ANTHRO STUDY GUIDE
EHS Part II: The Local Group
-The development of the local group is often linked to the Neolithic revolution,
associated with the domestication of plants and animals, but perhaps equally
revolutionary was the development of formal social institutions that channeled human
interactions in new ways.
-Each local group is fashioned by embedding from as few as two to as many as twenty
-Leadership and extensive ceremonialism allow families to live together and coordinate
their activities despite countervailing pressures to split up and go their separate ways.
-Pastoralists tend toward small
egalitarian groups unless forced, usually by aggression, to
form larger groups.
-One’s survival in the Local Group is based on membership. The individuals within the
group are the “best” in the world.
-Most decisions about the use of resources, the organization of production, the
distribution of food, and specifics of association and cooperation take place within the
family and between close relatives and friends.
THE MAIN CHARACTERISTICS OF THE LOCAL GROUP
1.) Highly variable environments but they tend to be more productive than family
level groups and more marginal than chiefdoms and states.
2.) Population ranges from 1-20/30 persons per square mile. The ENGA are
exceptional (85-250 people per sq. mile).
3.) Technology consists primarily of personal tools.
4.) Two levels of social organization: a.) The Family Level-daily subsistence, child
rearing, frequent socializing, and informal aid.
B.) the local group which involves
large scale work tasks, risk management, war and ceremony.
5.) Warfare and territoriality are common among most local groups.
6.) Political integration is strong and is defined by a combination of ceremonial
activities and leadership. Marriage, exchange, and alliance link groups together.
7.) Some leaders control more resources than others, but their main job is to work
harder and lead by example.
8.) Sanctity especially takes place through invoking, honoring, and placating
ancestral spirits who stand for the local group and its subgroups.
-10,000 years ago
-Major technological changes including: origins of plant cultivation, domestication of
animals, ax-trade and forest clearance, new transport with boats and carts, crafts
(pottery and weaving), villages, houses, tombs.