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Nature & Society: Week 3 of notes

by: Sadie Shelton

Nature & Society: Week 3 of notes NR 002 - A

Marketplace > University of Vermont > Environmental Science > NR 002 - A > Nature Society Week 3 of notes
Sadie Shelton

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About this Document

These are lectures from 4 and 5.
Nature & Culture
Adrian Ivakhiv
Class Notes
NR2, NR, NR 002, Nature and Society, UVM, Weekly notes, notes, Lecture, week 3
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This 10 page Class Notes was uploaded by Sadie Shelton on Wednesday February 3, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to NR 002 - A at University of Vermont taught by Adrian Ivakhiv in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 13 views. For similar materials see Nature & Culture in Environmental Science at University of Vermont.


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Date Created: 02/03/16
Tuesday, February 2, 2016 Lecture 4: Human Nature NR 002 Where HGs the “original affluent society”? - Hunter gatherers eat well, work little and have lots of leisure time I. Paleolithic • Alternating glacial & interglacial periods - Last ice age — 80,00-10,000 years ago • Homo sapiens sapiens spreads from Africa - Neanderthals disappear 40,000 years ago? Foragers - Small, egalitarian, nomadic bands 1 Tuesday, February 2, 2016 - Hunted, gathered, fished - Gained detailed knowledge of surroundings - Conflict? —> move! Environmental Record: of Paleolithic hunter-gatherers - Slow population growth • 8-10 million on planet - Extinction of big game mammals • Saber-toothed tiger, cave bears, mammoth, giant bison - Modified environments through fire 2 Tuesday, February 2, 2016 II. Agricultural Societies - Retreat of ice sheets —> opens up new land - Gradual colonization, H-G saturation • restricted mobility, competition, skirmishes • ‘Worthwhile to hang around while that thing grows’ - Sedentarization, transition to cultization & domestication (‘Neolithic revolution’) • 10-12,000 years ago in SW Asia, NE Africa Agriculturalization 1. Shifting cycle 2. Permanent settlements, management of nature (irrigation systems, metal plow) 1. surplus accumulation 2. Division of laboe, social stratification 3. Writing 4. Trade & exchange; conflict & coercion Model of Production = the ecological & socio-structural dynamic shaping relations between society & nature Hunter-gatherers: Kin-ordered — divisions of labor based on age, gender, kinship relations; Agricultualists: Tributary — ‘surplus wealth’ extracted through political or military coercion - Sporadic plunder 3 Tuesday, February 2, 2016 - Long-term exploitive relations between societies or classes (feudalism, slavery) The Gilgamesh Epic - King of Uruk - Ambitious construction plans: needs timber • Slays the “Wild Man” Enkidu - Wall Separating “World” from Chaos outside: Civilization vs Wilderness - Deforestation of the Fertile Crescent Vertical Growth, Hierarchic Order - ‘Centricity,’ hierachy - Theocracy - Astronomy/astrology Dying & Resurrecting Gods - Ritual cannibalism - Scapegoat/sacrifice Values, Worldviews - Veneration of ancestors - Cycle of life, death & rebirth - Control of nature: wilderness and hostile Other\Hierachy, authority, theocracy - Golden Age (Eden) myth - Heros: sacrificial redeemers 4 Tuesday, February 2, 2016 Environmental Record — of Neolithic agricultural societies - “Us” vs “them” • Early: mosaic of habitats • Later: degradation of sounds, waters, forests, pasture lands; deforestation & habitat transformation; extinctions • “Biological imperialism” - Towns, cities, mining • Waste, pollution, spread of diseases - Population growth 5 Tuesday, February 2, 2016 Paleolothic Neolithic Practices Practices - - Hunting & Gathering Domestication, culticvation; villages, - Nomadism (horizontal movement) walled cities - Shamanism - Vertical growth - Kin-ordered mode of production - Specialization - Tributary mode of production Ideas and Values Ideas and Values - Human-animal relatedness - Kinship w/ domesticates - (totemism, animalism) Fertility, life-death-rebirth cycle, - Fertility, energy, potency sacrifice (reciprocity), shepherd/ - Storied landscape — world as authority complex “home” - Civilization vs wilderness conflict III. Pastoralist - Livestock herders - Lived amidst/between settled farming societies (uneasy relationship) - More mobile, flexible social organization Conclusions: Humans & nature Overall Historical Pattern - Horizontal spread - Vertical intensification • Techno-economic (agriculture, industrialization) + social (hierarchy) Humans Are: - Highly adaptive • Have developed diverse socio-ecological systems - Highly social & culturally dependent • Concerned w/ social relations (conflict, cooperation, accommodation • Societies are “glued together” by cultural ideas & practices 6 Tuesday, February 2, 2016 - More complex stratified society —> more difficult to change? • More vested interest in the way things are 7 Wednesday, February 3, 2016 Lecture 5: Human Nature, Institutions & Management of the Commons NR 002 Human Nature, Take 1 - Humans are naturally greedy, pursuing short term self interest - The Problem: depletion of resources - The solution: • A benevolent dictator • Develop incentives that would satisfy short term self interest while leading to conservation of resources Human Nature, Take 2 - Humans are naturally cooperative; we are social, live in groups, help each other out - The problem: Modern/capitalist society promotes individual & competition with depletes social solidarity - The solution: Transform society through a cultural (consciousness raising) or political movement Human Nature, Take 3 - Humans have the propensity to be altruists (social) and egoists (self interested). We cooperate or compete depending on the costs & the rewards - We develop societies which make it more or less convenient and beneficial to cooperate or compete, & to plan and act in short or long term interest - To the extent that a society generates loyalty - The Problem: collective interest (global sustainability) is no longer commensurate w/ social affiliations - The Solution: Develop ways tot harmonize individual interests w/ ecologically 1 Wednesday, February 3, 2016 Other Features of Human Nature - Humans respond much more readily to immediately evident stimuli than to invisible and slow motion disasters - Humans make judgements based on initial impressions and cognitive simplifications - Humans hake decisions of individual “buy-ins” 2 Solutions to the Commons - Restriction - Privatisation Communal Properties - Can work under right conditions • Initial trust • Users depend on resource • Resource monitorable The Evidence & Logic of Collective Action - Most commons properties are owned by corporations —> “Tragedies of the commons” are actually “tragedies of enclosure” which occurs once the shared responsibility Challenges of Global Commons - Scaling up - Cultural diversity - Complications of interlinked common pool resources - Accelerating rates of change - Requirement of unanimous agreement Developing Institutions for ‘adaptive management’ of common-pool resources - What’s needed? • Clearly defined boundaries 2 Wednesday, February 3, 2016 • Reliable information • Reliable info flow • Effective rules • Participatory process, multiple power centeres 3


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