components of human society

Essay by richfieldUniversity, Bachelor'sA, March 2014

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I. Adaptive Strategies

A. Yehudi Cohen used the term adaptive strategy to describe a group's system of economic production.

B. Cohen has developed a typology of cultures using this distinction, referring to a relationship between economies and social features, arguing that the most important reason for similarities between unrelated cultures is their possession of a similar adaptive strategy.

II. Foraging

A. Human groups with foraging economies are not ecologically dominant.

B. The primary reason for the continuing survival of foraging economies is the inapplicability of their environmental settings to food production.

C. Correlates of Foraging

1. Band-organization is typical of foraging societies, because its flexibility allows for seasonal adjustments.

2. Members of foraging societies typically are socially mobile, having the ability to affiliate with more than one group during their lifetimes (e.g., through fictive kinship).

3. The typical foraging society gender-based division of labor has women gathering and men hunting and fishing, with gathering contributing more to the group diet.

4. All foraging societies distinguish among their members according to age and gender, but are relatively egalitarian (making only minor distinctions in status) compared to other societal types.

III. Cultivation

A. Horticulture

1. Horticulture is non-intensive plant cultivation, based on the use of simple tools and cyclical, non-continuous use croplands.

2. Slash-and-burn cultivation and shifting cultivation are alternative labels for horticulture.

B. Agriculture

1. Agriculture is cultivation involving the continuous use of cropland, and is more labor-intensive (due to the ancillary needs generated by farm animals and cropland formation) than horticulture.

2. Domesticated animals are commonly used in agriculture, mainly to ease labor and provide manure.

3. Irrigation is one of the agricultural techniques that free cultivation from seasonal domination.

4. Terracing is an agricultural technique which renders land otherwise too steep for...