Cultural Anthropology: Chapter 5: MAKING A LIVING
WHAT IS ADAPTATION?
Adaptation: refers to interaction between changes an organism makes in its environment and
Environment makes in the organism
-necessary for survival of all life forms
- Social adaptation is crucial facet of all human cultures, as social structures and
Structures must be functionally suited to how social formation has adapted to its
HOW DO HUMANS ADAPT?
-Humans adapt through the medium of culture as they develop ways of doing things compatible
with resources available in their enviro, and according to the enviro’s limitation
-Humans use various strategies for survival
Patterns of Subsistence: various strategy adaptations for survival
HOW DO HUMAN ADAPATION DIFFER FROM THAT OF OTHER ANIMALS?
-b/c humans possess culture and language, and ability to symbolize
-their adaptation and their survival best studied on several levels:
Ecological Adaptation: involving the provision of food and shelf and maintain
Social Adaptation: concerns sociability between individuals and groups,
maintenance of order, and reproduction, both biological and social, involving not
only sexuality but relation of effective ties between offspring and parents
Psychological Adaptation: relates to how humans through language and
symbolic action create and maintain meaning and coherence in their lives.
WHAT SORTS OF ADAPTATIONS HAVE HUMANS ACHIEVED OVER THE YEARS?
Foraging: oldest and most wide spread adaptation
- To it we owe, important elements of social org. like sexual division of labor, food sharing,
domus (home base)
-domestication of plants and animals developed in some parts of the world 9-11ooo years ago
Horticulture: cultivation of domestic plants with using simple hand tools
-In pastrolasti economy, which can be nomadic or seminomadic, reliance on rising herds of
-approximately 6000 years ago, intensive agriculture produced sufficient food to support urban
-today= mechanical agriculturalization
- All living things must satisfy basic needs to be alive (food, water shelter)
-we have culture, so when we run out of meat, we can get fruits and process them like meats
-if our tools fail, we make better ones
Adaptation: how humans adjusts in their environments to fulfill needs
Patterns of Subsistence: aka Subsistence Round. Strategies to get food
5 patterns: 1. foraging (hunting/gathering)
2. Pastoralism: way of life that depends on raising livestock and living on its
3. Horticulture: small scale cultivation using hand tools like digging sticks or hoes
4. Intensive Agriculture
5. Mechanized Agriculture (Industrialism)
-Societies must have rules on how it’s harvested, and make laws, rights
-Tsembaga highlanders support themselves through horticulture – cultivation of crops using
simple hand tools.
-they also raise pigs, only eaten upon illness, warfare, celebration
-at these time, pigs scarified to ancient spirits and flesh is ritually consumed by people involved.
-Humans have strong impact on their environment
Anthropogenesis: process where ecosystems are influenced/altered by humans. Ex: human
impact on pollutionm
-in central Africa, genetic mutation in human pop. Appeared, produced red blood cells taking on
sickle shape due to low oxygen, and they’d die. But after horticulture was introduced, creating
change in natural environment, mosquitos present, and they gave humans parasites which
screened out all damaged red blood cells, infected cells and parasites so it was good. But if too
much was destroyed, also bad
Ecosystem: a system composed of both the physical environment and the organisms living
- Human Ecologists aka Cultural/Social Ecologist, concerned with detailed micro studies of
particular human eco system, and concerned with all aspects of human culture
Ecological Anthropology: focuses on how cultures interact with their environments
-Adaptation must be understood also from historical context
Ex: Ojibwa hunted moose, deer, bear, beaver, gathered plant foods, but after Europeans came and
they did fir trade, and moved to different areas like Saskatchewan and Manitoba, they adopted
Plain Nomadic lifestyle becoming bison hunters and accepting plains rituals like sun dance into
THE FORAGING WAY OF LIFE
-pygmies have been in forest for thousands of years
-they don’t cut down forests and they know how to hunt the game, gather wild fruits
-they know the noises bees make to find their hidden honey, knows what weather brings what
- Less than 0.00005 person (less than a quarter million people) depend on hunting, gathering, etc.
-of all people who ever lived, 90% =foragers because in the past that’s all people did
- In order to understand our environment, and understand how food producing societies have
arisen, we need to go back and learn the lifestyles of foraging adaptation.
-Today foragers only found in deserts, inaccessible forests and Arctic tundra.
-foraging societies referred as primitive, backward, undeveloped
-but foraging societies were highly developed but in different ways that industrial sector
-Foragers had well balanced diets and less likely than farmers to suffer famine.
-Ju’hoansi have better nutrients since they gather/hunt food and work about 42 hours a week,
which is less than average western work week
-anthropologists may even refer foragers to the “original affluent society”
-Modern foragers also interact with neighbors for help. – trading meat for fish, having place to live
-Foragers don’t live that way because they don’t know any better; they do it because it’s the best
way of survival or because they prefer it!
CHARACTERISTICS OF FORAGERS
1. MOBILITY AND TECHNOLOGY
- Foragers people who don’t farm/practice animal husbandrybreeding farm
animals, so they live where food sources are available
-hunting equipment varies
-Mbuti pygmies sometimes hunt with nets and require cooperation of 7-30 families,
and their camps are large
-but camps of mbuti who use bow and arrows in smaller about 3-6 families
-if too many archers, they’d have to be far from each other to make sure the bows
don’t hit each other
-usually have to move frequently and so they have fixed annual routes that cover a
-some cover larger territory, Great Plains Blackfoot has large because they follow
bison herd routes
2. CAMP ORGANIZATION
Carrying Capacity: number of people the available resources can support @ given
Density of Social Relations: Roughly the number and intensity of interactions
among members of a camp or other residential unit
Adaptation: refers to interaction between changes an organism makes in its environment and changes. Social adaptation is crucial facet of all human cultures, as social structures and political. Structures must be functionally suited to how social formation has adapted to its enviro. Humans adapt through the medium of culture as they develop ways of doing things compatible with resources available in their enviro, and according to the enviro"s limitation. Patterns of subsistence: various strategy adaptations for survival. B/c humans possess culture and language, and ability to symbolize. Their adaptation and their survival best studied on several levels: Ecological adaptation: involving the provision of food and shelf and maintain health. Social adaptation: concerns sociability between individuals and groups, maintenance of order, and reproduction, both biological and social, involving not only sexuality but relation of effective ties between offspring and parents. Psychological adaptation: relates to how humans through language and symbolic action create and maintain meaning and coherence in their lives.