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The Alaas

Cattle Economy and Environmental Perception of Sedentary Sakhas in Central Yakuti

Csaba Mészáros

Thermokarst depressions in the permafrost environment of Yakutia (northeastern Siberia) provide fertile hayfields for Sakha cattle economy. These areas of open land in the boreal forest are called alaas in Sakha language. At this northern latitude cattle breeding is particularly in demand of nutritious fodder, because cows spend nine months on average in winter stables. Therefore alaases are the focus of Sakha environmental perception. Sakhas not only dwell in alaases, but through their economic activities, they modify and maintain them. This process is based on control and domination rather than on procurement of food by a “giving“ environment. Villagers in Tobuluk (central Yakutia) consider the areas surrounding their village as controlled islands of alaases (hayfields) in a sea of uncontrolled forest. This article examines Sakha environmental perception in which landscapes and cardinal directions evoke and define each other, and characterize those who reside there. Due to the subsequent transformations of Sakha economy and lifestyle by the Soviet and Russian state administration in the last 100 years (collectivization, centralization, and decollectivization) the way that Sakhas interact with their surroundings has transformed radically within the four generations causing profound differences in the way generations relate to, interact with, and understand alaases.

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Ariela Zycherman

al. 2014 ). Simultaneously with this drop in deforestation rates, Brazil increased its GDP by 32 percent (Federal Republic of Brazil 2015) primarily through agricultural intensification, and specifically through cattle ranching and the production of

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Fair Exchange

Utilisation of Working Animals (and Women) in Ancient Mesopotamia and Modern Africa

Jill Goulder

have rather been published as part of an increasing official and NGO-instigated drive to encourage and monitor the use of working donkeys and cattle in developing countries as a more sustainable alternative to mechanisation. Many regions of sub

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Spaces for Transdisciplinary Dialogues on the Relationship between Local Communities and Their Environment

The Case of a Rural Community in the Calchaquí Valley (Salta, Argentina)

Marta Crivos, María Rosa Martínez, Laura Teves, and Carolina Remorini

social articulation ( Garreta and Solá 1993 ). The present economy is based on vast farm production, cattle breeding and domestic farming for self-consumption. Although some people still perform those activities, young people are mainly engaged in other

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Town-State Formations on the Edge of the Kalahari

Social-Cultura Dynamics of Centralization in Northern Tswana Kingdoms

Ørnulf Gulbrandsen

While the people of pre-colonial and colonial societies in Africa often lived in scattered, sparse settlements, the people of the Northern Tswana kingdoms (present-day Botswana) were found in large towns with thousands of residents. This is puzzling in view of their location on the edge of the Kalahari, where such concentrations would normally be least expected. Moreover, while pastoralism is generally considered antithetical to the formation of densely settled populations, cattle have featured centrally in these kingdoms' political economy. Breaking away from ecological determinism, the author argues that the role played by cattle in these societies was mediated through social and political processes that favor both state formation and large, compact settlements. The article is particularly concerned with the centripetal forces vested in the cultural and symbolic wealth of Tswana royal towns.

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Richard Vokes

This article responds to Michael Herzfeld's call for anthropologists to develop a new form of 'reflexive comparison' by imaginatively casting the peoples of the African Great Lakes as part of Melanesia. Specifically, it explores how notions of personhood and sociality in this African setting might be understood through interpretative approaches developed in the New Melanesian Ethnography of the 1970s and 1980s. It finds that this sort of thought experiment yields key insights by focusing analytical attention upon concepts of shared vital substances, upon practices intended to control the flow of these substances, and upon the agency of non-human actors (especially cattle) in shaping these processes. An examination of these features suggests new perspectives on a range of ethnographic 'problems', from condom use to Rwanda's ubuhake cattle exchange.

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Cristina Grasseni

In this article, skilled vision is presented as a capacity acquired in a community of practice that enables specific ways of knowing and acting in the world. The analysis of skilled vision is obtained through the ethnographic study of the artefacts and the routines that structure certain ecologies of practice. The example chosen is that of the skilled gaze of animal breeders, in particular of the children of dairy cow breeders who, by playing with relevant toys and emulating the adult world of cattle fairs and exhibitions, learn how to value certain criteria of animal beauty and to "discipline" their vision accordingly.

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Persistence and Disappearance of Traditional Patrilocality

Matrimonial Strategies and Postnuptial Residence Patterns in Two Eastern Siberian Communities of the Twenty-First Century

Vincent Zvénigorosky, Dariya Nikolaeva, Georgii Romanov, Aisen Solovev, Nikolai Barashkov, Éric Crubézy, Sardana Fedorova, and Christine Keyser

This article describes current matrimonial strategies and residence patterns in two communities in the Sakha Republic. In Tolon, a rural settlement in central Sakha, community exogamy is predominant and patrilocality is detectable in postnuptial residence patterns. In the sub-Arctic town of Khonuu no gendered residence patterns are observed. Khonuu has an airport and serves as a regional capital. In Khonuu matrimonial decisions follow the immigration of men and couples rather than traditional strategies connected with horse- and cattle-based subsistence. This article discusses the possible biological, historical, and cultural reasons that explain the observance or lack of observance of traditional marriage in the contemporary Sakha Republic.

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Calamity Meat and Cows of Abundance

Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Irish Folklore

Patricia Monaghan

Opposition between evidence-based science and improvable religious belief is assumed in Western intellectual tradition. By contrast, Native American theorists argue that religion constitutes part of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), which this paper argues exists in European contexts. Irish tales of changeling cattle encoded vital data for survival in a specific region; such Local Sanctions describe human difficulties that follow ecologically inappropriate actions. Other narratives are Global Warnings, concerning interconnections whose significance transcends individual health to include threats to the health of the planetary system. This paper urges analysis of European folktales and folk rituals as traditional environmental texts.

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Raw liver, singed sheep's head, and boiled stomach pudding

Encounters with traditional Buriat cuisine

Sharon Hudgins

Indigenous to Inner Asia, Buriats are a formerly nomadic people who now reside in southern Siberia, in the areas east and west of Lake Baikal. Although settled members of the Russian Federation, their traditional cuisine reflects their nomadic roots. Milk and meat products - from horses, cattle, sheep, and goats - are still the two main components of the Buriats' diet, supplemented by wild and cultivated plants (primarily hardy grains and root vegetables). Despite living within the dominant Russian culture, some Buriats still retain their shamanistic beliefs and make offerings to deities or spirits when drinking alcohol or eating certain foods. They have also preserved their ritual methods of slaughtering and butchering livestock, as well as traditional ways of processing the meat.