Midterm Review Answers 1

Midterm Review Answers 1 - 1 1) What is Blaut's main thesis...

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1) What is Blaut’s main thesis or argument he is trying to make against the European miracle? Explain this using the myth of environmental reductionism, the myth of the European family, and the myth of technological superiority. What are these, and how does he use them to support his argument? - This is to dispel the belief of European civilization as superior because of a “special quality of race or culture or environment or mind or spirit” that leads to its superiority over other communities; that is, to challenge the miracle myth - Environmental reductionism : This argument claimed that because of Europe’s ideal environment, it did not need to build systems of irrigation as in the cases of- o dry, arid Asia , which under despotic rule kept the land to the rulers and prevented individual freedoms and the development of private property and capitalism; Weber and Wittfoegel were key figures in promoting this idea. Blaut argues against this by saying that in many parts of Asia, the irrigation systems were not under the control of the government; that corvee labor was practiced in parts of Europe where serfs had to give part of their crops to their lords and had to work for them as free labor (in construction projects); and that serfs in Europe were not any freer than those in other parts o in tropical, nasty Africa, which was characterized by disease (which kept people unhealthy and was due to the climate), agricultural practices (slash and burn kept people mobile and unable to establish urban centers, as well as made the soil infertile), and bad for the mind and body. Blaut argued against each of these, claiming farmers were able to develop strategies for utilizing the land, and that disease also struck Europe. - Myth of the European family: this was the idea that the nuclear family was characterized by fewer children, later marriages (in terms of age), fewer marriages (some people didn’t marry), neolocality (married people have separate homes than parents), nuclear families (not extended), and people married for love (not arranged), which was a sign of European “rationality”. These supported two arguments, that the European family produced
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This note was uploaded on 06/09/2008 for the course IS 13 taught by Professor Douglas during the Spring '08 term at UC Irvine.

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Midterm Review Answers 1 - 1 1) What is Blaut's main thesis...

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