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Lecture 4

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Tristan Long

WEEK 4 Cultural Anthropology: Chapter 5: MAKING A LIVING WHAT IS ADAPTATION? Adaptation: refers to interaction between changes an organism makes in its environment and changes 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 political Structures must be functionally suited to how social formation has adapted to its enviro 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 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. 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 domestic animals -approximately 6000 years ago, intensive agriculture produced sufficient food to support urban population -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 milk/meat 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 ADAPTATION -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. Guaranteed protein -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 within it. - 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 their culture. 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 mushroom, etc. - 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 husbandrybreeding 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 territory -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 technological level Density of Social Relations: Roughly the number and intensity of interactions among members of a camp or other residential unit -population size may depend on a group’s understanding of environmental, on spiritual components, and cultural preferences -Ju’Honsi love visiting and sometimes joins other groups -groups with lots of children may join others with less children, or they may want lots of kids to ensure the group survives in future -foraging lifestyle with children is hard, so women frequently nurse to suppress ovulation reducing likelihood of pregnancies -Blackfoot due to scarce resources, people broke into smaller groups and moved away from harsh areas of winter -they killed many bison’s and preserved meat for long winter months -Blackfoot movement depended on seasonal available of food/resources and weather conditions -foragers must make long term adjustments to resources -rarely exceeds 1 person per 2.5 km, very low densities -women due to constant nursing, suppresses ovulation so women give birth in wide intervals 3. DIVISION OF LABOUR Division of Labour: crucial component of social organization and cooperation – observed in all humans and oldest form of culture - Men hunt large game, women: gathered and process vegetal food and did domestic chores -historically men were 2X the size of women -even now, women do a lot walk 10km with children , gather (ju Hoansi) but still not as much as men -biological differences prevent women from hunting/gathering walking long distance when pregnant -women have less bone mass and wider pelvis, so men are better runners -Sioux men lured in animals dressing like a bison then attacking -they’d lure in animals between drive lanes and down a hill into logs or their drive bison over a cliff “THE BUFFALO JUMP” – dated round 3000BC -men would then cut it into manageable pieces -the hides used to make clothing, moccasins -men and women worked together after successful hunt, stripping hides, melting bison fat -60-70% of modern forager’s diet is fruits, shellfish, and fish that women provide -foragers don’t actually hunt ALL the time, especially in hotter climates for example 4.FOOD SHARING -practice of sharing food between adults -women have control over the food they collect and share it with whomever -Men have rules and how much they can get and how they share it and to who -the importance of the camp as a center of daily activity and where food sharing takes place -human camps are not just sleeping areas, but place of congregation, eating and socializing GENDER AUTONOMY IN FORAGING GROUPS - Although some researchers argue that men in traditional foraging groups control women through arrange marriages, and exclude them from decision making, ethnographic literature says otherwise -not all groups get arranged marriage for kids and even if they do, both mom and dad must agree -women usually have greater influence in this Ex: Ju’honsi does this -if marriage not going well, woman can return home -Ojibwa people must prove to especially the mother of his desired bride that he will provide fo
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