Presentation on theme: "Subsistence 1 Anthropology and economy. Anthropology and the Economy Three main areas: 1) Production Subsistence Modes of production 2) Distribution 3)"— Presentation transcript:
Anthropology and the Economy Three main areas: 1) Production Subsistence Modes of production 2) Distribution 3) Consumption
Subsistence Defined as the way in which people gain the food and other resources they need for social survival.
Social survival is defined as the resources you need to function in a particular society. e.g. In industrialized societies you need a much higher level of income than you might in an agrarian society.
Modes of Subsistence Foraging (Hunting and Gathering) Horticulture Pastoralism Intensive Agriculture Industrial
Foraging Relies on wild plants and animals Food is “stored” in the environment. Foragers must know their environment intimately Must know not only WHERE resources are but WHEN they become available.
Example: !Kung San Kalahari desert (southern Africa) Sometimes known as “Bushmen” -not a respectful term of address. Now have been relocated to permanent villages. Not allowed to hunt.
Before the 1970s, !Kung lived in small, mobile bands. !Kung used simple technology but had a great knowledge of their environment. Game reserves now forbid !Kung from exploiting traditional territories
Despite the harshness of their environment, !Kung only had to work for 4 hours a day in the wet season. 90% of the calories in the traditional !Kung diet were from plant foods and not from meat.
Permanent settlements have lead to increasing hunger, disease and conflict. !Kung now rely on government handouts. Traditional !Kung life has been over-idealized in racist movies such as “The Gods must be Crazy” This lifestyle is now performed for tourists but is not possible in real life.
Horticulture Also known as “gardening” Uses domesticated plants and animals Uses simple technology Top: Lo`i kalo (taro pond-field) at Ulupo Heiau, O`ahu Bottom: Milpa (maize field) in Guatemala
Example: Slash and Burn Also called extensive farming. Forest is cut, allowed to dry out, then burned. The ash is mixed into the soil. Plots last a few years then must be allowed to lie fallow to rejuvenate
Horticulture produces more food per unit of land than foraging. Requires storage technology Requires intimate knowledge of environment. Villages or farmers must move when new fields are opened up.
Pastoralism Relies on domestic animals. Can be carried out in areas with low rainfall that would not support farming. Often relies on trade with farming villages: (meat or milk for grain) Top: Maasai herder with cows Bottom: Mongol herders with goats
Pastoralists are highly mobile. They follow migration routes from summer to winter grazing and back. Each group must monitor its own consumption of grass. Over-grazing will lead to conflict with other groups. Since they are mobile, they often raid one another and villagers. Historically they were hard to beat militarily until the development of the railway and the machine gun.
Intensive Agriculture Uses domestic plants and animals. Differs from horticulture in the degree of investment in labor and technology (often includes irrigation systems, terracing, rice paddies, fertilizer etc.)
Intensive agriculture produces large surpluses, and hence can support large populations. Villages are large and permanent to defend land/crops Large families are an asset.
Intensive agriculture often involves draft animals (water buffalo, oxen etc.) as the amount of work involved is stupendous. Draft animals are often the most valuable possession a family has.
Industrial Production Uses high levels of technology and energy investment. Uses industrial techniques to mass- produce crops or animals. Mass-production reduces unit-cost but also reduces diversity
In an industrial economy, only a tiny fraction of the population grows its own food. Industrial economies rely on infrastructure to get food to markets and to consumers. Poor infrastructure will make an industrial economy untenable