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Review for Exam 3 (final). ANT 2000 Fall 2006. Economic systems. Hunter-gatherers Horticulturalists Agriculturalists Pastoralists Highland cultivators of the New World Asian agrarian civilizations Industrial economies. Harris’ TEE ratings for cultures.

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Review for Exam 3 (final)

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Review for Exam 3 (final)

ANT 2000

Fall 2006

Economic systems

  • Hunter-gatherers

  • Horticulturalists

  • Agriculturalists

  • Pastoralists

  • Highland cultivators of the New World

  • Asian agrarian civilizations

  • Industrial economies

Harris’ TEE ratings for cultures

  • Technoenvironmental efficiency ratings for:

    • !Kung (Botswana, S. Africa. H/G)

    • Genieri (Gambia. Horticulture)

    • Tsembaga Maring (New Guinea. Mixed horticulture and domesticated pigs

    • Luts'un (China 1947. Irrigated agriculture

    • USA (Industrial agriculture)

Chayanov's rule

  • The largest number of producers relative to the number of consumers in a family yields less work per producer.

  • But ..  This rule does not apply in industrial economies where the cost of children is high.

  • Hunting and gathering people, like the !Kung, have a great deal of leisure, while people in the U.S. work more today than they did 30 years ago.

  • Americans work longer and longer to pay for food.


  • Generalized and balanced reciprocity. Hunters and gatherers best exemplify generalized reciprocity.

  • The Kula Ring is an example of balanced reciprocity.

  • Negative reciprocity is jargon for getting back less than you give in a transaction.

Wealth leveling mechanisms

  • The Potlatch of the NW Coast

  • The cargo system in Latin America

  • Note that the means of production are not distributed, only the temporary surplus.


  • Some monetary systems in so-called primitive societies:

    • Yap money wheels

    • Iroquois wampum

    • Cowrie shells (Sudan)

    • Diwara shells (Melanesia)

Optimal foraging theory

  • Over time, people learn how much of their time and other resources to put into hunting and collecting various commodities.

  • We examined the case of the Aché in Paraguay and the case of coupon shoppers in the U.S.

Political systems

  • Levels of sociocultural integration: bands, tribes, chiefdoms, states.

  • Just 3000 years ago, most peoples were still hunters and gatherers.

  • We discussed the causes and consequences of the development of hierarchical political and economic systems.


  • Despite the breakup of the Soviet Union, and the former Yugoslavia, there are fewer and fewer autonomous political units in the world over time.

  • NAFTA and the EU are indicators of continued consolidation of political units.

  • Today, there are only ~200 autonomous political units.


  • War is not universal.

  • Some societies are more prone to war than others and the distribution of war events is not random.

  • Democracies tend not to go to war with one another, for example.

  • We discussed the causes of increased warfare in New Guinea.

  • Most cultures are patrilineal.

  • Some cultures are matrilineal, but there is no record of a matriarchal society.

  • Women hold political office in many cultures.

Cognitive and psychological anthropology

  • Psychological anthropologists test the extent to which ideas about human nature can be generalized from studies of Western societies.

  • Cross-cultural studies show, for example, that adolescence is not universally a period of rebelliousness.

  • In this society, adolescent rebelliousness is good training for independence and neolocality.


  • Children in the U.S. spend much of their day in cribs or playpens.

  • Children in the industrial West and in Japan are touched or held from 12% to 20% of the time they are awake.

  • Children in the U.S. typically spend their nights alone, too.

Holding and trust

  • The study of the Logoli by the Munroes shows that infants who are held more by their mothers become more trusting and more optimistic by age 5.

  • The number of different holders added to the trust effect, not the time held by different holders.

Response to crying

  • Among the Efe of Nigeria, a 3-month old gets a response within 10 seconds of crying 75% of the time.

  • In the U.S. we ignore crying 45% of the time.

  • Infant mortality is less than 1% in many industrialized societies (Sweden, Japan, U.S., Great Britain, Italy, New Zealand) and up to 35% in some nonindustrialized societies.


  • Are preindustrial people preoperational?

  • Think of two-week hunting trips in the Amazon; trans-Pacific canoe trips; eight-section kinship systems in Australia; the distribution of meat in H/G societies.

  • Are there culture free tests? How does schooling affect test response?

Collectivism vs. individualism

  • What accounts for collectivist and individualist societies?

  • When people live in cramped spaces, they punish children more for fighting with others.

  • Agricultural and herding societies stress obedience, while hunting and gathering societies stress self-reliance and individuality.

  • We are foragers in the U.S.

Mental illness

  • Edgerton asked people in four East African societies to list the traits of people who have severe mental illness.

  • Five traits accounted for about 60% of all traits listed. There was much overlap across these five traits.

  • "The Africans in these four societies," Edgerton said, "do not regard a single behavior as psychotic which could not be so regarded in the West."

Cultural expression of mental illness

  • Hallucinations were almost never listed by Edgerton’s informants.

  • Schizophrenia is biochemically based, but it is manifested differently across cultures.

Windigo psychosis

  • Windigo psychosis is a culturally defined mental illness.

  • From Marano's work, the best explanation is that under conditions of stress, the Ojibwa and Cree triaged their population and increased the chance for survival of all. 


  • Rosenhan's study of pseudopatients in mental hospitals showed the power of labeling.

Expressive culture: visual art

  • The most superstructural feature of culture is expressive behavior.

  • Patricia Rice and Ann Patterson examined the bones found in 90 caves (Lascaux, etc.) where late Paleolithic art is found.

Rice and Patterson

  • Most common bones: bovines, horse, reindeer, ibex, deer, mammoth.

  • Most common paintings: reindeer, horse, bovines, deer, ibex, mammoth.

  • The number of portrayals and the percentage of bone matter are correlated r=.41.

  • Larger species (mammoth, horse, bison) are overportrayed.

    • The correlation between species weight and bone prevalence is r=.76

  • Nineteen experts ranked species for danger in hunting.

    • The correlation of average ranked danger and species weight is r=.96

Fischer’s hypothesis

  • Egalitarian societies will have art based on repetition of simple elements and plenty of empty space.

  • The art of stratified societies will (a) combine elements into complex designs and (b) tend toward the baroque.

  • He tested this on a sample of cultures.

  • Art was part of everyday life for most of human history.

  • Secular art is part of our everyday life.

  • However, obscurity of meaning, rather than faithfulness of reproduction of art is valued.

  • This is the result of mass production.

Expressive culture: folklore

  • Kluckhohn found that there are five recurrent themes in folklore around the world:

    • catastrophe (mostly floods), slaying of monsters, incest, sibling rivalry, and castration.

    • These themes, however, are not distributed equally around the world.

    • With unpredictable food shortages, for example, natural catastrophes are not likely to be mentioned.

Expressive culture: music

  • Alan Lomax found that some components of music are related to social complexity.

  • Counterpoint and polyphony are most frequent among hunter-gatherers where women supply most of the non-protein food.

  • In societies where women contribute much less than men do to food production, the tendency is for single melodies sung by men.

  • Leadership in song reflects social complexity. Wordiness is associated with social complexity

  • Barbara Ayres: a strong relationship between the preferred rhythms in a society and the method of carrying infants.

  • Slings and shawls produce regular, repetitive rhythms, while cradles produce either free or irregular rhythms.

Games and social organization

  • John Roberts found that games of strategy (chess, cards) are associated with complex political organization.

  • Team sports were invented by Native Americans, probably in Mexico.

    • Hockey originated in the northeast of North America, and was probably an adaptation of the ball game developed by the Mexicans.

  • The distribution of gambling, however, remains unexplained.


  • Distinguish among magic, religion, and science.

  • All are systems for controlling supernatural and natural forces.

  • Complex societies, with hierarchical organization, are more likely to have a high god.

Globalization of culture

  • Today, music and art are syncretic, a phenomenon that is a consequence of globalization.

  • As the infrastructure and structural features of the world converge, we expect a convergence of the superstructure.

Culture change

  • Culture is always changing.

  • Innovation, through discovery and invention, is important, but diffusion is the most common way in which cultures change.

  • Cultures come into contact through trade, battle, occupation, and missionary activity.

Tobacco and paper

  • Tobacco went from the east coast of the U.S. to the west coast by going around the world between the mid-16th and mid-17th centuries.

  • Paper was invented in China in the second century BCE.

  • It took a thousand years to reach Spain, and then moved across Europe over the next few hundred years, spurred by the invention of moveable type.

Primary inventions

  • One example of a primary invention that occurred twice, independently, is the keystone (and the dome that a keystone makes possible).

  • It was invented by Inuit (Eskimos) and Romans at different times and different places.


  • Much culture change today in the developing world is the legacy of the Colonial era.

  • Colonialism transferred diseases, technologies, and crops.

  • It produced massive voluntary and involuntary migrations, and we can see the voluntary migrations continuing today.

  • Applied anthropology developed as part of the colonial experience in England.

Theories of modernization

  • Several theories have been proposed to account for the lack of modernization in countries in Africa and Latin America that were colonies of European states: modernization theory, dependency theory, and the world systems theory.

The second demographic transition

  • A hallmark of modern industrial economies is the dramatic all in fertility.

  • Japan will face a dilemma: import labor, put more women to work, or increase productivity.

  • Note that some less industrialized countries, like China, have relatively high longevity and low infant mortality, despite a relatively low GNP per capita.

Cultural materialism and the Educational model of social change

  • The social change industry employs thousands of people around the world.

  • Based mostly on the educational model of change:

    • using information to change people's behavior.

  • This works when the behavior one wants to change is tied to the superstructure.

  • The educational model of change does not work when the target behavior is tied to the structure of the infrastructure of society.

  • Asking people to give up their cars when there is no public transportation and when there is no affordable housing near their work is bound not to work.

  • The educational model also works when it is the curriculum for raising children.

  • For the most part, TFR is related to infant mortality and inversely related both to PCGDP and to longevity.

  • Anomalies like China and the UAE are the result of anomalous structural and infrastructural conditions.

  • Inequality continues to grow.

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