GETTING FOOD

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GETTING FOOD
HUNTERS AND GATHERERS or FORAGERS
• Subsistence derived
from a combination
of gathering and
hunting
• The primary reason
for the continuing
survival of foraging
economies is the
inapplicability of
their environmental
settings to food
production.
A contemporary forager from
Australia’s Cape York
peninsula collects eggs from
the nest of a magpie goose.
Correlates of Foraging
• Band-organization (30-50)
people -- flexibility allows for
seasonal adjustments.
• Mobile, at least seasonally
nomadic -- Pattern of
congregation and dispersal
• Bands flexible in composition.
• No permanent attachment to
group or land.
• Access to resources held
communally.
• Individual ownership of food,
tools and other goods but strong
pressure to share.
!Kung
• Little difference in
wealth, few material
goods
• Social and political
organization are simple
At most, headman
without authority
• Social control is informal
Low population density
(few people per area of
land)
• Limited means of food
storage
The Agta of the Phillippines
live by hunting, gathering,
fishing and exchange with
lowland farmers
•Typical gender-based division of labor with women
gathering and men hunting and fishing, with gathering
contributing more to the group diet.
•No full-time
specialists, Some parttime specialists
•Amount of work is
limited
•Little warfare
(conflict between
groups)
•All foraging societies distinguish among their members
according to age and gender, but are relatively
egalitarian (making only minor distinctions in status)
Wide Variation in characteristics across H-G societies
degree of dependence on hunting vs. gathering
gender roles/ gender status
technologies used
Political organization
Foraging
Worldwide distribution of recent hunter-gatherers.
recent foragers have often been used to
understand prehistoric humans
Caveats
• Now in least desirable
environments:
tundra, desert, rain
forest
• Cultural changes in last
20,000 years
• Natural environment has
changed
• Affected by other people
Horticulture
• non-intensive plant
cultivation, based on the
use of simple tools and
cyclical, non-continuous
use crop lands.
• Slash-and-burn or
swidden cultivation and
shifting cultivation are
alternative labels for
horticulture.
• About 300 million people
depended primarily on
swidden cultivation for
subsistence.
slash-and-burn horticulture
Ranomafana, Madagascar.
Horticulturists
–use a limited, nonmechanized technology to cultivate
plants.
– Slash-and-burn agriculture
• Cyclical process
• Burned vegetation, ashes
nourish land
• Land left fallow for several
years
• Tend to be less nomadic and
more sedentary than foragers
– Cultures include:
A Yanomamö hunter
• Yanomamö
• Tsembaga
• Iroquois
Horticultural Adaptations
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Gardening, using tools that require human power
Domesticated plants
Shift in emphasis on role of women in kinship
Sedentism
Increased labor intensity
Surpluses
Social stratification
notions of private property, and ownership of land
warfare
• Groups range from 100 to more than 5,000
• Relatively settled, but nomadic within limits
• Location of villages is shifted periodically to keep the near
areas being cultivated but even so, villages usually remain
in each location for several consecutive years.
South American farmers. Women tend to be the
main producers in horticultural societies.
Pastoralists
– Subsistence is based on
the care of domesticated
animals
– Migration follows herds
– Examples: Bedouins,
Lapps, Nuer
– East African cattle complex
• Supplement diet with
gardens
• Largely eat blood and
milk from cattle, not
meat
Bedouins
Pastoralism
A female pastoralist who is a member of the Kirgiz
ethnic group in Xinjiang Province, China.
Pastoralism
• members of such economies
may get agricultural produce
through trade or their own
subsidiary cultivation.
• Patterns of Pastoralism:
– Pastoral Nomadism: all
members of the pastoral society
follow the herd throughout the
year.
– Transhumance: part of the
society follows the herd, while
the other part maintains a
home village (this is usually
associated with some cultivation
by the pastoralists).
East African cattle complex
Iran
Agriculture
• Agriculture is cultivation involving
continuous use of crop land, and is more
labor-intensive (due to the ancillary needs
generated by farm animals and crop land
formation) than horticulture.
• Domesticated animals are commonly used
in agriculture, mainly to ease labor and
provide manure.
• Irrigation is one of the agricultural
techniques that frees cultivation from
seasonal domination.
Agriculture
Irrigated and terraced rice fields used by the rice farmers of
Luzon in the Philippines.
Agriculture: Costs and Benefits
• Agriculture is far more labor-intensive and capital-intensive than
horticulture, but does not necessarily yield more than horticulture
does (under ideal conditions).
• Agriculture’s long-term production (per area) is far more stable
than horticulture’s.
• Intensified food production is associated with sedentism and rapid
population increase.
Top: Egyptian shaduf
The Cultivation Continuum
• In reality, non-industrial economies do not always fit
cleanly into the distinct categories given above, thus it
is useful to think in terms of a cultivation continuum.
• Sectorial fallowing: a plot of land may be planted twoto-three years before shifting (as with the Kuikuru,
South American manioc horticulturalists) then
allowed to lie fallow for a period of years.
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