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Making A Living Subsistence, Economy, and Distribution: How Humans Do It.

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Presentation on theme: "Making A Living Subsistence, Economy, and Distribution: How Humans Do It."— Presentation transcript:

1 Making A Living Subsistence, Economy, and Distribution: How Humans Do It

2 Economic Production as an Adaptive Strategy  Food is necessary for survival; the means of subsistence of a given group has been called their adaptive strategy.  Cohen describes five adaptive strategies: foraging, horticultural, agriculture, pastoralism, and industrialism.

3 Foraging (a.k.a. Hunting and Gathering)  Foraging was the only means of subsistence for the first 5 million years of human history.  Hunting and gatherer continued to exist after the multiple inventions of agriculture in those areas ill suited to growing crops.

4 What is Foraging?  Foraging relies on the collection of nutritionally significant plant resources and the capture of important animal protein sources for food.

5 The Importance of Gathering  For much of the 20 th Century, anthropologists assumed hunting was more important than gathering.  Subsequent ethnographic work showed plant resources usually make up 80% of the diet.

6 Foragers live off the land, usually in small groups called “bands”  Because foragers are highly mobile and frequently live in marginal environments, they tend to live in groups of 100 or less.  This mobile lifestyle leads to temporary housing structures.

7 Other Forager Characteristics or Correlates  Most members of bands related.  Practice band exogamy.  Membership of band may change during the course of a year.  Practice seasonal transhumance.  Egalitarian.  Sexual division of labor.

8 Examples of Foragers  California Indians (balanophagy).  Great Basin Indians (Paiute, Shoshone, Ute).  Inuit (a.k.a. Eskimos).  Australian Aborigines.  !Kung San of South Africa.  Baka.

9 Foragers

10 Cultivation  Cultivation is food production rather food gathering.  According to Cohen’s scheme, the three forms of food production are horticulture, agriculture, and pastoralism.  Horticulture and agriculture focus on plant resource production; pastoralism focuses on herding and “harvesting” their animals.

11 What is horticulture?  Horticulture is the small-scale planting and harvesting of food plants using simple tools and small garden plots.  Horticulturalists frequently use swidden or “slash-and-burn” techniques for fertilization of the soil.  Shifting cultivation common.

12 Slash-and-Burn Horticulture

13 Location of World Horticulturalists

14 Advantages and Disadvantages of Horticulture Advantages:  Can sustain large groups (example: Kuikuru of South America).  Allows for flexible sedentism (staying in one place). Disadvantages:  Limited carrying capacity.  Leads to rapid soil exhaustion.

15 Horticultural Groups  Yanomami.  The tribes of Papua New Guinea.  The Maya of Mexico.  Hawaiian Islanders  Various Bantu- speaking tribes of Africa.

16 Agriculture  Differs from horticulture in that it is more labor intensive, uses more sophisticated tools (such as plows), engages the use of draft animals, may use terracing, and employs irrigation.  More land is used, and greater quantities of crops are produced.

17 Domesticated Animals and Farming  Domesticated animals, especially cattle and horses, have played an important role in raising crops, providing both labor (plowing) and fertilizer.

18 Irrigation and Terracing  Irrigation provides nutrients and a continual source of water to crops, allowing for continual use of fields (rather than shifting).  Terracing allows for cultivation of crops in mountainous areas.

19 Costs and Benefits of Agriculture  Human labor input greater for agriculture, since time and energy are required to build and maintain canals and terraces, as well as to feed and care for animals.  Yields are much greater with agriculture over horticulture; provides long-term, dependable crops that translates to lower labor costs per unit.

20 The “cultivation continuum”  Horticulture = low-labor, shifting-plot  Agriculture = labor-intensive, permanent plot.  Some world economies are intermediate between horticulture and agriculture, using sectorial fallowing, which is a form of horticulture that is employed by larger populations.

21 Intensive Agriculture  Intensive agriculture allows for large populations.  However, large populations combined with intensive agricultural practices result in extreme environmental degradation.  Intensive agriculture often leads to specialization in certain crops (i.e., rice, maize, potatoes), thereby sacrificing dietary diversity.

22 Intensive Agriculture Gone Wrong  The ancient Maya civilization collapsed about A.D. 800, following a combination of agricultural intensification and population growth that led to deforestation and soil erosion.

23 Pastoralism  Pastoralists are herders who focus on animals such as goats, sheep, cattle, camels, and yaks.  Traditional pastoralists are found in parts of north and eastern Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.

24 Pastoralism as a living  Pastoralists use their herds for food (milk, blood, meat).  Pastoralists frequently trade with farmers for grains and vegetables, or may engage in limited horticulture or foraging.  Pastoralists practice pastoral nomadism (the whole group moves) or transhumance (only certain members of the group follow the herd animals).

25 Modes of Production  Economy = a system of production, distribution and consumption of resources.  A mode of production is a way of organizing production: “A set of social relations through which labor is deployed to wrest energy from nature by means of tools, skills, organization, and knowledge.” (Wolf 1982).

26 Capitalism vs. Non-Industrial modes of production  In non-industrial societies, labor is given as a social obligation, and is frequently kin-based.  In capitalist industrial societies, money buys labor power, and their exists a social gap between the purchasers of labor and their laborers (bosses and workers).

27 Industrialism  Large scale, industrial production, involving factories and mechanization.  Industrial production can be either capitalist or socialist.  Industrialism relies on corporate agriculture.

28 Means of Production  The means, or factors of production, involve territory, labor, and technology.  In non-industrial societies, there is a closer relationship between laborers and the means of production.  In industrial societies, there is frequent alienation of the workers from the means of production.

29 Economic Anthropological Questions  How are production, distribution, and consumption organized in different societies? The focus of this question is on systems.  What motivates people in different cultures to produce, distribute or exchange, and consume? The focus of this question is on individuals.

30 Distribution and Exchange  The Market Principle: operates in a capitalist economy by governing the distribution of land, labor, natural resources, technology, and capital. Items are bought and sold, and rely on the law of supply and demand.  Redistribution: goods and services move towards the center, then redistributed (example: Cherokee chiefs).

31 Reciprocity Reciprocity is an exchange between social equals; common in egalitarian societies. There are three types:  Generalized: someone gives with no explicit expectation for a like gift.  Balanced: giving with expecting something in return.  Negative: giving with the expectation of immediate return.


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