Patterns of Subsistence Economic Anthropology Culture and Survival
“Adaptation is about obsession: for an orchid, for writing, for finding something or someone to obsess about. As Donald tells Charlie, "You are what you love, not what loves you." Few scripts toss more challenging balls in the air, and Jonze juggles them all with artful, light-stepping ease. It's magic” (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone).
Adaptation Adaptation - “to adjust to new or changed circumstances” key concept in ecology and evolution Cultural Ecology important application Julian Steward – developed theories of Cultural Ecology, stressed relationship between technology and other aspects of culture and social structure. Garrett Hardin – “Tragedy of the Commons” (1968) The tragedy of the commons is a metaphor used to illustrate the conflict between individual interests and the common good. Hardin uses the example of English Commons, shared plots of grassland used in the past by all farmers in a village. Each farmer keeps adding more livestock to graze on the Commons, because it costs him nothing to do so. In a few years, the soil is depleted by overgrazing, the Commons becomes unusable, and the village perishes. Hardin actually misunderstood how commons were managed in England and elsewhere, but this may not affect the greater significance of his argument, which pertains primarily to truly open access commons such as the sea and the atmosphere.metaphor common goodEnglish Commons
Adaptation Patterns of Subsistence - all cultural and social factors related to obtaining and distributing food. Economic Systems - all cultural and social factors related to the production and distribution of wealth.
Patterns of Subsistence Food Foraging (Hunting and Gathering) Food Production (Domestication) Pastoralism (Animal Herding) Horticulture (Gardening) Intensive Agriculture Labor Intensive (Chinampas) Energy Intensive (Industrialized)
Patterns of Subsistence Food Foraging (Hunting and Gathering) Important to understand….We were all living in food foraging societies until about 10,000 years ago….before the Neolithic Revolution. Since then everyone depends on domesticated species. We depend on imperfect studies of ethnographies of societies largely dependent on food foraging and on interpretations of archeological evidence. Often cited societies include the “Bushmen” of Southern Africa, Aborigines of Australia, and “Eskimo” of the Arctic. The basic idea in modern psychological anthropology is that we are essentially hunters and gatherers in a post-industrial world. An approach to understanding ourselves is to understand food foragers.
Patterns of Subsistence Food Foraging (Hunting and Gathering) Semi Nomadic (Tethered Nomads) Occupy Distinct Area (Domain) Population Size Stabilizes near the Maximum Long Term Carrying Capacity of Domain Carrying Capacity - number of individuals who can be supported at a given level of technology.
Patterns of Subsistence Factors that lend population stability: Infanticide and Geronticide Birth Spacing Human Physiology Hunting and gathering, collecting, trapping, fishing, etc. Domain (territory) must supply all subsistence resources. People lived in small, local, patrilineal bands. Basic division of labor: Men hunt; Women gather. If we assume: Women have average of 5 children who live to weaning; Children are often suckled until the age of 5; Women walk an average of 7 miles per day; There are ca. 365 Days per year, therefore: 5 X 5 X 7 X 365 = ca. 63,875 miles a woman in a foraging society walks carrying a child. The Basic Problem in Hunting and Gathering Societies: What Do Men Do? They Go Hunting!
Patterns of Subsistence Food Production (Domestication) Changes associated with food production: Increased population size Greater population density Greater specialization in division of labor Less nomadic, more sedentary settlements
Patterns of Subsistence Pastoralism Transhumance Animal Herding Semi Nomadic Nuer Animals major source food
Patterns of Subsistence The Bakhtiari In western Iran the Bakhtiari tribe must make an annual 8-week, 200 mile trip to the mountain summer pastures. In this hazardous test of human endurance, we embark on an outstanding migration that takes 50,000 men, women, and children, their livestock (500,000 animals) and all their possessions across the Zagros Mountains, a range which is as high as the Alps and as broad as Switzerland. Grass "Grass" was produced in 1924 by filmmakers Marian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack (creators of "King Kong"). They were accompanied by journalist-cum-spy Marguerite Harrison.
Patterns of Subsistence Horticulture Gardening major source of food. Swidden farming (aka slash and burn, milpa ) Mekranoti (Brazil), Maya (Chiapas), Dani (New Guinea)
Intensive Agriculture Labor Intensive Chinampa System (Valley of Mexico) Energy Intensive Modern Industrial Agriculture Patterns of Subsistence
Economic Anthropology Economic Systems - all cultural and social factors related to the production and distribution of wealth. Division of LaborCooperative Work Groups Craft Specialization Technology Leveling Mechanisms generalized reciprocity balanced reciprocity negative reciprocity Conspicuous Consumption Potlatch Age and Gender Kula ringTrobriand Islands
Economic Psychology Economic Psychology is a newly emerging field that draws on a variety of disciplines such as economics, anthropology, sociology, as well as various areas of psychology. Economic Psychologists tend to focus on a new model of economics that refutes the “neoclassical” school that assumes people are rational economic agents. Daniel Kahneman won the 2002 Nobel prize in economics for his theory of “bounded rationality.”