PATTERNS OF SUBSISTENCE
- ECONOMIC SYSTEMS, the type of food production systems
influence every other institution. Everything is
related back to the patterns of subsistence.
- we are gregarious, so we need enough food for a whole
- need to know what is edible + how to obtain it + how
to process it
- how seasonal a climate is also affects food prod.
MOST BASIC FORM OF SUBSISTENCE
- Used to be called "hunters/gatherers" but some do not
hunt, maybe they fish, they do more gathering.
- GATHER / FISH / HUNT
- NO SURPLUS
- used to think these people were on the brink of
starvation. This is not the case, they live in small
populations and it takes them relatively little time to
find enough food to be full.
- since their food is usually seasonal, they are highly
- before neolithic revolution, there were areas with
enough food that people didn't have to be nomadic to be
sustained. This is why sedentarism came before
argriculture in many cases. - MEAT is always something that is important. BUT:
hunting is not as sure of a task so there is a SYSTEM
- SHARING is the basis of the economy
- no notion of personal property
- kills are shared amongst entire group.
- REQUIRES GREAT KNOWLEDGE OF THE ENVIRONMENT
- Gender division of labour is very FLEXIBLE
- Men tend to do most of the dangerous things like
hunting large game but women are capable as well.
- Women of child-bearing age are usually kept away from
danger though, if possible. Not a matter of skill. The
women past child-bearing age will fill in when
necessary for the hunting.
- men are socially expendable, since you don't need a
man for every woman in order for women to be made
- The group size (Band composition) is relatively
FLEXIBLE. The fluctuations in size are a matter of
economics. When food becomes sparce and you have to
travel far and wide to feed everyone, groups split up
into much smaller groups so they don't have to travel
so far to find enough food.
- you don't have to stay with the same band all your
life. when people get married, they can go live with
the bride or groom's family.
- NO CONCEPT OF OWNERSHIP
- this made the treaties signed by people's who did
believe in ownership of land very incomprehensible to the foraging populations who did not realize what they
were signing on to.
- rely on LIVESTOCK for subsistence (food, trade)
- some live entirely from livestock, some use them for
trade and travel from place to place to trade
- CATTLE, SHEEP, GOATS (ones with milk and usable
- ADAPTED TO AREAS NOT SUITABLE FOR GROWING CROPS: most
pastoralist societies today live in places that do not
allow for farming or foraging. but these areas do
produce food that animals can eat and turn into food
- PRODUCE A SMALL SURPLUS
*but this is determined by the CARRYING CAPACITY of the
environment, which is not, in this case, the amount of
food needed to carry the humans, but rather the amount
of food needed to carry the HERD of animals.
- personal property is introduced because of livestock:
OWNERSHIP OF LIVESTOCK IS BASED ON KINSHIP TIES. though
kind of individually owned, one cannot do whatever you
want with it, because it is owned by family groups.
- animals constantly traded between families for a lot
of reasons (ie dowry)
- TRAVEL 1000s OF KILOMETERS A YEAR, grazing their
- TEND TO GROW ROOT CROPS INSTEAD OF CEREAL CROPS
(YAMS, TAROS, MANIOC, POTATOES, etc)
- PRODUCE ONLY A RELATIVELY SMALL SURPLUS
- BY DEFINITION, THEY DO NOT USE FERTILIZ