Ecological Anthropology Course Fundamentals 1 29 08


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  • Ecological Anthropology Course Fundamentals 1 29 08

    1. 1. Ecological Anthropology: Fundamentals <ul><ul><li>Introduction to Cultural Ecology : </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>by Sutton & Anderson, Chapter One </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Goal of Book </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Communicate Anthropology side of ecological issues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learn from diverse, mainly traditional non-western, cultural interaction with nature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Not the “ecologically noble savage” </li></ul></ul></ul>
    2. 2. Ecological Anthropology: Fundamentals <ul><li>Ecology studies the interactions between organisms and their environments </li></ul><ul><li>Ecological Anthropology studies the interaction between human biology, culture and the environment </li></ul>
    3. 3. Ecosemiotics Source: Kull Kalevi 1998 The communicative relationship between nature and culture
    4. 4. History of Environmental Thought <ul><li>Environmental Determinism: Environment dictates cultural adaptation </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural Evolution: There is an upward progression to environmental adaptation </li></ul><ul><li>Possibilism: Environment limits cultural adaptation </li></ul>
    5. 5. Approaches to Ecological Anthropology <ul><li>Cultural Ecology: Began in 1930’s </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Julian Steward coined term, “father of Ecological Anthropology,”saw culture as making </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>human distinct animals separate from environment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The “New Ecology”: Began in late 1960’s </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Science of systems ecology, humans not unique animals but embedded in ecosystems. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Rappaport, Pigs for the Ancestors , Physics Model </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Communication- Ecosemiotic Model </li></ul></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Approaches to Ecological Anthropology <ul><li>Cultural Materialism: Began in late 1960’s </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Marvin Harris “functionalist” culture interaction with environment explained by direct material payoff in specific situations, i.e. Sacred Cow of India </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rational Choice: Began in late 1980’s </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Popular in economics and political science, culture interaction derives from a people’s best “rational” decisions </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Approaches to Ecological Anthropology <ul><li>Political Ecology: Began in 1970’s </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on immediate conflicts and the short-term cultural/environment processes involved </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Historical Ecology: Began in 1970’s </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Similar to environmental history, dialectic relationship between humans and the altered “landscape” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Postmodernism: Began in 1980’s </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Interpretations by science of human/environmental interaction is subjective, “biophysical reality”centered on power relationships dictated by dominant modern culture </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Ecological Anthropology: Fundamentals <ul><ul><li>Introduction to Cultural Ecology : </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>by Sutton & Anderson, Chapter Four </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cultural Adaptation to the environment has become more more influential for humans than biological adaptation </li></ul>
    9. 9. Environmental Adaptation Through Cultural Systems <ul><li>Organization: orders and integrates diverse cultural components, i.e. religious, economic, political, for environmental adaptation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social networks allow for distribution of environmental resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Settlement patterns allow for differing utilization of environmental resources </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Technology: utilization of tools has allowed humans to adapt to every ecosystem on earth </li></ul>
    10. 10. Traditional Knowledge Systems <ul><li>All cultures obtain and categorize knowledge about the environment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ethnoscience/Ethnoecology: the classification and knowledge of the environment by a culture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ethnobiology: the study of biotic environment </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Eethnobotany: plants </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ethnozoology: animals </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ethnopharmacology: medicines </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Traditional Knowledge Systems <ul><li>Knowledge of Abiotic Environment includes geography, soils, meteorology & astronomy </li></ul><ul><li>Art portrays cultural attitudes and beliefs about the environment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Underutilized by Eco-Anthropology </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Eco-Anthropologists & Modern Western Uses of Traditional Knowledge Systems <ul><li>Medicine - recording and collecting </li></ul><ul><li>native plants used in healing </li></ul><ul><li>Food and Fiber – describing traditional uses </li></ul><ul><li>for native plants and animals </li></ul><ul><li>Agricultural Techniques – documenting environmentally sustainable practices </li></ul>
    13. 13. Eco-Anthropologists & Modern Western Uses of Traditional Knowledge Systems <ul><li>Thought and Philosophy – illuminating the ways native people think about their environment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Study and make known, culturally encoded beliefs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>and knowledge of the environment, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Different cultures know different “facts” about the environment that are often non-factual to outsiders </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Traditional cultures have extensive knowledge of environment that often exceeds modern scientific knowledge </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Traditional religion acts to “sell” conservation through ethics and moral teachings that can be utilized in modern society, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>i.e, Aldo Leopold’s “land ethic” </li></ul></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Human “Impact” on the Environment <ul><li>Anthropogenic (human + produced) changes derive from: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Large scale environmental alteration of landscapes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Burning forest to clear land for farming </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Smaller scale specific resource management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pruning trees to increase fruit </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Active or Passive Methods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Purposeful goal directed behavior, crop cultivation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ritual to promote stewardship, conservation awards </li></ul></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Making Decisions About the Environment <ul><li>Cultural systems are dynamic, constant calibration and adjustment necessary for stability (a stochastic process) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cognition: Perception of environment is a selective process, the “difference that makes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a difference” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information (to bring into form): Environment understood through accumulation, classification and explanation </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. Ecological Anthropology: Fundamentals <ul><li>“ The Roots of Environmental Crisis,” Part 6 no. 3, in Steps to an Ecology of Mind by Gregory Bateson, ©1972 </li></ul><ul><li>Ad hoc measures can allow deeper causes to grow stronger, treating symptom without curing disease </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In 1939 DDT was solution to an insect “problem,” (Nobel Prize) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1950 DDT found severely toxic to animals, including humans </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>World is addicted to DDT, short-term gain long-term pain </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1962 Silent Spring by Rachel Carlson launches environmentalism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1970 Prohibition of DDT is begun, endocrine (hormone) disruptor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>At present DDT is still in use, found in maternal amniotic fluid even in U.S. where it is banned </li></ul></ul>
    17. 17. The Roots of Environmental Crisis <ul><li>Interaction of Three Interconnected Causes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Technological “Progress” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Population Increase </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Errors in thinking and attitudes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Every solution to technological and population problems made more difficult by errors in the “thinking and attitudes of Occidental Culture” </li></ul></ul></ul>
    18. 18. Bateson’s &quot;Separation From Nature” Cluster of Ideas <ul><li>It’s us against the environment. </li></ul><ul><li>It’s the individual (or individual company or individual nation) that matters. </li></ul><ul><li>We can have unilateral control over the environment and must strive for that control. </li></ul><ul><li>We live in an infinitely expanding “frontier.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Economic determinism is common sense. </li></ul><ul><li>Technology will do it for us </li></ul>
    19. 19. Occidental Culture &quot;Separation From Nature” Cluster of Ideas <ul><li>Proven false by the massive environmental destruction caused by technological achievements (especially since industrial revolution) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“The creature that wins against its environment destroys itself” </li></ul></ul>
    20. 20. The Roots of Environmental Crisis <ul><li>The “hubris” of Occidental thinking is only one culture’s way of relating to nature </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many traditional cultures are models, i.e ancient Hawaiian </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Environmental scientist and philosophers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Environmentalists and eco-friendly business </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Next five to ten years crucial </li></ul></ul>