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alternative modernity
versions of modernity shaped by local social and cultural forms.
animal domestication
the processing of animal products for use as food, textiles, and tools.
balanced reciprocity
the practice building social relationships through the exchange of gifts of roughly equal value.
a form of social organization associated with gatherer-hunter societies. Bands are relatively small, often around 50 people, ideal for a nomadic or seminomadic lifestyle.
the political domination of another country in the interest of economic exploitation.
commodity fetishism
the association of commodities with magical powers of personal transformation.
basic manipulation of nature, such as the intentional growing of plants.
emphasizing equality and sharing.
extensive horticulture
a form of plant cultivation in which new plots are regularly cleared, prepared with digging sticks or hoes, and fertilized with animal dung, ash, or other natural products.
extensive or shifting cultivation
a horticultural practice in which plots of land are farmed for a period of time, then left to lie fallow as farmers move on to cultivate other plots.
describes a plot of land that is not cultivated for a period of time so that wild vegetation may grow in naturally.
the mode of subsistence in which people rely on resources readily available in their environment. Gathering-hunting peoples collect fruits, nuts, berries, and roots and harvest honey. They also hunt and trap wild animals.
general-purpose money
money that can be exchanged for a wide variety of goods and services.
generalized reciprocity
the practice of sharing without regard for the value of objects or interest in compensation.
the dramatic increase in global processes of production and consumption since the 1970s.
organic matter in soil formed by the decomposition of plants.
a friendship developed through gift exchange, practiced among the Dobe Ju/’hoansi and other San groups of the Kalahari.
the mode of subsistence that uses wage labor, machines, and chemical processes to mass-produce commodities.
intensive agriculture
a form of plant cultivation in which one plot is farmed over and over again using labor-intensive methods such as plowing, terracing, and irrigation.
planting certain species of plants side by side to enhance their health and growth.
institutions that allow for buyers and sellers to meet for the purposes of economic exchange.
mode of subsistence
a way in which people interact with the environment to meet their needs. Each mode of subsistence involves its own forms of knowledge, techniques, technologies, and social organization.
the complex of sociocultural features associated with industrial society.
a medium of exchange, unit of account, and store of value.
monumental architecture
large structures built for public viewing or use, such as pyramids, temples, sports arenas, and coliseums.
the practice of moving frequently in search of resources.
the mode of subsistence associated with the care and use of herd animals.
small-plot farmers incorporated into larger regional economies, often states.
plant domestication
the process of adapting wild plants for human use.
the cultural shift associated with postindustrialism.
a feast in which a trove of gifts is presented by the host chief to the guest chief in order to demonstrate wealth and gain prestige.
physical and psychological harm caused by lack of secure and stable income.
a system whereby goods are collected and stored by a leader and later given out or used for public benefit.
the practice of settling in one place for a period of time, usually a few weeks, then moving to a new site to find fresh resources.
sexual division of labor
the assignment of work based on a person’s sex.
slash and burn
the technique of preparing a new plot by cutting down the trees and shrubs, burning the vegetation to the ground, then tilling the ash into the soil as fertilizer.
special-purpose money
money that is exchanged for specific items or services.
amount of harvest left over after supplying the needs of the household.
time-space compression
the postmodern feeling that time is speeding up and global space is shrinking.
a technique practiced by many pastoralist groups that combines a settled lifestyle with routine movement. Societies that practice transhumance may move between two permanent settlements in an annual cycle. Another transhumance strategy involves most people residing in a settlement and sending a smaller group out to pasture the animals at certain times of the year.
the belief that social systems have operated roughly the same way all over the world at all times past and present.
usufruct rights
rights to use a resource but not to own or sell it.
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