Another outlook appears. At first it was only as an offhand remark, a critical argument. Now it informs some of the best work in American archaeology and ethnology: It is an idea of reciprocity, of a dialogue between cultures and their environments. The truism that cultures are ways of life, taken in a new light, is the ground premise-cultures are human adaptations. Cul­ ture, as a design for society’s continuity, stip­ ulates its environment. By its mode of produc­ tion, by the material requirements of its social structure, in its standardized perceptions, a cul­ ture assigns relevance to particular external conditions. Even its historic movement is move­ ment along the ecologic seam it is organized to exploit. Yet a culture is shaped by these, its own, commitments: it molds itself to significant external conditions to maximize the life chances. There is an interchange between culture and environment, perhaps continuous dialectic inter­ change, if in adapting the culture transforms its

From Sol Tax (Ed.), Horizons in Anthropology. Copyright © 1964 by Aldine Publishing Company. Reprinted by permission of the publisher and the author. Marshall D. Sahlins is Professor of An­thropology, University of Michigan.