ANT.101, WK2, DS1, Gender and Economy
ANT.101, WK2, DS1, Gender and Economy
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Date Created: 11/13/15
Gender and Economy Using Chapters 3 and 4 of the textbook as your guide, discuss the following: The role of women in foraging and horticultural based societies How a woman’s status is impacted by her participation in food procurement How a woman’s status in these societies, compares to that of women in American society today GENDER AND ECONOMY TARASHA H ICKSON-S MITH ANT. 101 WEEK 2 DISCUSSION 1 THE R OLE OFW OMEN IN FORAGING AND HORTICULTURAL B ASED SOCIETIES In foraging and horticultural based societies women play an important role in the nutritional provisioning for the household and even the community. Their jobs were to be the gatherers of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and other staples used to compliment or supplement the meat hunted by the men. The hunting and gathering structure depended on whether the environment in which the tribe or band was located was marginal or not. In a marginal environment hunting for meat was only seasonal or occasional, therefore their main source of food, on a continuous basis was, that of the gardens or vegetation fields. Even the Sans, living in the most marginal environment, went by this method of providing food. According to the text, their diets were 80% dependant on gathered items, which was primarily provided by the women (Nowak & Laird, 2010). W OMEN ’S STATU’ IMPACTED BY PARTICIPATION IN FOOD PROCUREMENT For this very reason most cultures base a woman’s status on their role and participation efforts in food procurement for the household or community. Women are the primary gatherers in nearly all the communities, both tribe and band (Nowak & Laird, 2010). This meant that they were in charge of gathering the fruits, vegetables, herbs, roots and other staples from the vegetation fields or gardens. These materials were either used as a compliment to the hunted meat or as a supplement when meat was not the available. The woman’s status is considered low if her job as a gatherer was considered less important than that of man, who was a hunter. In this case over 50% of the food was provided by the man’s hunting skill and success to provide the meat, which had greater value than that of a woman’s gatherings, equaling less than 50% of the diet. This was sometimes due to an environment having poor vegetation and not having the proper climate for it to survive until harvest time. In other societies, like horticultural societies, where the woman’s status was higher is due to the lesser value placed on hunting during long periods of scarcity. This made the value of the gathered items have a higher value, therefore giving women a higher status than the men. COMPARING THE STATUS OF AMERICAN WOMEN TO WOMEN IN FORAGING SOCIETIES The difference in the status of women in America in contrast to those in foraging and horticultural societies is the provisioning methods. Most American women have a choice in how they provide for their family and do not have this type of heavy responsibility to do heavy physical labor mostly because America is more modernized than the societies of indigenous countries. Just by this difference one could say that American women have a higher status than others, and also have a fair opportunity to gain equal status of their male counterparts. However in other countries women do not have this type of choice and have to depend on other’s to give their methods of provisioning a high or low status based on the importance of their position. In comparison to the American women and the women of the tribes and bands their status could be similar if the value of their talents were viewed closer. Women all over the world are excellent at multi-tasking, while raising children or tending to the household they still find time to excel in their positions to provide for their family. In America women have careers for their main income, and they also develop hobbies that provide supplemental income, making their value and status in society higher. In foraging societies the women have a great value by making use of all the resources around them to help provide food, clothing, shelter, other domestic things needed to enjoy a life of affluence. By using their time wisely and investing in their children, training them to do the same makes them a true necessity to have within the tribe or band. While Americans have greater wants and seek to achieve status harder than they do any other value in life and it diminishes the purpose of gaining such stature. If we as American’s embraced some of the lifestyle changes that the foraging societies live and die by maybe we too can raise our standards and gain the status we desire without overworking ourselves, and neglecting our families in exchange for the bare necessities of life as suggested by Sahlins (1972) (Nowak & Laird, 2010). W ORKS C ITED Nowak, B., & Laird, P. (2010). Band Societies. In CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY (p. Chap. 3). San Diego, California: Bridgepoint Education Inc. Sahlins, M. (1972). Stone age economics. New York: Aldine Week 2 DiscussiShawn Gauthney 7/7/2011 8:28:15 PM A foraging society is a culture of humans that depend on hunting, fishing, and gathering wild foods for subsistence. In a foraging culture people reside in small, self-sufficient, mobile groups called “bands”. Foraging cultures do not acquire ownership or control over resources and there isn’t a difference in wealth. Sharing is the way of life for foraging cultures and the social groups are small. In a foraging culture the people are known as food collectors and travel the land where resources are plentiful. A horticultural society depends mostly on domesticated plants. Horticultural societies still collect wild food and hunt. Horticultural society’s allowed for larger population but less mobility. Horticulturists are food producers and travel less of the land. The role of women in a foraging and horticultural based differ regarding the division of labor. In foraging society women and men both do the gathering of food. Priority of the men is to do the hunting of large animals but women will sometimes bring home small animals. The women process and clean the meat. In a foraging society there is not much difference in division of labor. The women keep the men informed of what animals they encounter and men bring back information about plant food that is ripe or abundant. A woman’s status in these societies differs to that of women in American society today but not by much. Though we may not seem like forager because we get dressed up and go to work every day our lifestyles aren’t much different than that of woman or people that live in that type of society. Where the difference lies is in the methodology as to how American culture hey forage. Woman in American culture forage in super markets, department store and shopping malls not in Forrest, woods, or of the land. Shawn Gauthney Hello Shawn I like the point you made about the comparison of women in our culture and that of foragers. Yes we do gather goods in the stores, while the money is provided by both man and woman to do so. However, the idealistic thought of a traditional American woman was to take care of the home while the man worked and brought home the money for the woman to take care of the family. This was also true for the women of the foraging societies, except they brought home fruits and vegetables and the men brought the meat, as a result the woman’s work had lesser value in both societies (Nowak & Laird, 2010). As we advance, the roles have changed, and equality is on the rise. The foraging women have gained better cultivating knowledge having switched to a horticultural way of life as a means to sustain their way of living, and American women have better education and higher paying jobs to help support their families (Nowak & Laird, Economy, 2010). These changes have put a higher value on the woman and have increased her role in society recognizing her as a leader among leaders. In conclusion, I agree that we are not much different than they and I believe the horticultural societies are most comparative to our society today. W ORKS C ITED Nowak, B., & Laird, P. (2010). Band Societies. In CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY (p. Chap. 3). San Diego, California: Bridgepoint Education Inc. Nowak, B., & Laird, P. (2010). Economy. In CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY (p. chap 4.2). San Diego, California: Brindgepoint Education. Week 2 - DQ Stephen Cashman 7/8/2011 12:35:07 AM The role of women in foraging and horticultural based societies The role that women play in foraging and horticultural societies is important and among foraging cultures, for example, a high value is placed on working together and sharing, as opposed to competing with others to secure individual wealth. Most foraging people live in small, independent communities, which break up and rejoin with different members. Among foragers, there is a continuous movement of goods through kinship ties and residential proximity, which strengthens people's obligations to each other. The obligations to share, and the mobile lifestyle, inhibit the accumulation of individual wealth. No one exercises ownership in the form of access or control over resources; thus, there are no differences in wealth between people. All of these features result in an egalitarian structure in foraging societies. Women typically go gathering as a group enjoying each other's company. A biological division already occurs with women's roles as reproducers and nurturers, and this delineation provides a logical basis for dividing the required tasks. Most typically, among hunters and gatherers, men hunt and women gather. However, sometimes women will bring a small animal home, and sometimes men will bring gathered food. Women also keep men informed of animals they encounter, and men bring home information about plant food that is ripe or abundant. In most cultures, women do not regularly hunt, but there are exceptions. In horticultural societies, the sexual division of labor evolved out of the foraging mode of living. Women's knowledge of plants, of where they grew, of what kinds of soil they liked, what kind of drainage, how much sun or shade, and so on, was greater than men's knowledge, since women were more regularly involved in gathering plants. Men, on the other hand, had greater knowledge of animal behavior, so they became involved in animal domestication. So, in the majority of horticultural societies, we find women playing a central role in cultivation activities. Anthropologists argue that as in foraging societies, women's central role in horticultural production provides them with cultural value and decision–making authority. How a woman’s status is impacted by her participation in food procurement In most cases a community leader is a man, but it could be a woman in certain circumstances. Among San the oldest woman in a community will have as much if not more ability to convince people to move to a particular location based on her knowledge and experience. Vegetation is found in the same place every year, whereas animals are less reliably found in a particular location. Thus, women's knowledge about reliable locations to find food is respected and seriously considered. There is an age hierarchy providing people with varying degrees of status. The older a person is, the more respect he or she receives. Older people have gained more knowledge and experience and therefore can help guide their band. How a woman’s status in these societies, compares to that of women in American society today The status of these societies and how it compares to that of women in American society is pretty similar. With the move of equality in the workplace women are given more opportunities to be in leadership roles. It is also similar that in our society with the age hierarchy respect is given to those who have been experienced in life lessons. Today we see generations of older women who are to be shown greater respect. With age comes a sense of women who have gained more knowledge and experience and therefore can help guide or mentor younger women and others in society. The similarities of giving back are prevalent in both societies. Nowak , B., & Laird, P. (2010). Cultural Relativism. In Cultural Anthropology (p. Chap. 3- 4) San Diego, California: BridgePoint Education Inc. Hello Stephen, You have highlighted some good key points about the woman’s role and value in both cultures. However, you did not mention the American woman, or man not placing much value on marriage in our society, as they do in the foraging and horticultural societies (Nowak & Laird, Band Societies, 2010). Yes we have increased our value, but that is because in most households the woman is taking on the man and the woman’s role in her home, therefore decreasing the value of the man needing to be present to share the work load. The women of the horticultural societies placed pride in their role as gatherers and became experts in that field, but they did not step into the man’s role and try to dominate his hunting role with their increased knowledge and skill. This, I believe, was used as a method of motivation and, as you said, encouraged the men to become domesticators of the animal kingdom in which they called their prey (Nowak & Laird, Economy, 2010). Each society has major respect for the elders of the family, placing the most emphasis on the mothers of the family (Nowak & Laird, Band Societies, 2010). This is mainly because in each of our societies the children spend majority of their time with the mothers of the family. In foraging and horticulture the children went to the fields to gather with their mothers or stayed home with an elder mother if they were too young to work. With most American children the mother would stay home with the young child until school age while the father went to work. During these times they are taught values and traditions mostly from the maternal point-of-view, which makes them an important part of the whole family’s life. W ORKS CITED Nowak, B., & Laird, P. (2010). Band Societies. In CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY (p. Chap. 3). San Diego, California: Bridgepoint Education Inc. Nowak, B., & Laird, P. (2010). Economy. In CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY (p. chap 4.2). San Diego, California: Brindgepoint Education.
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