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Culture and the Environment: How Culture Affects How People Materially Sustain Themselves

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Culture and the Environment: How Culture Affects How People Materially Sustain Themselves Most common way of getting food in human history, over the past 100,000 years. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Culture and the Environment: How Culture Affects How People Materially Sustain Themselves


1
Culture and the Environment How Culture Affects
How People Materially Sustain Themselves
2
Some Basic Tenets
  • Both culture and the environment are complex
    systems made up of multiple interacting and
    interlocked forces and processes.
  • Part of a societys culture is its use of
    material resources provided by the environment.
    The ways that societies have done so is quite
    diverse.

3
Hunter-Gatherer Societies
  • People live off the land and do not produce food
    themselves
  • Low population densities
  • Detailed knowledge of the environment required
  • Moving with the seasons and moving to areas with
    resources

4
Hunter-Gatherer Societies
  • They are often very egalitarian societies
  • There was no way to store food
  • Those who participated in food gathering and
    hunting expeditions were given a share of the
    food
  • The social ties were temporary people left and
    joined bands as they felt like it

5
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6
Hunter-Gatherer Societies
  • The original affluent society needs are met
    for minimal labor in 2-3 days of work per week
  • Sustainable ecologically because needs are modest
  • The system breaks down when outsiders place
    restrictions on land use
  • When resources become limited, more emphasis on
    hunting

7
Hunter-Gatherer Societies
  • Hunter-gatherer societies only gave up this form
    of livelihood and turned to horticulture or
    pastoralism when they ran out of wild game.
  • Only small proportion of worlds population today
    lives by hunting-gathering because they have been
    pushed into marginal areas by agricultural
    peoples.

8
Pastoralists
  • Pastoralists depend on the products of
    domesticated herd animals
  • Primarily cattle, sheep, goats, yaks, or camels,
    because they produce both meat and milk (as well
    as skins for clothing and other products)
  • They may trade these products with their
    neighbors for other kinds of items or food

9
Pastoralists
  • Specialized adaptation to environments that
    cannot support a human population through
    agriculture (hilly terrain, dry climate, or
    unsuitable soil) but produces grass (which humans
    cannot eat).
  • Major areas of pastoralism East Africa (cattle),
    North Africa (camels), southwestern Asia (sheep
    and goats), central Asia (yak) and the subarctic
    (caribou and reindeer).

10
Cattle Herd in the Sudan
11
Transhumant Pastoralists
  • Men and boys move the animals regularly
    throughout the year to different areas as
    pastures become available in different altitudes
    or climate zones
  • Women and children and some men remain at
    permanent village site
  • Found mostly in East Africa

12
Nomadic Pastoralism
  • The whole population---men, women, and
    children---moves with the herds throughout the
    year
  • There are no permanent villages

13
Pastoralism
  • Key to pastoralist economy is herd growth
  • Animals are the form of wealth increase in
    wealth through reproduction
  • Risky because of drought, disease, theft
  • Pastoralists need to know the carrying capacity
    of the land as well as how many animals needed to
    support a family

14
Pastoralists
  • Nomadic pastoralist societies tend to be based on
    patrilineal kinship.
  • The animals are inherited through the male line.
  • Animals often significant in human rituals
    marriage exchanges, deaths, and in resolving
    conflicts.

15
Pastoralists Today
  • Pastoralists also being edged out by
    agriculturalists
  • They are increasingly turning to other forms of
    livelihood (e.g. selling animal products for
    cash) and becoming sedentary
  • Governments like sedentary populations that they
    can control and bring services to

16
Pastoralists Today
  • Nomads in Afghanistan and Iran are highly
    integrated into national and international trade
    markets sell meat animals to local markets,
    lambskins to international buyers, and sheep
    intestines to meet the huge German demand for
    natural sausage casings.

17
Horticulturalists
  • How is horticulture different from agriculture?
  • Are the Maisin horticulturalists or
    agriculturalists?

18
Horticulturalists
  • Production of plants using simple, non-mechanized
    technology (no draft animals, irrigation
    techniques, or plows)
  • Cultivated fields not used permanently, year
    after year, but become fallow after several years
    of use
  • Lower yield per acre than intensive agriculture
    but less human labor also

19
Horticulturalists
  • Grow enough to support their families and local
    group but not enough to produce surpluses to sell
    to non-agricultural peoples
  • Population densities are low, but villages may be
    large (100-1,000 people)
  • Mainly used in tropical rainforests SE Asia,
    sub-Saharan Africa, some Pacific Islands, and the
    Amazon rainforest

20
Slash-and-Burn or Swidden
  • A field is cleared by felling the trees and
    burning the bush
  • The burned vegetation is left on the land,
    preventing drying out of the soil
  • Ash serves as fertilizer
  • Fields used for a few years and then allowed to
    lie fallow (up to 20 years) so that the forest
    cover can be rebuilt and soil fertility restored

21
Swidden Agriculture in Belize
22
Horticulture and the Environment
  • So long as the land is allowed to remain fallow
    until it rejuvenates, the system is sustainable.
  • However, access to land by ranchers, miners,
    tourists, and farmers horticulturalists desire
    to increase production for cash and population
    growth can mean that the land becomes degraded.

23
Agriculturists
  • Same piece of land is permanently cultivated
    using the plow, draft animals, and more complex
    techniques of water and soil control than
    horticulturalists use.
  • Domestication of wild plants wheat, barley, etc.

24
Rice Paddy in Thailand
25
Agriculturalists
  • Plowing requires more thorough clearing of the
    land (e.g., removal of stumps), but it allows
    land to be used year after year.
  • Irrigation techniques like terracing and ditches
  • Agriculture can support population increases by
    more intensive use of the same piece of land

26
Agriculturalists
  • Java comprises only 9 of the total land in
    Indonesia, but supports two-thirds of the
    Indonesian population through intensive wet rice
    cultivation (1250 people per square mile)
  • The outer islands, which have 90 of the land,
    but practice horticulture, have about 145 people
    per square mile.

27
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28
Agricultural Societies
  • Increased productivity comes not only from more
    sophisticated technology but also more intensive
    use of labor ditches must be dug and kept clean,
    sluices constructed and repaired, land must be
    fertilized (with animal manures), and terraces
    leveled and diked.
  • Growing rice under swidden system 241
    worker-days per yearly crop
  • Under wet rice cultivation 292 worker-days

29
Rice Terracing in Java
30
Agriculturalists
  • Associated with the rise of
  • sedentary villages
  • cities and the state
  • occupational diversity
  • social stratification

31
Why does the Effect of Culture on the Environment
Matter?
  • Social Peoples ways of making a living from the
    environment (land, tools, labor) are deeply
    connected to social systems (the state, kinship
    structures) and forms of social inequality.
  • Environmental Peoples ways of making a living
    affects the sustainability of the environment

32
Why does the Effect of Culture on the Environment
Matter?
  • Lack of resources are as much the result of
    social inequalities and the way that resources
    are distributed among different groups as about
    overall scarcity of resources.

33
The Case of the Maisin
  • What mode of production do they use to sustain
    themselves?
  • Theodora Muluhs question Why were the gardens
    so important to the Maisin people?
  • When do children start having a garden?
  • In what other ways are gardens significant to the
    Maisin?
  • What do their gardens produce?
  • How do they get access to the resources to get
    food (in this case to land)?
  • Is there a division of labor by gender?
  • Is there a division of labor more generally?Are
    there occupational specialties? Do some people
    not grow food?
  • Are there political elites? How powerful are
    they?

34
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