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Economy and Adaptation. Human diversity understood in terms of environment & technology Emphasis on: Constraints: land, technology, population Systematic, integrative relationships Adaptation. Major Theories & Theorists.

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Economy and Adaptation

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economy and adaptation
Economy and Adaptation
  • Human diversity understood in terms of environment & technology
  • Emphasis on:
    • Constraints: land, technology, population
    • Systematic, integrative relationships
    • Adaptation
major theories theorists
Major Theories & Theorists
  • 19th century social & cultural evolutionism (L.H. Morgan, E. B. Tylor)
  • Multilinear evolution & cultural ecology (J. Steward, M. Sahlins)
  • Neo-evolutionism (L. White, M. Harris)
  • World systems theory (E. Wallerstein)
  • Political Ecology
patterns of subsistence
Patterns of Subsistence
  • Food Getting – FORAGING
    • hunters & gatherers, gatherers & hunters, fishing
  • Food Production – CULTIVATION
    • The cultivation continuum
      • horticulture (ecological agriculture)
      • Agriculture
      • Pastoralism
  • Industrialism
  • Adaptive strategies & constraints
    • Environment, technology, population
  • the market as economic organizing principle is very recent in terms of human history
  • economy oriented toward subsistence (food getting & production) the norm for most of human history
  • agriculture (cultivation) also recent (10,000 yrs ago)
  • for 100,000 years of human history - foraging (food getting) was the economy of human life
adaptation and the anthropology of subsistence
Adaptation and the Anthropology of Subsistence
  • Long standing disciplinary concern
  • Basis for materialist theoretical orientations
    • Theories of social & cultural evolution
cultural ecology
Cultural Ecology
  • Julian Steward - relationship between culture and the environment
  • cultural variation found in adaptation to environmental circumstances
  • Human ecology is the system & systematic relationships between humans, material life, & environment
  • environment not determinant -- societies react to their ecology
  • typology of cultures, patterns, sequences
steward s cultural ecology
Steward’s cultural ecology
  • constellation of features which are most closely related to subsistence activities & economic arrangements
  • social, political, religious patterns as are empirically determined to be closely connected with those arrangements
specific or multi linear evolution
Specific or multi-linear evolution
  • specific evolution - adaptive processes in a particular society in a particular environment; changes in one society rather than human society in general
  • Multi-linear evolution - cultures have followed different lines of development (rather than general processes), particular to each environment
  • Strategies of adaptation - adjustments that individuals make to obtain & use resources and to solve immediate problems
neo evolution or general evolution
Neo-Evolution or General Evolution
  • Leslie White
  • Levels of socio-cultural evolution
    • Technology
    • Energy inputs-outputs
    • Social/cultural complexity
leslie white
Leslie White
  • degree of cultural development varies directly as the amount of energy per capita per year harnessed and put to work
  • amount of energy per capita harnessed & put to work within the culture
  • technological means with which this energy is expended
  • human need-serving product that accrues from the expenditure of energy
  • E (energy) V T (technology) = P (product)
world systems wallerstein
WORLD SYSTEMS (Wallerstein)
  • Global economic relations between subsistence strategies, regions, nations
  • Capitalism and common political, social, economic, structure
    • Core, peripheries, & semi-peripheries
  • Relationships of dependency
  • World economy — development and predominance of market trade = capitalism
political ecology
  • Putting cultural ecology in historical motion
  • Still strongly about human/environment relations
  • inter-relationships between groups within a world system of political, economic relations
  • Attention to an international division of labor
  • Temporal framework is history rather than evolution
levels of socio cultural integration subsistence
Levels of Socio-Cultural Integration & Subsistence
  • From foragers to cultivators
  • band, tribe, chiefdom, state
    • Typology of ideal types
  • hunters & gatherers, gatherers & hunters, fishing
  • food getting is dependent on naturally occurring resources, plants & animals
    • Naturally occurring?
  • Little or no human modification
modern day foragers
modern day foragers
  • few forgers remaining
  • San (!Kung) - Africa; Kalahari desert
  • Mbuti - equatorial forests of west & central Africa
  • Madagascar and SE Asia
  • Aborigines of Australia
  • Inuit - hunters (now using snow mobiles & rifles)
features of foraging
Features of Foraging
  • small communities in sparsely populated areas
    • few hundred people related by kinship & marriage
  • mobile lifestyle - no permanent settlements
    • no individual land rights
  • size of community may vary from season to season, culture to culture
  • Band form of social organization
foraging social organization
Foraging & Social Organization
  • Egalitarian band societies – little social stratification
  • social stratification by age & gender (no classes)
  • division of labor - age & gender
gender great deal of diversity
gender - great deal of diversity
  • tendency is for men to hunt & women to gather
  • gathering contributes more to daily diet than hunting
  • women & men share equal status - more or less, egalitarian society
  • Where hunting & fishing dominate - the status of women is lower
eleanor leacock on foragers and social stratification
Eleanor Leacock on Foragers and Social Stratification
  • egalitarian societies do exist where men and women can do different jobs and remain separate but equal
    • Dual sex societies
  • Control over exchange of scarce resources is related to social stratification in foraging groups
the problem of man the hunter
The Problem of Man the Hunter
  • man the hunter model ignored evidence for modern foragers: women do some of the hunting
  • female gathered goods account for more than half & at times nearly all of what is eaten
  • Problem of the archaeological record
woman the gatherer
woman the gatherer
  • Re-focused model of human evolution
  • key importance of female gathering
  • "lost" female tools in arch. record - fiber carrying nets & baskets
  • food sharing rather than hunting key to human evolution
    • Food sharing & the need for social relations
conceptualizing foragers
Conceptualizing Foragers
  • The gender problem
  • The “analogy” problem
    • “living fossils of early humans,” in 19th century unilineal evolutionism
  • Rousseau and Hobbes
    • Noble savages or maximizing brutish life
  • The “affluent society” (Sahlins)
forager mode of production
Forager Mode of Production
  • Collective ownership of means of production (land and its resources)
  • Right to reciprocal access
  • Little emphasis on accumulation (ethos opposing hoarding)
  • Total sharing throughout camp
  • Equal access to tools necessary to acquire food
  • Individual ownership of tools
professional primitives
Professional Primitives
  • H-G do not exist apart from more complex societies
  • ecological “symbiosis”
  • rural proletariat of the political economic (world system) model
  • “freedom fighters” of indigenous perspectives
the cultivation continuum
The Cultivation Continuum
  • Horticulture or ecological agriculture
  • Agriculture
  • Pastoralism
horticulture or ecological agriculture
Horticulture or Ecological Agriculture
  • Some human modification of environment
    • gardens & fields & technology
  • cultivation method that works in a variety of environments - most common in temperate and tropical forests & savannas
  • Cultivation that works with, and to varying extents, mimics the natural ecology
horticulture ecological agriculture
Horticulture/Ecological Agriculture
  • growing crops of all kinds with relatively simple tools and methods, in the absence of permanently cultivated fields
  • break up soil only using hand tools, hoes, spades, sharpened sticks
  • clear land for planting with simple tools, knives, axes, and fire is used to remove trees and grasses
  • Little if any use of fertilizers
  • Little if any effort towards increase supply of water to the fields
horticulture or ecological agriculture32
Horticulture or Ecological Agriculture
  • cultivation method that works in a variety of environments - most common in temperate and tropical forests & savannas
horticultural methods
Horticultural Methods
  • Slash & burn
    • Associated with poor tropical soils
    • Initially big trees are cleared
    • Brush is cut and left to dry
    • Burned before arrival of rains providing a little fertilisation and clears the plot of weeds
    • After several years of use must lie fallow
  • Swidden- a garden cultivated by the slash and burn technique.
kinds of horticulture or ecological agriculture
Kinds of Horticulture or Ecological Agriculture
  • Slash & burn or
    • shifting cultivation
    • Swidden
    • extensive agriculture
  • dependence on tree crops
    • Long term use
characteristic features horticulture
characteristic features - horticulture
  • size of settlements are larger than foragers
    • more stable sources of food available
  • tend to aggregate into villages - settlements are more permanent, investments of labor into fields, encourages sedentism
  • compared to foragers horticulturalists their family and kin invest labor in improving a specific and relatively well defined territory
    • property rights = access to resources
    • each group laying claim to a specific area for clearing, plantings, residence by applying their labor to it
social stratification
Social Stratification
  • more densely populated areas, sedentary lives
  • divisions of labor - age & gender
  • land & inheritance - family claims to land; heads of families, resources, claims, political & judicial orgs
  • increased specialization - food producers vs. non food producers
public perceptions of horticulturalists
Public Perceptions of Horticulturalists
  • they’re inefficient, wasteful, ignorant
  • Destroyers of the rain forest
      • or
  • they rotate crops
  • they’re efficient and sustainable
  • they have great knowledge of forest resources and desire to maintain the forest
  • their livelihoods are threatened by state and international political and economic processes
agriculture intensive cultivation
Agriculture - intensive cultivation
  • a variety of techniques employed that enable the cultivation of permanent fields
  • Large-scale human modification of land, plants, animals
agricultural techniques
Agricultural Techniques
  • nutrients back into the fields, use of fertilization and multi cropping
  • Plant species are manipulated & fully domesticated
  • domesticated animals and fertilization, turned loose into fields after harvest, manure, nutrients back into soil
  • more intensive weeding
  • Irrigation, dams and runoff, stored water & reservoirs, streams rechanneled, terracing controls water on hillside & mountains
  • greater control over land ->increased outputs/yields
  • Increased inputs – Leslie White
  • long term production, dependable output
characteristic features
characteristic features
  • sedentism, large permanent communities - villages, towns, cities
  • growth in population size & density
  • surpluses - a cultivator can feed many more people than just him or her self and family
  • more need to coordinate land, labor, resources
  • more need to regulate relations through governing bodies
  • tributes, taxes, rents, private property
agriculture as maladaptation j diamond
Agriculture as Maladaptation (J. Diamond)
  • Homo sapiens from genetic standpoint
    • humans are still late paleolithic preagricultural hunters and gatherers (35,000yrs ago)
  • Rise of new disease profile
  • Decline in environmental/ecological diversity
  • Decline in food diversity
  • Pastoral societies are those in which a sizeable proportion of their subsistence is based on the herding of animals within a set of spatially dispersed natural resources (vegetation, water, etc.).
  • herders acquire much of their food by raising, caring for, and subsisting on the products of domesticated animals
  • many pastoralist/herders cultivate
  • many acquire bulk of their calories from their crops rather than their animals or through trade
  • herds subsist on natural forage and must be moved to where the forage naturally occurs
  • Some move all the time, others move seasonally
characteristic features65
characteristic features
  • nomadism - entire group moves or transhumance - only part of the group moves; some groups sedentary
  • interdependence between pastoral and agricultural groups
    • trade animal products for agri. products from cultivators
    • sell livestock, hides, meat, wool, milk, cheese, or other products for money
    • use livestock as beasts of burden
advantages of herding as adaptation
advantages of herding as adaptation
  • vegetation of grasslands & arid savannas & of tundra is indigestible by humans
  • livestock turn it into milk, blood, fat, meat all of which can be eaten or drunk by herders
  • livestock provide insurance against unpredictable environments of drought & low yields
  • mobility - herds can be moved to fresh grass and water, avoid the tax man
pastoralists and the state
Pastoralists and the State
  • Problems nomads pose for territorial states