Kyle Harbison humans and culture midterm

Kyle Harbison humans and culture midterm - Kyle Harbison CM...

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Kyle Harbison CM 1090 October 1, 2008 Humans and Culture Subsistence Patterns In an attempt to separate the cultures of the world into easier modes of study, anthropologists created set categories based on subsistence patterns, derived from the methods by which societies obtain their food and other provisions. The four categories of most interest to our class discussions are foraging, pastoralism, horticulture and intense agriculture. Industrialism is also a category of division, however this is outside the bounds of our class for all people under our study have been primitive to our own industrialist culture. Each type of division has their own unique characteristics, and even though some features seem to merge between categories, there certainly is a foundation of relatedness between each culture per category. It is with this foundation of similarity, from population sizes to politics, that I will attempt in the following to classify the societies discussed in class into their respective subsistence categories. Once the basic means by which humans exploited their environment, Foraging, also known as hunting and gathering, is the system based on acquiring wild plant and animal resources. With foraging being the oldest subsistence system, the people who have utilized this mode have done so in a wide range of environments, although, as time has passed the few remaining foraging societies have been forced into extreme environments unwanted by agricultural and industrial societies. Nevertheless, even though the amount of cultures and types of environments still today involved in foraging have dramatically reduced in size and quality, respectively, there are still features and distinctions that are similar between all foraging societies. The first society we discussed in class, the Arunta, is an example of such a foraging culture. Based in the arid mid-south region of Australia, the Arunta society is made up of small migrating families that still consider themselves part of a larger group, which anthropologists call a band. These nomadic people exploit the land on a seasonal basis, continually moving to new areas in order to gather new resources and also leave their wastes behind. Because of the low population density and nomadic nature of their society, the Arunta have very little material culture. No ornate clothing or rituals are to be found within the Arunta society, and an egalitarian political structure prevails. All these characteristics may seem to be dependent on the fact that the Arunta live in a harsh desert environment, but in fact the basic foundation of these characteristics can be used to describe all foraging societies even before they were forced to dwell in marginal environments. The !Kung of the South African Kalahari Desert, and the Nootka of the Canadian Southwest Coast are such other foraging cultures that have been discussed in class. The !Kung society is almost exactly the same as the Arunta, being that they maintain a high frequency of migration,
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Kyle Harbison humans and culture midterm - Kyle Harbison CM...

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