Human Ecology as Human Behavior: Essays in Environmental and Development Anthropology

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Human interaction with the natural environment has a dual character. By turning increasing quantities of natural substances into physical resources, human beings might be said to have freed themselves from the constraints of low-technology survival pressures. However, the process has generated a new dependence on nature in the form of complex “socionatural systems,” as Bennett calls them, in which human society and behavior are so interlocked with the management of the environment that small changes in the ...

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Overview

Human interaction with the natural environment has a dual character. By turning increasing quantities of natural substances into physical resources, human beings might be said to have freed themselves from the constraints of low-technology survival pressures. However, the process has generated a new dependence on nature in the form of complex “socionatural systems,” as Bennett calls them, in which human society and behavior are so interlocked with the management of the environment that small changes in the systems can lead to disaster. Bennett’s essays cover a wide range: from the philosophy of environmentalism to the ecology of economic development; from the human impact on semi-arid lands to the ecology of Japanese forest management. This expanded paperback edition includes a new chapter on the role of anthropology in economic development.

Bennett’s essays exhibit an underlying pessimism: if human behavior toward the physical environment is the distinctive cause of environmental abuse, then reform of current management practices offers only temporary relief; that is, conservationism, like democracy, must be continually reaffirmed. Clearly presented and free of jargon, Human Ecology as Human Behavior will be of interest to anthropologists, economists, and environmentalists.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Human behaviour and its interactions with the natural environment is at the centre of debates over environmental issues. John Bennett’s collection of essays, dating back some thirty years, is a worthy and thorough examination of this topic from an anthropological perspective and makes a strong case for this perspective to be a more influential force in future analytical environ-mental research.”—Tommy Knowland, Environmental Politics
Booknews
Bennett (Distinguished Anthropologist in Residence, Washington U.-St. Louis) discusses our dependence on nature in the form of complex "socionatural systems," in a collection of theoretical essays, field studies of resource management, and literature reviews and field surveys. Of interest to anthropologists, economists, and environmentalists. This expanded edition includes a new chapter on the role of anthropology in economic development. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560000686
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/1/1993
  • Edition description: Expanded ed., 1st pbk. ed
  • Pages: 387

Meet the Author

John W. Bennett (1915-2005) was emeritus professor of anthropology at Washington University, St. Louis. He served as president of the American Ethnological Society and the Society for Applied Anthropology, and was a member of the editorial boards of the Annual Review of Anthropology and Reviews in Anthropology. Among his books are The Ecological Transition: Cultural Anthropology and Human Adaptation, Classic Anthropology: Critical Essays, 1944-1996, and Human Ecology as Human Behavior: Essays in Environmental and Development Anthropology.

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 Underlying Ideas: Ecological Transitions, Socionatural Systems, and Adaptive Behavior 3
2 Anticipation, Adaptation, and the Concept of Culture in Anthropology 23
3 Human Ecology as Human Behavior: A Normative Anthropology of Resource Use and Abuse 45
4 Ecosystems, Resource Conservation, and Anthropological Research 77
5 The Social Ecology of Japanese Forestry Management in the World War II Period 99
6 Ethnographic Research on Allocation and Competition for Land and Water in the Canadian Great Plains 129
7 Social Aspects of Sustainability and Common Property: Lessons from the History of the Hutterian Brethren 165
8 Anthropological Contributions to the Cultural Ecology and Management of Water Resources 203
9 Adaptations by Tribal and Modern Populations to the North American Great Plains and Other Arid and Semiarid Lands 251
10 The Changing Socionatural System of Migratory Pastoralism in Eastern Africa 289
11 Anthropology and Development: The Ambiguous Engagement 323
12 Epilogue: The Rise of Ecophilosophy 353
Index 379
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