How and why people develop, maintain, and change cultural boundaries through time are central issues in the social and behavioral sciences in generaland anthropological archaeology in particular. What
factors influence people to imitate or deviate from the behaviors of other group members? How are social group boundaries produced, perpetuated, and altered by the cumulative outcomeof these
decisions? Answering these questions is fundamental to understanding cultural persistence and change. The chapters included in this stimulating, multifaceted book address these questions.
An extremely important contribution to the literature. The editors have done a tremendous job of gathering together some of the most interesting and significant researchers in this field. The presence of papers from European researchers is a valuable addition.
--Scott MacEachern, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Bowdoin College
Working in several subdisciplines, contributors report on research in the areas of cultural boundaries, cultural transmission, and the socially organized nature of learning. Boundaries are found not
only within and between the societies in these studies but also within and between the communities of scholars who study them. To break down these boundaries, this volume includes scholars who use
multiple theoretical perspectives, including practice theory and evolutionary traditions, which are sometimes complementary and occasionally clashing. Geographic coverage ranges from the indigenous
Americas to Africa, the Near East, and South Asia, and the time frame extends from the prehistoric or precontact to colonial periods and up to the ethnographic present. Contributors include leading
scholars from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Europe. Together, they employ archaeological, ethnographic, ethnoarchaeological,experimental, and simulation data to link micro-scale
processes of cultural transmission to macro-scale processes of social group boundary formation, continuity, and change.