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Wykad 3

Can be found on the internet, the lecturer will tell later which chapters of Cultural Anthropology we must read.

What did we learn last time?

What is society? What are social structures Culture as shared (individual and cultural variation) Subcultures in a pluralistic society Culture as integrated: all aspects function as an integrated whole What happens when they read what we write 19th century amateur anthropologists the growth of the academic discipline in the 20th century: Franz Boas, Bronislaw Malinowski, Alfred R. Radcliffr-Brown

Gender bias in ethnographic account and its consequences Functionalism: structural functionalism vs biopsychological Kapauku Papuans, New Quinea; Leopold Pospisil, 1955
Pig breeding is a complex business. A lot of food needed to feed them. Sweet potatoes grown in garden lots this is womens work To raise many pigs, a man must have many women in the household Multiple wives are highly desired. Each man has to pay a bride price, which can be high. Polygyny is a result of: a surplus of adult women; warfare is endemic, men get killed but women do not

Warfare and partilinearity (descent reckoned through men) promote male dominance. Cultural ecology an approach developed by North American anthropologist Julian H.
Steward The study of the adjustment of ways of life to different habitants culture as an adaptive mechanism human beings are able to adjust to their diverse environments by changing their habits, customs and cultures this form of survival is influenced by natural selection in the same way that the survival of biological traits in organic species


Consider the source of your lunch or dinner if you hand no supermarket or McDonalds to supply it. Imagine your life without hamburgers and French fries. Imagine eating mostly rice every day

The Tsembaga of New Guinea: Fighting and feasting to keep the balance among humans, land and animals
A community of horticulturalists, they raise PIGS but eat them only under conditions of illness, injury, warfare, celebration. Hostilities sett off by ecological pressures: hungry pigs but a strain on land suited for farming, one group drives another off its land After the hostilities, the new residents celebrate the victory

Environment, Adaptation and Subsitence

Culture areas: a geographic region where numerous different societies follow a similar pattern of life Carrying capacity: the number of people the available resources can support at a given technological level Density of social relations: the number and intensity of social interactions among the members of a camp or residential unit

The Great Plains cultural area

31 politically independent peoples, each nation organized into a number of warrior societies, prestige came from hunting and fighting skills of food and materials for clothing and shelter. Farming for them would be difficult without technology, e.g. the steel-tipped plow was needed to break up the compact prairie soil. Culture type: buffalo hunters now grain farmers.

Subsistence adaptations
Foragers Horticulturalists Pastoralists Agriculturalists

Food foragers vs. horticulturalists Foraging food collecting system based on fishing, hunting wild animals and gathering wild
plant foods, It began 10,000 years ago.

Least specialized subsistence technology: digging sticks, traps, fire, hand skills

Live year-round in groups of fewer than 100 people, highly mobile: the family as a basis
political and economic unit; lack government and warfare

Exist in areas of marginal interest to the plant and animal domesticators: the arctic wastes,
the tundras, deserts and inaccessible forests

Optimal foraging theory: the greater the caloric cost of obtaining and preparing a given
food, the less likely it will be sought (insects)

Domestication of plants and animals (sheep, goats, dogs, cattle) It began 9,000-11,000 years ago Private farming, no technology: plow draft animals, fertilization, crop rotation or irrigation
largely absent

Slash-and-burn technology (swidden horticulture): trees and vegetation cut away, left to dry
and then burned before a crop can be planted

tropical forest or savannas; since nutrients in the soil become depleted, they cultivate a few
lots simultaneously, each for a different length of time and grow several

Food foragers: gender roles and demographics control

Equality between sexes: women provide plant foods and men go hunting Energy (carbohydrates) is derived primarily from plant foods (fish and shellfish) the female gatherer provides (60-70 % of all calories) Women can gather plants while taking care of the children Meat is less easily obtained although rich in high quality protein: rules of meats sharing with members of the camp this gives the individual hunter a claim on the future kills of other hunters

Women nurse infants several times an hour over a period of 4 or 5 years Constant stimulation of the mothers nipples suppresses the hormones that promote ovulation making conception unlikely Women give birth at widely spaced intervals and the number of offspring remains low

The food at your feet

Ren Redzepi gathers ingredients on Dragr Beach, near Copenhagen, for

Cook it Raw Poland 2012 For five days, some of the worlds best chefs travelled to the Suwalki Region of

Poland to learn about the agricultural resources of the region.

The first full day began with chefs and colleagues heading out on several excursions, exploring the beautiful scenery around Jaczno, whilst also searching out ingredients and ideas for the final dinner. Some went mushroom picking

Pastoralists vs. agriculturalists

Pastoralism involves animal husbandry as the major source of food (cattle, camels, reindeers, llamas or a mixture of these) Many of them began as farming peoples who adjusted to less productive environments Transhumance a migratory way of life in different seasons, two primary foraging areas for their animals Present in deserts, grasslands, savannas and mountains that are unable to sustain horticulture or agriculture (Africa, southwest Asia 21 million pastoral nomads) Unable to produce: they obtain goods from neighboring horticultural/agricultural peoples Live constantly with their herds, ready for conflict and warfare hence the dominant role of the male warrior Emphasis on obedience and deference to authority figures

Intensive cultivation Animal and technological power

The Bakhtiari in the Zagros Mountains of western Iran

Bleak and hard environment High mountains (3,600-4,200 m) Tend herds of goats and fat-tailed sheep Two seasonal migrations (transhumance) to find better grazing land for the flock In the fall, they load their tents and other belongings on donkeys and drive their flocks down to the warm plains where grazing land is excellent

In the spring, when the low-lying pastures

Culture and adaptation to the available environment: turning nomads into sedentary
villagers (14 million nomadic pastoral peoples living just south of the Sahara Desert) Overgazing

Too many animals grazing in one area can lead to problems, such as the loss of farmland that occurred in West Africa. 1. Animals are allowed to graze in areas with lots of grass 2. With too many animals grazing, however, the grass disappears, leaving the soils below exposed to the wind 3. The wind blows the soil away, turning what was once grassland into desert

Cultural adaptation has enabled humans, in the course of evolution, to survive and expand in a variety or environments. Sometimes though, what is adaptive in one set of circumstances, or in the short run, is maladaptive in another set of circumstances A society must strike a balance between the self-interest of individuals and the needs of the group. If one or the other becomes paramount, the result may be cultural breakdown. Culture an adaptive mechanism
a system to ensure the continued well-being of a group of people; it may be termed successful so long as it secures the survival of a society in a way that its members recognize as reasonably fulfilling Structural-Functionalism: social institutions reinforce each other and contribute to the maintenance of society

Structural-functionalism (Emile Durkheim and A.R. Radcliffe-Brown)

Society: an organism, an integrated whole of functional social institutions Function of religion: to create solidarity and a sense of community and legitimate power differences Function of household organization: to create stability

American Functionalism
Influenced by Malinowskis biopsychological functional SEVEN basic biological and psychological needs: 1. nutrition 2. reproduction 3. bodily comforts 4. safety 5. relaxation 6. movement 7. growth Our needs are fulfilled in the way prescribed

What about the individual?

People break the rules, make exceptions and interpret the norms in different and sometimes conflicting ways They do not act to the pre-established system of norms and sanctions Raymond Firth (1951)

Actor-centered accounts
Choice, goal-directed action