a reflection of where we have come and categorizing and labeling are not an exact science.  A more holistic understanding of cultures existing or existed is the best way to understand such steps in human cultural development. 


For a general summary or abstract of this article by Morgan read “Anthro Theory” page.  Click on the link to read the article. http://instruct.uwo.ca/anthro/301/morgan.htm

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