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Ecological Anthropology: Hunting& Gathering & Subsistence Food Production
 

Ecological Anthropology: Hunting& Gathering & Subsistence Food Production

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    Ecological Anthropology: Hunting& Gathering & Subsistence Food Production Ecological Anthropology: Hunting& Gathering & Subsistence Food Production Presentation Transcript

    • Ecological Anthropology: Hunting and Gathering, The Origins of Food Production, Horticulture and Pastoralism
      • Chapters 5, 6, 7, 8 , pages 125-249 in Introduction to Cultural Ecology by Mark Sutton and E.N. Anderson
    • Chapter Five: Hunting and Gathering
      • Until about 10 thousand years ago all humans were hunters and gatherers (exploiters of wild resources rather than domesticated)
        • Foraging, moving about a landscape with no permanent dwelling, is now the more accepted term
        • Four Characteristics:
          • Under produce resources, few material possessions
          • Routinely share food
          • Tend to be egalitarian
          • Division of labor by gender, men hunt & women gather
    • Bias in Hunter-Gather Studies
      • Privileging the hunter (male) when gathering (female) often provided as many or more calories
      • Least “evolved” or most “primitive” society when their adaptive success (i.e. Australian Aboriginal 50K years) dwarfs agricultural or industrial society
      • Contemporary examples found on marginal land when they often existed in areas rich in resources. Marshall Sahlins called them “the original affluent society” working less and having less population pressure than agricultural or industrial societies
    • Settlement and Subsistence
      • Seasonal round: movement to attain and monitor and share information about their environment and to maximize the exploitation of resources
        • Strategy: A general long-term plan to attain information and make a living
        • Tactic: A specific method of obtaining information and exploiting a resource
    • Case Study: The Nuu-Chan –Nulth of British Columbia
      • Occupied and area of abundant diverse resources, i.e. five species of “salmon” named individually with the general term salmon never used
        • Potlatch: A “complex cycle of gift giving ceremonies” that used the display and transfer of material wealth to validate and increase social status and kinship solidarity
    • The Nuu-Chan–Nulth
      • Little environmental manipulation
        • “ All things – animals, trees, and rocks” had spirits and had to be treated as one would treat a human.”
          • Stripping bark would entail asking the tree permission and providing explanation
          • Whaling would require months-long ceremonies
    • Case Study: The Mbuti of the Ituri Forest in Central Africa
      • Mutualistic or interdependent relationship between the Mbuti (mythic pygmies or short people of Darkest Africa) and neighboring Bila agriculturalists
        • Depend on each other for traded goods and diverse environmental exploitation and manipulation
    • The Mbuti and Bila of the Ituri Forest in Central Africa
        • Mbuti “childern of the Forest” material possessions of little value, instead happiness and well-being
          • Manage the benevolent forest through ritual, maintaining a ceremonial relationship, “only hungry Mbuti is a lazy Mbuti.” See themselves as superior to “stupid” Bila
        • Bila fear the forest, as farmers they see themselves as superior adults to “childlike” materially poor Mbuti who require their assistance for survival
        • Mbuti and Bila interdependence has strengthened with outside civil strife
    • Chapter Six: The Origins Of Food Production
      • 10,000 B.P. humans began to domesticate plants and animals in the Middle East and form interdependent relationships with some select species
        • Examples: wheat, barley, dogs, sheep, and goats
      • They also began altering landscapes through the clearing of field and the diversion of rivers and streams
    • The Transition to Agriculture
      • Hunting and gathering and Agriculture Co-evolved, utilization of wild and domesticated resources the norm
        • Three factors led to Agricultures growth
          • Environmental Change: Warmer and Dryer Climate
          • Population Pressure: Human population expansion required additional food
          • Organizational Change: Groups began to utilize resources more effectively
    • The Impact of Agriculture on the Natural environment
      • Large-scale and long-term landscape alteration led to:
        • Loss of entire ecosystems
        • Habit destruction
        • Decrease in biodiversity [Semiotic web]
        • Decrease in surface and subsurface fresh water
        • Soil erosion/exhaustion & pollution of water
        • Climate change to to less carbon sequestering
    • The Impact of Agriculture on People and Cultures
      • Dramatic increase in population
      • Dependence on a few species for survival
      • Increase in work load for most (not elite rich)
      • Increase in diseases related to crowded living
      • General health improvement & longer life expectancy
      • Increase in scale and impact of warfare
      • Loss of traditional environmental knowledge increase in specialized knowledge
    • Chapter Seven: Horticulture
      • Horticulture:
        • Low-intensity, small-scale agriculture involving the use of relatively small fields, plots, or gardens with an integration of wild resources an little environmental alteration
        • Groups live primarily in one place all year in a tribal-level organization often sharing habitat with hunters and gatherers
        • Human labor and small hand tools predominate
        • Crops grown mainly for consumption by family unit and dispersal within tribe
    • Horticulture
      • Gardens: small fields cultivated repeatedly by individuals or small groups
      • Chinampas: small raised gardens built in water usually as part of a large agricultural system
      • Terraced Gardens: small fields constructed on sloping terrain
      • Slash and Burn: one-time cultivation of a small field consisting of poor soil due to constant rain, woodlands and forests
      • Swidden Agriculture: Integrates slash and burn with fallow periods and crop rotation to create long-term sustainable cultivation
    • Case Study: The Grand Valley Dani of Highland New Guinea
      • The Dani: members of a series of related groups of horticulturalist in Western New Guinea
        • First contact by Occident in 1933
        • Live in a temperate fertile mountain valley
        • Once forest but converted to fields and grasslands
        • 90% of diet is yams, can name dozens of varieties
        • Pigs supplement and add protein
        • Prevalent warfare keeps minimizes travel
        • Frequent ceremonies around warfare distributes pigs & protein
    • Case Study: The Lozi of Western Zambia
      • The Lozi: Twenty-five separate tribes located in Western Zambia on the grassy broad floodplain along the Zambezi River surrounded by forests
        • Horticulture, cattle, and fishing (little environmental impact)
          • Horticulture: Chinampa Water Gardens, Slash and
          • Burn fields
          • Cattle: Primary domesticated animal
          • Fishing: Major protein source
        • Seasonal movement around flooding
        • Extensive class oriented social system
    • Chapter 8: Pastoralism
      • Primary subsistence derives from the husbandry of one or a few domestic animals
        • Herbivores: cattle, horses, sheep, llamas, alpacas, goats, camels, & similar animals (reindeer are an example of pastoralism with non-domesticated animals
        • Mutually beneficial relationship
          • Animals provide: meat, milk, hide, dung, wool, labor, companionship, transportation
          • Humans provide: protection from predators, steady food supply, health care, an expanded habitat, and assured reproductive success
    • Pastoralism
      • Requires a great deal of land as a pasture base
      • More productive than hunting and gathering typically less productive than agriculture
      • Efficient way to store resources, “on the hoof”
      • Diverse social-political organization and when moving their animals they need to interact effectively with other groups whose lands they traverse
      • Greater population than hunting and gathering typically less than agriculture
      • Significant landscape alteration from grazing, however, typically less environmental degradation than from agriculture, i.e. ecological equilibrium of Alpine herders
    • Case Study: The Maasai Of East Africa
      • To the Maasai, cattle form the basis of life
        • Food (milch pastorialism, milk and blood), materials, currency, marriage legitimization, and solidification of social relationships
        • Occupy two ecozones, an arid plain and a better-watered mountain area
        • Men raised to be warriors, protect cattle and pillage cattle from others
        • Constant goal is to have as many cattle as possible
        • Rigorous burning of brush limits biodiversity
        • Resource management system: animals, pastures, water
    • Case Study: The Navaho of the American Southwest
      • Live as Pastoralists in Arizona and New Mexico on the largest reservation in North America, occupy land that overlaps with horticultural Hopi
      • Landscape is rugged mountainous terrain with forests of pine and juniper, deep canyons, high mesas and many valleys
      • Half of the reservation is desert with enough grass for men to graze of sheep, overgrazing has caused significant environmental degradation
      • Females dominant in politics with family matriarch foremost decision maker
      • Conflict with Hopi over land rights and ownership