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Chapter 2

Cultural Anthropology - Chapter 2.docx

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Robert Brym

CulturalAnthropology Chapter 2: TheMeaning of Progress and Development Introduction What Do We Talk About When WeTalkAbout Progress?  10,000 years ago humans were sedentary –a mode of livelihood characterized by permanent or semi-permanent settlements.  Progress – the idea the human history is the story of a steady advance from a life dependent on the whims of nature to a life of control and domination over natural forces. Question 2.1: How And Why Did Foraging Societies Switch To Sedentary Agriculture?  Cultural change – the changes in meanings that a people ascribe to experience and changes in their way of life.  Till 10000 years ago, humans were in bands – a term used by anthropologists to refer to egalitarian units of social organization found mostly among foragers, that usually consist of fewer than 100 people o Moved frequently for food, and because of their small groups there were little differences economically and socially (age & gender). There were no leaders but special people had spiritual powers for healing. SIMPLE LIFE.  Eventually people became sedentary, living in permanent settlements of up to 2000 people where they grew crops and domesticated animals. Leaders were necessary and occupational roles developed  ranking in importance o Slash-and-burn (or swidden) agriculture – a mode of livelihood in which forests are cleared by burning trees and brush, and crops are planted among the ashes of the cleared ground. o Clans – a unilineal descent group whose members descent from a common ancestor o In order to defend themselves they formed States – a form of society characterized by a hierarchical ranking of people and centralized political control o Slash and burn replaced by irrigation agriculture – a form of cultivation in which water is used to deliver nutrients to growing plants.  Eventually leaders organize labor to construct public works (highways, the great wall of China, pyramids), hereditary leaders emerged, and settlements grew into cities, competitions between groups for available resources lead to armies.  Technological developments led to specific skills requirement, increased trade, evolution of the merchant class and development into large-scale industrializes state. Does TheIdeaOf Progress Help Us Understand TheShift FromForaging To Sedentary Agriculture?  Reasons of shift: Human inventions resulted in a better way of doing things  progressed? Evolutionary Explanations for CultureChange: Lewis Henry Morgan and Leslie White  Reason for sedentary  it was easier, less dangerous and more productive  Idea that change occurs because of a desire to progress is in Western societies.  Morgan (19 century) – studied Iroquois in NY. Theory of human development in which human societies evolves in 3 stages: savagery, barbarism, and civilization. Some still in savagery and barbarism. Transition required some major technological invention. Eg. fire, bow and arrow in savagery to barbarism. th  White (20 century) – humans sought to harness energy though technology and to transform that energy into things they required for survival such as food, clothing and shelter. Amount of goods produced by energy = efficiency of technology available. Energy was limited till technological advances which gave humans control of energy. Eventually a few people could care for large groups allowing others to take up other professions. What Are The Shortcomings Of These Theories Of Progress?  White ideas were influential because today people see technology as a measure of progress and the more we harness energy the more social, economic and political problems we solve.  Marshall Sahlins – foragers were “the original affluent society” with minimal work and plenty of leisure time. o 1. Females, as gatherers produced more food than the men who were hunters. o 2. They never went hungry; they didn’t have to work hard to get food. LifeAmong Foragers: TheHadza and Ju/’hoansi  James Woodburn – studied the Hazda in the 1960s, they were a small group of nomadic foragers in Tanzania. Many thought because they lived in the dessert, food was scarce, BUT they were rich in food resources because of wild game using bow and poisoned arrows (men) and plant foods (women). They considered meat the only food, and was “hungry” when there wasn’t meat, even though there was so much plant food they didn’t attempt to preserve it. They were healthy.  Lorna Marshall and Richard Lee – Ju/’hoansi people of Namibia’s Kalahari Desert are a foraging society. They lived around water holes and would go far to find plant and animal food 2 hours a day. Plant food = 60-90% of their food, and women gathered most of it twice as much food as men. They never ran out of food. Their major food source being the mongongo nuts = 50% of their calorie intake, however there are more than 80 edible plant species most of which they didn’t use. Occasionally they would get animal meat. They are healthy, except no carbs.  Ethnocentric?  we believe that our technological society is the highest development The Transition to Agriculture  Perspective that the shift is less development and more unnecessary evil. o Influence of population growth and population density – the number of people in a given geographic area.  Mark Cohen – o Population growth & density meant more food  expanding distance travelled for food & groups started bumping into one another  they cultivated their own crops which they knew how to do but didn’t consider it until travelling for food became difficult  easier  In slash-and-burn agriculture in small groups, it is highly efficient and productive  5 million calories/hectare. o BUT requires 20-30 years to allow the brush and trees to grow back to be used again and if cultivates more frequently for population growth, less yield per acre. o Population and amount of land available must remain constant.  Farmland becomes scarce because of population growth, environmental change and the encroachment of other groups.  new agricultural techniques  more work  No more swidden agriculture because there is not enough land to support the population  Robert L. Carneiro – consequences of population density for cultural change: o Increase in number of people relative to land  2 problems:  Conflict may arise between people for resources  If they decide to intensity growing methods, they need greater societal organization  Shift WASN’T a choice, it was because of population growth and density  NOT progress? o Some say no to progress because it’s more work, others yes because it’s done more efficiently, but non-humans have to put more effort than humans needed to. Industrial Agriculture: Producing Potato Calories  John H. Bodley – compared sweet potatoes production in New Guinea with US. In New Guinea they used slash-and-burn agricultural techniques  large part of their diets  used 10% of land with no danger of resource decline  12.4 million cal./hectare. In US 29.6 million cal./hectare used  human energy + large amount of non-human energy used  damage to environment. US produced more potatoes but the energy cost per cal. were lower than New Guinea. Also, US has high preparation and distribution costs, where New Guinea production = consumption. Question 2.2: How canwe explain thevast inequality betweenthe rich and thepoor?  If it isn’t progress, then why do those in the industrial world have a higher standard of living?  Industrial Revolution – A period of European history generally identified as occurring the late 18 th century, marked by a shift in the production from agriculture to industrial goods, urbanization, and the factory system. th th o Before China was the richest in 16 , 17 centuries for gold and silver paid for by Spanish and Portuguese miners for Chinese goods, then India cotton textiles, Europe, West Africa with Islamic traders, England rural agriculture society with raw wool and inexpensive textiles.  BUT traders and merchants wanted better control of these goods  cheap labor  “putting out” system – a means of production, common in the 16 and 17 th centuries and surviving today, in which a manufacturer or merchant supplied the materials and sometimes the tools to workers, who produce the foods in their own homes. th  “putting out” system replaced in 18 century England by factory system – a system of production characterized by the concentration of labor and machines in specific places. It is associated with the Industrial Revolution.  Trade profits greater than manufacture that needed demand for products and control of workers BUT manufacture had cheap labor & child labor and no laws stopping them  city life, more technological advancements, employment  England became the wealthiest country in the world  market was for Europe and growing market in America but there was competition for market and resources in which those with military superiority won. The Britishin India  Mughal India 17t century was an empire created by the Turks from Turkestan, who made their chief, Babur, the first Mughal emperor in 1527. 1  690 British East India Company were granted a monopoly in East Asian trade by the British government  in India they established a trading center “John Company” in Bengal, in Calcutta  expanded after defeating rulers of Bengal in 1750s and gained control of 10,000 weavers, increased taxes led to famines  gained control of much of India.  Before Britain, India produced cheap and better quality cloth than English textiles  British government prohibits the company from importing it and English factories produced copies of it  destroyed Indian textile industry BUT cotton was imported to China  BUT they couldn’t produce enough tea for them, and even though Opium was illegal in China was still importing it  China fought with British but British military won because China shouldn’t impose it’s laws on others and they were granted trade rights, resulting in: o 1. Reversed the flow of money between China and the world o 2. 1/10 Chinese people were addicted to Opium o 3. Textile exports from England to India and China increased Cotton, Slavery, and The Trail of Tears  Slavery existed long before, but slavery increased between 15 and 19 century because cotton produced in Egypt and US where labor was intensive & profitable through slavery, produced longer fiber than India.  The southern states of US and Europe got 275,000 slaves from Africa for cotton plantations.  Increase in capture & slave  industrial revolution  Eli Whitney’s cotton gin that efficiently separates the seeds from the raw cotton fiber  growth in American cotton industry + European demand  1790-1860 835,000 slaves forced to migrate from Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas to Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.  1830s 125,000 Native Americans forced migration from their homes in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi to the Oklahoma Territory, along a route known as The Trail of Tears.  Cherokee were an advanced Native group; they were horticulturists, living in large autonomous villages and
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