New PDF release: Nature and Society: Anthropological Perspectives (European

By Philippe Descola, Gisli Palsson

ISBN-10: 0415132150

ISBN-13: 9780415132152

The participants to this e-book concentrate on the connection among nature and society from various theoretical and ethnographic views. Their paintings attracts upon fresh advancements in social concept, biology, ethnobiology, epistemology, sociology of technology, and a wide range of ethnographic case reviews -- from Amazonia, the Solomon Islands, Malaysia, the Mollucan Islands, rural comunities from Japan and north-west Europe, city Greece, and laboratories of molecular biology and high-energy physics. The dialogue is split into 3 elements, emphasising the issues posed by means of the nature-culture dualism, a few inaccurate makes an attempt to reply to those difficulties, and strength avenues out of the present dilemmas of ecological discourse.

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Additional resources for Nature and Society: Anthropological Perspectives (European Association of Social Anthropologists)

Sample text

He has, therefore, to work out his tactics as he goes along. One hunting trip described by Winterhalder exemplifies this point very well. In this trip, ostensibly for beaver trapping, he and his Cree companion came across signs of grouse, moose, wolf, hare, beaver, mink, otter and muskrat. At each sign his companion had to make up his mind whether to pursue the animal in question. In the event, the grouse was shot, the moose and wolf were ignored, snares were set for the hare and beaver, and traps for the muskrat and otter.

Does this enculturation model take us any closer to understanding the behaviour of the Cree hunter in the above example? Although in the account the hunter is described as having made a number of decisions—to shoot this animal, pass up another, lay a trap for a third, and so on—the model would imply that in reality, the scope of his autonomy in decision-making is extremely restricted. He is, after all, merely applying a set of decision rules acquired more or less The optimal forager and economic man 31 unselfconsciously from his seniors, and whose prevalence in the society is due not to their perceived efficacy but to the fact that they served his predecessors well, enabling them to bring in the food to support numerous offspring who—following in their fathers’ footsteps— reproduced the same strategic steps in their own hunting activities.

This is not to say that behaviour is completely prescribed, for genuine choices may still have to be made. But they are made within a received strategic framework, they are not about what framework to adopt. NEO-DARWINIAN BIOLOGY AND NEO-CLASSICAL MICROECONOMICS Strangely, however, this view of the human forager as the bearer of evolved cultural propensities that cause behaviour to strain towards the optimum, exists, in the writings of evolutionary ecologists, side by side with a quite different picture.

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Nature and Society: Anthropological Perspectives (European Association of Social Anthropologists) by Philippe Descola, Gisli Palsson


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