Cultural Economies Past and Present (Texas Press Sourcebooks in Anthropology)

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Bellier and T. Relevant literature. Sla navigatie over Navigatie. The main form of food production in such societies is the daily collection of wild plants and the hunting of wild animals. Hunter-gatherers move around constantly in search of food. As a result, they do not build permanent villages or create a wide variety of artifacts , and usually only form small groups such as bands and tribes. However, some hunting and gathering societies in areas with abundant resources such as people of tlingit lived in larger groups and formed complex hierarchical social structures such as chiefdom.

The need for mobility also limits the size of these societies. They generally consist of fewer than 60 people and rarely exceed Statuses within the tribe are relatively equal, and decisions are reached through general agreement. The ties that bind the tribe are more complex than those of the bands.

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Leadership is personal—charismatic—and used for special purposes only in tribal society. There are no political offices containing real power, and a chief is merely a person of influence, a sort of adviser; therefore, tribal consolidations for collective action are not governmental. The family forms the main social unit , with most members being related by birth or marriage. This type of organization requires the family to carry out most social functions, including production and education. Pastoralism is a slightly more efficient form of subsistence.

Rather than searching for food on a daily basis, members of a pastoral society rely on domesticated herd animals to meet their food needs. Pastoralists live a nomadic life, moving their herds from one pasture to another. Because their food supply is far more reliable, pastoral societies can support larger populations. Since there are food surpluses, fewer people are needed to produce food. As a result, the division of labor the specialization by individuals or groups in the performance of specific economic activities becomes more complex.

For example, some people become craftworkers, producing tools , weapons , and jewelry. The production of goods encourages trade. This trade helps to create inequality, as some families acquire more goods than others do. These families often gain power through their increased wealth. The passing on of property from one generation to another helps to centralize wealth and power. Over time emerge hereditary chieftainships, the typical form of government in pastoral societies. Fruits and vegetables grown in garden plots that have been cleared from the jungle or forest provide the main source of food in a horticultural society.

These societies have a level of technology and complexity similar to pastoral societies. Some horticultural groups use the slash-and-burn method to raise crops. The wild vegetation is cut and burned, and ashes are used as fertilizers.

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Horticulturists use human labor and simple tools to cultivate the land for one or more seasons. When the land becomes barren, horticulturists clear a new plot and leave the old plot to revert to its natural state. They may return to the original land several years later and begin the process again. By rotating their garden plots, horticulturists can stay in one area for a fairly long period of time. This allows them to build semipermanent or permanent villages. The size of a village's population depends on the amount of land available for farming; thus villages can range from as few as 30 people to as many as As with pastoral societies, surplus food leads to a more complex division of labor.

Specialized roles in horticultural societies include craftspeople, shamans religious leaders , and traders.


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  6. This role specialization allows people to create a wide variety of artifacts. As in pastoral societies, surplus food can lead to inequalities in wealth and power within horticultural political systems, developed because of the settled nature of horticultural life. Agrarian societies use agricultural technological advances to cultivate crops over a large area. Sociologists use the phrase agricultural revolution to refer to the technological changes that occurred as long as 8, years ago that led to cultivating crops and raising farm animals.

    Increases in food supplies then led to larger populations than in earlier communities. This meant a greater surplus, which resulted in towns that became centers of trade supporting various rulers, educators, craftspeople, merchants, and religious leaders who did not have to worry about locating nourishment. Greater degrees of social stratification appeared in agrarian societies.

    Guide Cultural Economies Past and Present (Texas Press Sourcebooks in Anthropology)

    For example, women previously had higher social status because they shared labor more equally with men. In hunting and gathering societies, women even gathered more food than men. However, as food stores improved and women took on lesser roles in providing food for the family, they increasingly became subordinate to men. As villages and towns expanded into neighboring areas, conflicts with other communities inevitably occurred.

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