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by: Mrs. Allen Torphy


Mrs. Allen Torphy
GPA 3.63

Devon Pena

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Devon Pena
Class Notes
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Mrs. Allen Torphy on Wednesday September 9, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to ANTH 210 at University of Washington taught by Devon Pena in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 20 views. For similar materials see /class/192354/anth-210-university-of-washington in anthropology, evolution, sphr at University of Washington.

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Date Created: 09/09/15
The Ecosystems Concept In Anthropology January 10 Briefly the ecosystem concept as developed by Odum includes The ecosystem is a pyramidlike and integrated whole consisting of living organisms the biota and the surrounding physical environment such as the sun water wind climate and topography the abiota The ecosystem is a whole greater than the sum of its parts every thing is connected to everything else This is the principle of interconnection The ecosystem functions according to the laws of physical science This includes the first law of thermodynamics which states that the amount of energy in the universe is constant and you cannot either create or destroy energy It also includes the more important second law of thermodynamics which is the idea of entropy the use or consumption of energy transforms energy into waste or energy that cannot be used by life Natural ecosystems seek dynamic equilibrium or homeostasis Different parts of components of the ecosystem are constantly disturbed or perturbed but the life forms of the ecosystem have developed strategies that allow them to adapt to these changes or pulses in nature The environment seeks balance order and stability as it becomes more mature and complex o This model became known as cybernetic ecology or ecosystems ecology and it shaped much of the work by early ethnoecologists like Conklin and Rappaport It was called cybernetic ecology because Odum focused on the flow of energy in ecosystems and energy as per the emerging science of computing could be described and treated as bits of information Cybernetics also presumes that nature has selfregulating feedback loops that maintain a more or less stable state of equilibrium and order Roy A Rapapport developed among the first applications of ecosystem theory to the study of anthropology He did so by 0 Conducting case studies in New Guinea by developing measurements that gave him data on the flow of energy and materials in the local ecosystem o Like the selfregulating and enclosed ecosystems in Odum s model of nature Rappaport describe the culturally constructed ecosystem as selfregulating and selfenclosed o The Tsembaga culture Rappaport studied used a ritual festival called kaiko to regulate the population of pigs in the ecosystem so as to avoid ecological breakdown The kaiko was like a selfregulating feedback loop 0 Also the Tsembaga did this even if it was not the most efficient use of calories and energy The rituals helped to maintain regulate and control the relationships between the different local groups in another example of a selfregulating feedback loop o All these cultural and ritual practices Rappaport argued had material effects on the environment The Tsembaga regulated the pig populations frequency of war and ratio of people to land through these practices This was yet another example of how a cultural system followed the rules and logic of a natural ecosystem


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