Cultural Anthropology Essay
1. How does a culture’s physical environment shape the type of subsistence pattern they practice? How does subsistence impact a culture’s degree of social stratification? How is the degree of social stratification mirrored in religious systems?
The amount of sunlight and rainfall and the types of soil, forests, and mineral deposits all have an effect on the type of subsistence pattern a particular society develops. For example, In the U.S society people have different choices to obtain their food such as obtain their food from a fast-food restaurant or obtain their food for cooking from a grocery store or supermarket; other societies have different ways to obtain their food supplies. Which lead us to different type of life practices to get food such as people who live close to sea do fishing practices and people who live near to a desert obtain their food by hunting. The specific biome and environmental conditions may limit the development of certain types of subsistence patterns. For example, Arctic conditions are not conducive to agricultural activities, nor are arid regions suitable for rice production. In some societies of wealth, power and prestige are linked with ownership of land or the number of animals acquired.
2. Describe economic exchange among band societies and it purpose. How does this type of exchange change with different societal types and why?
The major form of economic system with band societies is called reciprocal economic system; the system is based on exchanges among family groups as a means of distributing goods and services throughout the society. One of the main reasons for this system of reciprocal exchange is that food and other resources must usually be consumed immediately. There are three types of reciprocity: generalized, balanced, and negative. The most used one among societies is called generalized reciprocity (Own Group), an immediate return is not expected and that the value of the exchanges will balance out in the long run. For example, in our society parents take care of their kids, so you take care of them in their old age.
Another one is balanced reciprocity (Other Groups); this type is more direct with immediate return. For example, in our society change money for someone, such as change a dollar for someone to four quarter to use the snick machine. The last one Negative Reciprocity (Rare), it is the attempt to get something out of nothing. For example, in our societies people who go to the car dealer try to take the car for the cheapest price they can and the dealer try to take more money from the buyer. Both of them are negative reciprocity which means try to get something out of nothing. They do them because it makes the life for them easier and without the sharing between them life would be barder and less pleasant. The greater predictability and concentration of resources within a particular region, the more pronounced the conceptions of private ownership and exclusive rights to territory among foragers in comparison to territorial rights among different hunter-gathers.
3.What are some ways in which the higher degree of mobility affects the technologies, subsistence behaviors, and social organization of pastoralists versus horticulturalists? Higher degree of mobility affects the group to maintain a certain number of people in the group to keep it effective to move to another place. To do so, they use this mean called, Fissioning, moving of people from one group to another. Another means of population control is infanticide, the deliberate abandonment or killing of infants, and geronticide, the killing of old people. Higher degree of mobility also affect the technologies. In this case, technology does not refer to just tools or artifacts, but it also includes the cultural knowledge that has to be maintained by the society.
All foraging peoples have an extensive knowledge of their environmental conditions and of the appropriciate means of solving technological problems in these environments. Different from horticulturalists, foragers need to know where to find the plants, when to find them during different seasons, which plants are edible, and so on since they need to move during different seasons to pursue game and other resources. Inuit created an extremely complex foraging technology. Because of the weather conditions and the environment, they developed sophisticated techniques for curing hides from caribou and seals to make boots, parkas, and snow goggles.
4. Marriage is a human universal. In what forms does marriage exist and why? What is the function of endogamy and exogamy? How do forms of marriage exchange vary and how does each function to serve society?
Marriage provide a systemic form of social mobility for the entire society. Endogamy is a type of marriage between people of the same social group or category. Endogamous marriages are carefully arranged so as to maintain genealogically appropriate kinship bonds and descent relations in the top-ranking descent group. Exogamy is a type of marriage between people of different social group or categories. Having this type of marriage gives significant benefit to the one side of kinship, which does not have as power as the another kinship, because they can share the power once one get married. Most agricultural states practiced some form of marital exchange. The most common type of exchange was dowry- goods and wealth paid by the bride’s family to the groom’s family. Dowry appears to be to the groom’s family exchanges wealth for the bride. The dowry was used as a social exchange between families to arrange a marriage contract.
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