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Subsistence Systems

Subsistence Systems



Subsistence Techniques and the impact they have on cultures.

Subsistence Techniques and the impact they have on cultures.



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    Subsistence Systems Subsistence Systems Presentation Transcript

    • Subsistence Systems Making a Living Cross-Culturally
    • What are Subsistence Systems?
      • Ways of making a living--directly
      • Types of subsistence Systems
      • Foraging/Hunting and Gathering
      • Horticulture
      • Intensive Cultivation or Agriculture
      • Pastoralism
      • Equestrian Hunting
    • Why Study Subsistence Systems?
      • Kingdom: Animalia:
      • We cannot produce food by photosynthesis--no chlorophyll
      • Therefore, we ultimately rely on plants
      • We are how we produce
      • Foragers are organized around the hunting and the gathering
      • So are horticulturists in horticulture
      • So are all the others
    • Subsistence Systems and Adaptation
      • Culture is largely adaptive
      • Main locus of adaptation: subsistence
      • As subsistence systems become more complex
      • Societies become more complex
      • Therefore societies evolve from the simple to the complex
    • Overview
      • Subsistence systems
      • Principles of cultural materialism
      • Cultural Evolution
      • Cultural Ecology
      • History of evolutionary thought
    • Types of Subsistence Systems
      • Foraging or Hunting Gathering : Hunting animals, gathering plants
      • Horticulture: Cultivation with digging stick, hoe, or other hand tool(s)
      • Intensive Cultivation: Cultivation with high-yield technology: irrigation, plow
      • Pastoralism: Herding large animals
      • Equestrian Hunting: Hunting using draft animals (horse, reindeer)
    • Foraging: Main Features
      • Food is where you find it
      • Direct dependence on naturally available plants and animals
      • Plant foods (like these mongongo nuts gathered by !Kung women)
      • Form 80% of the diet among most foragers
      • Near total reliance on hunting is rare (as among the seal-hunting Inuit here)
      • Fluctuation of food sources by place, season, and year
      • Means of meat storage rare or nonexistent
      • Foragers do have wide variety of food
    • Foraging: Carrying Capacity
      • Population limited by
      • Carrying capacity: population resources can support
      • Density of social relations
      • Liebig’s Law of the Minimum
      • Populations may not increase
      • Beyond the minimum amount of critical resources
      • That an environment yields
    • Liebig’s Law of the Minimum Illustrated
      • The lowest stave of a barrel limits its capacity
      • Crops can yield only as much
      • As the amount of a critical nutrient
      • Applies to carrying capacity limits
    • Foraging: Sharing and Property
      • Sharing ethic: shared according to rules
      • Netsilik Inuit: Partnerships by seal anatomy
      • !Kung: Hunters and owner of arrow “own” the game
      • Owner is only stewardship
      • Game is shared by definite obligations
      • Property: Communalism
    • Foraging: Other Derived Characteristics
      • Egalitarianism
      • No incentive to hoard
      • Social class differences minimal
      • Work time
      • Average: 15-20 hours/week
      • Nonintensive labor with other activities
      • Domestic mode of production: work done until needs are met
    • Foragers: Contemporary Ancestors?
      • Some societies may reflect early foragers
      • Qualifications
      • Foragers could be deculturated
      • !Kung may have been herdsman once
      • Reduced to foraging by Bantu expansion
      • Foragers occupy margins of earth
      • Desert (SW Africa, Australia, Nevada basin)
      • Extremely cold regions (Arctic regions)
    • Food-Producing Societies
      • First indications: Neolithic ca 10,000 BP
      • In the Fertile Crescent, Near East
      • Characteristics
      • Domestication of Plants (emmer wheat), animals, or both
      • Human control over food production
      • Quantities of food greater than foragers
      • Settled communities (except herders)
      • Increases in population
      • Complex social structures.
    • Horticulture
      • Definition
      • Cultivation of crops
      • Carried out with hand tools
      • Such as digging sticks or hoes
      • Neither plows or irrigation systems are used
      • Best known type of cultivation involves use of slash-and-burn or swidden cultivation
    • Basics of Slash-and-Burn Cultivation
      • A site is cleared of brush and trees
      • Trees are felled, brush stacked
      • Once dried, the brush and trees are set afire (top photo).
      • Planting begins
      • Usually, crops are interplanted
      • Once soil is exhausted, site is abandoned (bottom photo)
      • Cultivators clear a new site
    • Slash-and-Burn Cultivation: Adaptive Significance
      • Most slash-and-burn cultivation is practiced in the tropics
      • Tropical climate is extremely hard on soils
      • Intense heat
      • Heavy rainfall
      • Chemical reaction from heat and rain
      • Slash-and-burn is best adapted to this climate--which the following will show
    • Constants of Tropical Rainforest: Intense Heat
      • Plant and animal matter decompose to form humus or topsoil
      • Humus formatio virtually stops if soil reaches 77 degrees Fahrenheit
      • Decomposition of humus exceed formation
      • Humic materials break down to gases: ammonia, nitrogen, carbon dioxide
      • Gases escape into the atmosphere
    • Constants of Tropical Rainforest: Rainfall
      • Rainfall acts on the soil in two ways
      • Erosion:
      • Rainfall carries away soil particles
      • Particles themselves scour surface]
      • Abrasion carries off even more soil
      • Leaching
      • Warm water dissolves water-soluble nutrients
      • Nutrients seep into subsoil
    • Constants of Tropical Rainforest: Laterization
      • Laterite: the oxides of minerals
      • Such as iron oxide at top layer (photo)
      • Combined heat and moisture creates oxides
      • Process is irreversible
      • Removes phosphorus, an essential nutrient
      • Cannot absorb other nutrients
    • A Long-Term Constant: Age of Soil
      • This process has been going for centuries
      • Soil is mostly clay and sand
      • Plant and animal life is limited in protein
      • Most plants reproduce by vegetative means
      • Seeds involve large amounts of protein
      • Animals are small
      • Gregarious (herding) animals are rare
    • Adaptation of Tropical Rainforests
      • Protective canopy of leaves and epiphytic plants
      • Rate of growth
      • Juxtaposition of different types of trees
    • Protective Canopy
      • Mature forests contain trees with thick foliage at their tops
      • Thick network of leafy branches
      • Epiphytic plants that derive nutrients from rain and air
      • Protective functions
      • Provide protective shade from sun, allowing humus to accumulate
      • Lessens action and amount of rainfall
    • Rate of Growth
      • Rate of growth is spectacular
      • Enables rapid use of nutrients before they disappear through erosion or leaching
      • Litter fall of animal remains and dead vegetation
      • Is four times of woodland in New York state
      • Rainfall also captures nutrients from air
      • 75% of potassium in soil, 40% of magnesium, and 25% of phosphorus come from rainwater
    • Species Juxtaposition
      • Different tree species have different nutrient requirements
      • Some require more phosphorus than others
      • Other require more potassium
      • Nutrient left by one tree is taken by others
      • Dispersal of same species is protection against pests and diseases
    • Clean clearing would
      • Compact the soil due to heavy rainfall
      • Erosion via runoff would increase
      • Minimize or eliminate formation of humus
      • Leach the soil
      • Convert the soil into laterite
      • Overall: reduce its fertility
    • Slash-and-Burn Cultivation Technique
      • Review of distinctive features
      • Cutting and burning vegetation prior to planting
      • Shifting to new site after 2 or 3 crops
      • Mundurucú practices
      • Site selection: sloping, well-drained area
      • Clearing
          • Removal of shrubs and small trees
          • Felling of trees by keystone method
    • Slash-and-Burn Cultivation Technique: Burning and Planting
      • Mundurucú practices (con’t)
      • Burning
        • Vegetation allowed to dry: 2 months
        • Fire set on day of slight breeze to fan flames
      • Planting
        • Begins at first rains: no cultivation
        • Hole made with digging stick
        • Cuttings or seeds inserted and covered
        • Manioc and sweet potatoes in center
        • Other crops planted at edges
    • Slash-and-Burn Cultivation: Weeding and Harvest
      • Weeding
      • Done twice during growing season
      • Harvest
      • Planting is staggered; so is harvesting
      • Harvesting done as need arises
      • Entire crop is not removed at one time
      • Manioc replanted immediately after harvest to ensure permanent supply
    • Slash-and-Burn Cultivation as Imitation of Rainforest
      • Crops are intermixed, each with different nutrient requirements
      • Reduces competition for same nutrient
      • Dispersal of same plants retard disease, pests
      • Staggering planting and harvest minimizes soil exposure
      • Burning slash returns nutrients to soil
    • Slash and Burn Cultivation as Imperfect Imitation of Rainforest
      • Decomposition of stumps and branches
      • Attract pests away from crops
      • Supply added nutrients
      • Weeding of mixed value
      • Minimizes competition for nutrients
      • Reduces shade and protection from erosion
      • Imitation not the real thing
      • Yield declines by 3rd year--time to move
    • Yanomamo Variations
      • Techniques essentially the same
      • Plantains augment manioc as staple
      • When soil deteriorates
      • Thorny shrubs grow, scratching bare skin
      • Some plants continue yields
      • New clearing is made adjacent to old site
      • Done so over the years
      • New sites cleared only under compulsion
    • The Protein debate
      • Harris: arises when game is scarce
      • Chagnon: conflict sparked by abduction of women
      • Good:
        • Weighed every game animal on scale
        • Weighed every Yanomamo villager
        • Findings: Yanomamo were short on protein
        • Could not link this fact with warfare
      • Debate remains open: Tierney’s view
    • Intensive Cultivation
      • Definition
      • Embers’: Food production characterized by the permanent cultivation of fields
      • Primary attributes
      • Technology
        • Irrigation
        • Plow
      • Staple crops: rice, corn, wheat, potatoes
      • Risks of famine through disease, pests
    • Intensive Cultivation: Secondary Attributes
      • Permanent settlements of high density
      • Emergence of full-time nonfarm occupations
      • Rise of specialization and trade
      • Rise of complex societies
      • Cities
      • Stratification
      • Codified Law
      • States and the military
    • Pastoralism
      • Definition
      • Animal husbandry as the main or sole source of subsistence
      • Animals: cattle, horses, sheep, goats, camels
      • All parts of animal is consumed
      • Meat and dairy products, blood
      • Hides
      • Even dung for fire and building material
    • Pastoralism: Secondary Characteristics
      • Environment: semi-arid grasslands; other regions unsuitable for agriculture
      • Nomadic:
      • Transhumance: seasonal migration between different environmental zones.
      • Property and valuables are portable
      • Dependence on settled communities
      • Agriculture and manufactured products
      • Mixed economy lessens dependence
    • Pastoralism: Secondary Characteristics (Con’t)
      • Warfare
      • Raid of villages or other nomads
      • Predatory states: Mongols
      • Warrior age grades in East Africa
      • Male dominance
      • Warfare required male cooperation
      • Animals are male property
      • Residence is patrilocal
      • Women have few rights
    • Pastoralism: Conclusion
      • Incomplete food producers
      • Animals, not plants, are domesticated
      • Archaeological evidence suggest
      • Pastoralism postdates cultivation.
      • May have left settled regions
          • By choice
          • by force
      • Probably not a transitional form between foraging and agriculture
    • Equestrian Hunting
      • Definition
      • Use of animals (horse reindeer)
      • To hunt other animals (bison, reindeer)
      • A rare phenomenon
      • Plains Indians hunting complex was not indigenous before 18th century
      • Native horses died off long before contact
      • Sources: stray horses lost by Spaniards
    • Equestrian Hunting: Characteristics
      • Similar to pastoralism
      • Environment: grassland rendered unsuitable for hoe agriculture by sod
      • Bison moved seasonally
      • Large herds in spring and summer
      • Scattered in late fall and winter
      • Tribes moved accordingly
      • Reminiscent of transhumance
    • Equestrian hunting: Warlike Attributes
      • Higher mobility using horse increased military superiority
      • Settle peoples may have adopted horse in self-defense
      • A causal factor: trade with whites
      • Competition for trade center access
      • Even more buffalo hunted for trade
      • Horse theft for another trade good
      • Valued trade item: guns
    • Subsistence, Adaptation, and Evolution
      • Cultural materialism :
      • A research strategy (or plan)
      • holding that causal explanations
      • for similarities and differences among human groups
      • can best be addressed by studying the harnessing of energy
      • Through interaction between existing technology
      • And environmental limitations
    • Unilineal and Multilineal Evoluton
      • Models of Cultural Evolution
      • Unilineal Evolution (Left)
      • All societies go through set stages (foraging, horticulture, agriculture)
      • Multilineal Evolution
      • Societies adapt evolution according to
      • Environment
      • Techniques of subsistence
    • Technology, Environment, and Society
      • Environment: Limits and Potential to Energy
      • Technology: Known Techniques for Energy Capture and Use
      • Social Interactions: Derivative Family/Kinship, Economic, Political, and Legal Institutions
      • Ideology: Psychological State, Supernatural Beliefs, The Arts
    • Comparison and Evaluation
      • Examined five broad subsistence systems.
      • Examined the implications of each on a society and culture
      • Traced their significance in
      • Local and regional adaptations (cultural ecology)
      • Universal cultural evolution
      • Within intellectual historical context