By Mark Q. Sutton
Creation to Cultural Ecology offers a complete dialogue of the background and theoretical foundations of cultural ecology, that includes 9 case stories from worldwide.
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Extra info for Introduction to Cultural Ecology
The landscape concept also has the benefit (again, emphasized by Sauer) of uniting science and humanities (cf. Balée 1998b, 1998c). Not only archaeologists, ecologists, and historians, but also students of traditional art and myth, to say nothing of phenomenological philosophers and poets, all talk about landscape (Ashmore 2004) and can find here a common ground in a thoroughly literal sense. Human ecology profits considerably from such meetings of the minds. ) Postmodernism A fairly new paradigm in contemporary social thought is postmodernism.
Environmental determinism is attractive due to its simplicity, but there are obvious problems with the approach. The first is the belief that the environment and the life within it is fixed and unchanging, a view held for thousands of years. This premise is now known to be false, as environments are constantly changing. The second major problem is the depreciation of the role of culture and in the compulsory role of environment. While this second premise seems to have merit in some environments with very few options, most environments contain a variety of alternatives, resulting in a much greater set of possible choices.
In recent years, cultural/political ecology has been increasingly influenced by world systems theory. This theory was developed largely by Immanuel Wallerstein (1976). He began to look seriously at the interconnections of societies around the world—going beyond the simple “rich-poor” and “developed-less developed” contrasts to see how the rise of one society might lead to, or be linked with, the fall of others. ” These last are the countries in between, fairly well off but with much poverty and displaying a contrast of highly developed and much less developed sectors.