SLIDE 3Marvin Harris was influenced by many classical theorists, but he was especially by T. Robert Malthus and Karl Marx. Malthus for his work on the relationships between population and food- production, as well as the effects of population growth on both the environment and the rest of the social system. Karl Marx for placing the forces of production at the foundation of the social systemSLIDE 5The foundation of Harris' theory of Cultural Materialism is that a society's mode of production (technology and work patterns, especially in regard to food) and mode of reproduction (population level and growth) in interaction with the natural environment has profound effects on sociocultural stability and change. Societies are systems, Harris asserts, and widespread social practices and beliefs must be compatible with the infrastructures of society (the modes of production and reproduction and their interaction with the environment). The infrastructure represents the ways in which a society regulates both the type and amount of resources needed to sustain the society.
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