Anthropologist Marvin Harris is described in some biographies and book reviews as a “neomaterialist”: he claims that many cultures’ customs, seemingly explicable only in religious or social terms, actually have a fundamental material cause. For example, middle eastern cultures shun pigs because there are economic reasons why raising swine in desert conditions is inefficient. In effect, Harris appears to claim that cultures have a “subconcious”; a set of REAL reasons why they do what they do, with the relgious or ideological reason being little more than a rationalization.
I was wondering how this compares to the “dialectal materialism” of Marx. The thing about Marxism is that although it claims to be based in materialism, as expounded by Lenin, Mao, etc. it ironically became obsessed with ideology, with claims that how people were indoctrinated could overrule their material condition(!).
The thing is I’m unaware if any of Harris’ works deal with politics, as opposed to customs and mores of society, whereas Marxism became about almost nothing but politics; so I don’t have a basis of direct comparison