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Transcript
BIOS 5445: Human Ecology
Dr. Stephen Malcolm, Department of Biological Sciences
•  Lecture 2. Approaches
to Human Ecology:
–  Lecture summary:
•  Relevant disciplines.
•  Evolutionary, adaptationist perspective.
•  Philosophical
approaches.
•  Integration.
Femme se promenant dans une foret exotique
Henri Rousseau 1905, Barnes Foundation, PA
Dr. S. Malcolm
BIOS 5445: Human Ecology
Lecture 2: Slide - 1
2. Relevant disciplines:
•  Ecology and Evolution:
–  Processes that generate patterns of distribution and
abundance and their change through time.
•  The ecological theater and the evolutionary play.
•  Anthropology:
–  Natural History of Homo sapiens.
–  Study of human behavioral & biological diversity by both
geography (space) and time.
–  Diversity (variation) and evolution (change).
–  Normal and pathological variability in present and past
• 
• 
• 
• 
Sociology.
Philosophy & Religion.
Economics.
Geography.
Dr. S. Malcolm
BIOS 5445: Human Ecology
Lecture 2: Slide - 2
3. Culture:
•  Set of understandings and learned behavior
patterns shared by people in a society.
•  Learned or acquired (not inherited) rules for
living that include:
–  Group behavior
–  Values
–  Language
–  Technology
–  Unique? - probably not (e.g. parental care).
•  Adaptive.
Dr. S. Malcolm
BIOS 5445: Human Ecology
Lecture 2: Slide - 3
4. Adaptiveness of culture:
•  Good evidence that culture is
adaptive:
–  be fruitful & multiply
– Ethnocentrism is a bit like green beard
selection - but can lead to:
•  Xenophobia - fear of foreigners.
•  Provincialism - inward perspective.
Dr. S. Malcolm
BIOS 5445: Human Ecology
Lecture 2: Slide - 4
5. Ecological Anthropology:
•  Ecology of human populations around
the world.
•  In diverse environments, focus on:
–  Functioning of groups.
–  Persistence of groups.
•  Influence of population ecology on
culture:
–  Cultural traits are a product of environment.
Dr. S. Malcolm
BIOS 5445: Human Ecology
Lecture 2: Slide - 5
6. Role of environment in human ecology:
•  Two philosophical emphases:
–  1. Environmental determinism:
•  Hippocrates - oldest major theoretical approach
to human ecology.
•  Specific environmental features have causal
effect on cultural features.
•  Dominated late Victorian explanations of nonwestern cultural variation.
–  2. Environmental possibilism:
•  Emphasizes primacy of historical events in
creation of cultures through continuous
change over time.
Dr. S. Malcolm
BIOS 5445: Human Ecology
Lecture 2: Slide - 6
7. Environmental determinism (Figure 3-1):
•  Culture areas:
–  Similar environmental regions have similar cultures
•  Evidence from correlations among groups in Polynesia or
Great Plains of America:
–  Western Shoshone, Ute & Northern Paiute all nomadic
foragers before western contact - adaptation to similar
environment.
•  Limitations:
–  Hyperbole, ethnocentrism & one-way causation:
•  Montesquieu - heat of southern lands leads to indolence &
strong sexuality.
•  Huntington - cool temps & stormy weather foster mental
alertness (Europeans & Americans thus have highly
developed civilizations).
Dr. S. Malcolm
BIOS 5445: Human Ecology
Lecture 2: Slide - 7
8. Environmental possibilism (Figure 3-1):
•  More complex cultural causality than simple
determinism.
•  Franz Boas (1896):
–  Cultural complexity unlikely to have simple
causation.
–  Empirical approach emphasized importance of specific
historical events in development of culture.
–  Similarities between cultures generated by historical
connections and not simply environment.
•  Samoans, Tongans & Hawaiians are similar because they
derived from common ancestors & not because of
similar environments.
•  Maoris are also similar but live in a more temperate
environment.
Dr. S. Malcolm
BIOS 5445: Human Ecology
Lecture 2: Slide - 8
9. Cultural ecology (Figure 3-2):
•  Julian Steward in 1930s - strong empiricist.
•  Group subsistence (culture core) strongly related to
group culture:
– 
– 
– 
– 
Foraging.
Pastoralism.
Horticulture.
Intensive agriculture.
•  Two-way interaction between environment and cultural
core is important.
•  Technology also becomes important.
•  Too much emphasis on resource acquisition & largely
ignored environment or other ecological factors.
Dr. S. Malcolm
BIOS 5445: Human Ecology
Lecture 2: Slide - 9
10. Other approaches to human ecology:
•  Sociological:
–  Comparison of human-made and natural
environments and biotic processes (competition
etc.); spatial socioeconomic correlations
(neighborhoods).
•  Psychological:
–  Ecological psychology:
•  Prediction of behavior based on observation and
correlations among similar environments.
–  Environmental psychology:
•  Perception of resources - e.g. overcrowding (density) and
stress.
Dr. S. Malcolm
BIOS 5445: Human Ecology
Lecture 2: Slide - 10
11. Other approaches to human ecology
(continued):
•  Architectural:
–  Influence of artificial physical environments on
social processes & behaviors (e.g. Feng Shui ).
•  Ethnoecology - Linguistic:
–  Use of language to classify - an emic approach.
–  Emic & Etic perspectives:
•  Emic - subjective, insider effort to see world from a
particular perspective.
–  E.g. ethnobotany - analysis of the way cultures use local
plants and identify them (Tzeltal Mayans & Kanam
horticulturalists of New Guinea).
•  Etic - objective, outsider view.
Dr. S. Malcolm
BIOS 5445: Human Ecology
Lecture 2: Slide - 11
12. Other approaches to human ecology
(continued):
•  Biological
–  Role of evolutionary adaptation in development of
cultures.
–  Influence of Charles Darwin.
–  Leslie White - Culture evolved to gather and use
energy for social organization.
•  Effectiveness at energy gathering means dominance.
•  Ignored most historical events as trivial.
–  Julian Steward - Similar but also included historical
events and evolution of complexity.
Dr. S. Malcolm
BIOS 5445: Human Ecology
Lecture 2: Slide - 12
13. Integration:
•  New ecology paradigm - multidisciplinary:
–  New-Ecology paradigm:
•  Reintegrate analysis of cultural adaptation with general
ecological analysis.
•  Emphasis on populations rather than cultures.
•  Focus on environmental problems
•  Ecosystem approach - humans as part of ecosystems.
–  Human population biology and adaptation (from
International Biological Program IBP of the 1960s).
•  Integrates sociocultural & biological approaches.
•  Use of models - heuristic constitutive reductionism.
•  Need for hypothesis generation & testing.
–  Need to avoid inductive (subjective) explanations
and try to be deductive (objective).
Dr. S. Malcolm
BIOS 5445: Human Ecology
Lecture 2: Slide - 13
Figure 3-1: Human ecology theories (a) Environmental
determinism, (b) Environmental possibilism.
Dr. S. Malcolm
BIOS 5445: Human Ecology
Lecture 2: Slide - 14
Hippocrates (460-377 BCE):
•  Greek physician born island
of Cos, Greece
•  On Airs, Water and Places
(400 BCE).
–  Humor Theory
•  Blood, phlegm, yellow bile, black bile.
•  Balance determined personality, health & appearance
(including race):
–  Inhabitants of mountainous, rocky, well-watered country at
high altitude, where the margin of seasonal climatic variation
is wide, will tend to have large-built bodies constitutionally
adapted for courage and endurance, and in such natures there
will be a considerable element of ferocity and brutality.
•  This is also known as Bergman s Rule - larger bodies are
beneficial in colder climates at higher latitudes.
Dr. S. Malcolm
BIOS 5445: Human Ecology
Lecture 2: Slide - 15
Figure 3-2:
•  Cultural ecology
theory:
–  2-way relationship
between environment
& culture.
–  1-way relationship
between culture core
& other aspects of
culture.
Dr. S. Malcolm
BIOS 5445: Human Ecology
Lecture 2: Slide - 16
References:
•  Hippocrates:
http://www2.sjsu.edu/depts/Museum/
hippoc.html
•  Hippocrates: http:classics.mit.edu/
Hippocrates/airwatpl.html
•  Kormondy, E.J., & D.E. Brown. 1998.
Fundamentals of human ecology. Prentice
Hall, NJ. 503 pp.
Dr. S. Malcolm
BIOS 5445: Human Ecology
Lecture 2: Slide - 17