Yocom, Blake Anthro 225

Yocom, Blake Anthro 225 - Yocom 1 Blake Yocom Anthropology...

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Yocom 1 Blake Yocom Anthropology 225 Professor Earle TA: John Millhauser FLO Paper 20 April 2009 Family Level of Organization Over the course of the past few centuries, the field of anthropology and academia in general, has sought to dispel common assumptions in regard to the evolution of human societies. Many theories were based on and fundamentally linked to racism, ethnocentrism, and the belief of the “inevitability of progress.” Throughout time, different cultures have evolved in their own way depending on their surroundings, their environment, and their history. These factors in addition to the structure in which the aforementioned people lived, is testament to how and why different cultures evolved in very different ways. Different levels of hierarchical, food procurement, and societal structures leads us to the examination of the first said level; the model of the family level. The family level of organization requires significant and numerous subsistence choices, mass seasonal movement, and the rarity of permanent and organized leadership. While the family level model does in fact have parallel activities to modern society, the overarching evidence suggests a drastically different world from the “modern” society we live in today. Similar to any scientific research and inquisition, certain case studies must be examined to extract the necessary data to form conclusions on the evolutionary process of human societies. Such case studies include: The Shoshone of the Great Basin, The !Kung of the Kalahari, The Machiguenga of the Peruvian Amazon, and the Nganasan of Northern Siberia. Each case varies in subtle but significant ways. All are examples of the family level of organization characterized by low population densities, dispersed resources, self-sufficiency, little to non-existent warfare,
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Yocom 2 low political integration, absent stratification, obvious reciprocity, and the ultimate freedom to move. Among the most fundamental similarities of the family level of organization are the subsistence choices presented, the seasonal movement patterns and habits, and the issue of leadership inside and outside the family. First, the subsistence economy is defined as “The locus at which basic needs begin to be filled…at root the household economy” (Earle, pg. 23).
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