SOCI - Sept 23 2011
Quiz: First four chapters and lectures
Economies and Their Modes of Production:
Why do anthropologists focus on economy? Many argue economy is the basis of many
other aspects in culture. How we look at economic systems is in terms of how people
make a living cross culturally, how people make goods, how products are consumed
and how cultures exchange goods.
Cultural materialists argue that the economic baseboard shapes other aspects of
society and culture. When looking at culture and society start by looking at the economy.
That idea is often attributed to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. According to them, the
mode of production was the base of.
Limits of typologies: modes of production co-exist.
Wallerstein: Talked about an emerging world economy as early as the 16th century. By
the 19th century and already very interconnected global economy.
Modes of Production:
1. Foraging: Hunting, fishing, gathering of wild foods. This is a mode of production that
has been dominant for 90% of human history. By the 1900’s only .001% of humanity
were no longer foraging. Approximately only 250, 000 people rely on it today. There are
very few “pure” foragers today, most are locked into a world economy. Newer economic
systems often put pressure and push foragers to more marginal areas (eg. The Arctic,
tropical forest, dessert, etc). Despite their small numbers, there is lots of interest in
these people. Foraging is an extensive strategy, requires large areas of land and a lot of
mobility towards resources. This kind of strategy requires sophisticated
knowledge/specialized tools for different environments. There is a division of labour, but
age and gender based division is a major factor. Property relations: use rights-
recognized priority of access to territory and resources but these are not ownership
rights. Foraging is a very sustainable system if the resources can regenerate over time.
Eg. Ju/wasi [Ju/‘hoansi] of Kalahari; Richard Lee, 1960’s: He gave a foraging community
a lot of attention. What he records is that there was extensive knowledge of the plant
resources in the area. He found that for this community hunting was quite unpredictable.
About 75-80% of diet came from the gathering of women. People were organized into
camps of 10-30 people and these camps were nomadic. However, foragers are not
“pure” foragers, as they have trade with farmers/pastoralists and some cultivators.
2. Horticulture: Emerged (with Pastoralism) 12, 000 years ago. Involves the use of
domesticated crops in gardens with hand tools. This is not a “pure” mode of production, as it has been combined with foraging, pastoralism, trade, etc. Lack of irrigation and few
inputs. Relies on a rotation of gardens (shifting cultivation). This is an extensive strategy
because to be sustainable it requires a large area. This kind of cultivation is associated
in the contemporary studies with the support of semi-permanent villages (200-250
people). This kind of economy is more labour intensive than foraging. Division of labour
is often based on gender and age, but these are variable in the sense that they do not
always follow normal roles. Control over the produce. Children’s work is intense,
because men and women are busier with reproduction. Increased establishment of
property, use rights are more established. Individual claims through cultivation. Due to
this there is less sharing, greater inequality. This is a sustainable way of living IF: you
have access to the amount of land needed (need room for regeneration, as the fallow
period can be up to 7 years). Horticulturalists find themselves under pressure from
other, larger scale farmers. Horticulturists are often seen as wasteful or an unpopulated
area because they aren’t using all of the land available, but moving in “patches”.
3. Pastoralism: Involves domestication of herds, and the use of products (eg. Milk,