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FORAGING SYSTEMS - human populations(though of course there...

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FORAGING SYSTEMS & "ORIGINAL AFFLUENCE" Intro A significant amount of research in ecological anthropology is devoted to studies of hunter-gatherer (H-G) populations, also known as foragers; this is out of all proportion to the number & size of such populations [see bottom panel of "Man the Hunter" map ] This preoccupation with such a rare mode of subsistence has 2 explanations: 1) Up until about 10,000 yrs ago, when crops & herd animals first domesticated, all humans lived as foragers; depending on when you mark boundary between humans & pre-humans, we have been foragers for 75% to 99% of our history [ see map, top panel ] 2) Beginning with Steward in 1930's, H-Gs have been viewed as more closely adapted to local environment, hence more subject to ecological analysis, than other kinds of
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Unformatted text preview: human populations (though of course there are dissenters from this view. ..) Despite this continuous interest in foragers, anthropological & ecological views of them have undergone marked shifts (see Kelly 1995: ch 1 reading) Until about 30 yrs ago, H-Gs were seen as culturally impoverished, ecologically vulnerable This stereotype stemmed from Victorian notions of cultural progress (from "savagery" to "barbarism" to "civilization"), which viewed contemporary foragers as survivals from earliest stage, living lives that were "nasty, brutish, and short" and too hard-pressed by the constant struggle to stay alive to develop culture beyond the most rudimentary forms...
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