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Week 2

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The persistence of worldview or cosmology. The source of a particular way of ... Suffering and offering/creation and destruction are joined in Western cosmology ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Week 2


1
Week 2
  • Concepts and Approaches in Ecological
    Anthropology and The New Ecological Anthropology

2
Genesis
  • The persistence of worldview or cosmology
  • The source of a particular way of being in the
    world
  • Worldviews are variable between peoples

3
Genesis as an ecological text
  • Animals and humans are different entities from
    the beginning
  • Humans have dominion over animals and nature
  • There are different kinds of animals and
    different kinds of people
  • Transformation of nature is fundamental
  • Tension between a settled place of home and
    expansion to new places

4
  • Ownership over land and animals is given
  • Class and gendered roles are given
  • Transformation of nature through labour
    (culture) is the key
  • Fecundity is celebrated and a precursor to
    expansion
  • Suffering and offering/creation and destruction
    are joined in Western cosmology
  • Where does Carsons Silent Spring fit in this?
  • Archetype

5
Sahtú Dé (Bear River)
6
Bear Rock
7
Norman Wells, NT
8
Bates - Chapter 1
9
Anthropology and the foundations of western
worldview
  • Society Culture
  • Baun

10
The evolutionary view - Darwin and Cultural
Evolution
  • As a species humans have evolved from a pre-human
    ancestor. Mechanism is well established in the
    theory of Natural Selection which operates on
    genes.
  • A conundrum Societies and culture also seems to
    have evolved but there is no specific genetic
    mechanism associated with cultural evolution.

11
Is the change in culture analogous to that
demonstrable in genes?
  • A good metaphor is a powerful thing
  • Life is a river out of Eden (Dawkins)
  • Change is embedded in the human experience but so
    is stability
  • Is culture cumulative and adaptive like genetic
    change?

12
What do we mean by culture?
  • Material evidence of past human occupation
  • Ideas we hold about the world
  • Ways of behaving
  • A collective set of values beliefs
  • The basis for experience
  • The illusion of naturalness

13
Anthropological approach to the study of culture
  • Holism
  • Relativism
  • Method
  • Distribution?

14
Holism
  • no complex entity is merely the sum of its
    parts (p.4)
  • To understand human life holistically is to
    understand the relationships between the parts,
    the parts themselves, and the sum of the parts.

15
Relativism/Ethnocentrism
  • Other peoples worlds are informed by a cultural
    rationality
  • The anthropologist attempts to understand from
    within the local system of meaning
  • Objectivity, empathy and informed judgment
  • In a relativist perspective absolutes are rare
    and debatable
  • Questions of scale Emic and Etic views

16
Methods - Participant Observation
  • from within
  • on its own terms
  • through participating in it
  • over a long period of time
  • in the local language
  • through local logic
  • often with the help of Key Informants

17
Data?
  • Direct experience through active engagement
  • Observational field notes
  • Different kinds of Interviews
  • Questionnaires
  • Life histories
  • Kinship data
  • Harvest data/energy flows/food production,preparat
    ion, consumption
  • Texts
  • Historical sources

18
Cultural construction Giving meaning to the world
  • The meanings people share are achieved through
    processes They are constructions.
  • Gender is a construct that varies between peoples
    and over time, so is childhood, nature, and just
    about everything else. Through anthropological
    methods we can witness the process of meaning
    making or social/cultural construction. (See
    Bates on gender box 1.1)
  • Construction and effect are cyclical

19
Memory and Transmission
  • Culture resides in our minds, our behaviours, our
    texts, our language.
  • It ultimately concerns the meanings we attribute
    to the world and the distribution of those
    meanings over time.
  • It is frequently cumulative in the sense that
    innovation is passed on over time.
  • However, forgetting is also a prominent feature
    of human cultural life.

20
Forgotten Great Zimbabwe
A highly complex society with evident hierarchy
and sophisticated technology
21
Forgotten Mayan wetland agricultural system
  • Assumed that current swidden practices maintained
    the Mayan empire
  • Only recently discovered a complex agricultural
    system that no longer exists

22
Why forget?
  • Choice
  • Force
  • Change

23
Is culture adaptive?
  • Culture provides the structure for living and the
    material for changing.
  • People have occupied the world and beyond.
  • Through culture and technology all ecosystems are
    human spaces.
  • Culture can also constrain and destroy
    intentionally and accidentally.

24
Is anthropology a science?
  • Hypothesis testing
  • Inductive reasoning
  • Patterns and differences
  • Experimental
  • Variable accumulation

25
Kotak - The New Ecological Anthropology
  • Old - Optimization, isolation, negative feedback,
    stasis, political naïveté
  • New - Continual growth in population
    consumption, environmental degradation,
    technological innovation, transnationalism.
    Policy and solution oriented

26
Old
  • Ecological population/ecosytem where
    geographically limited and bounded. Groups of
    people were seen to be living the same limits.
  • Groups were seen as relatively self supporting
    and with limited or insignificant relationships
    with other groups.
  • Focused on small groups.
  • Core features of culture important-edges and
    boundaries were not considered.
  • Cognized (emic) Operationalized (etic) models

27
New
  • Reflects a changing discipline and understanding
    of culture
  • Cultures under contact
  • Environments are shared and power is exerted in
    their transformation into resources
  • Its not just about subsistence anymore
  • Scale of study is larger, more complex and
    multi-sited (national, international)
  • Still rooted in the traditional methods and
    perspectives of the discipline

28
  • Applied - solution oriented
  • Policy and analytically focused
  • Various sources of control over lands and
    resources often disputed
  • Colonial and post-colonial issues
  • Rights and abuses are of concern
  • Individual and collective survival is a twin
    issue
  • Flows of people between and within countries have
    huge ecological effects

29
3 issues for the N.E.A.
  • Ethnoecological clashes Developmentalism and
    Environmentalism
  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Ecological Awareness and Environmental Risk
    Percpetion

30
Methods
  • Linkages methodology
  • Team and multi-sited
  • New tools (Sattelite imagery, maping…)

31
Romers Rule
  • Return to the culture - evolution analogy
  • innovation that evolves to maintain a system can
    play a major role in changing that system (p.33)

32
  • Adaptation is the process by which organisms or
    groups of organisms maintain homeostasis … in the
    face of both short-term environmental
    fluctuations and long-term changes in the
    composition and structure of their environments
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