Human Geography

Download Mappae Mundi: Humans and their Habitats in a Long-Term by Johan Goudsblom, Bert de Vries PDF

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By Johan Goudsblom, Bert de Vries

The interplay among people and their common atmosphere this day is unheard of in its scope and complexity, and up to date scholarly study attests to the necessity for a multidisciplinary method of absolutely research it. Mappae Mundi solutions this demand a scholarly synthesis, illuminating dominant social traits affecting the connection among human societies and the environment.Contributors talk about this courting, and research numerous diverse chances for the long run. Mappae Mundi will entice social scientists or a person drawn to the present and destiny results of our interplay with the usual atmosphere.

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Extra info for Mappae Mundi: Humans and their Habitats in a Long-Term Socio-Ecological Perspective: Myths, Maps and Models

Sample text

Again, Chapter 4 reports some impressive recent evidence on these issues. 2. Continuities The initial transition from gathering and hunting to agriculture and animal husbandry was not necessarily abrupt. A group that started to cultivate a few crops would not have to give up its older ways altogether. There would have been very few, if any, agrarian societies from which gathering and hunting disappeared completely at once. However, the proportion of products acquired in the older way inevitably diminished as agriculture and animal husbandry advanced.

While the original functions of the hearth were primarily turned inwards (‘centripetal’), the torch was a more outwardly directed (‘centrifugal’) implement. It was used not only to provide light at night, but also to set fire to shrubs and grasses by day – an effective way to destroy obstacles for foraging and to rout animals, both predators and prey. The torch undoubtedly contributed to deforestation: wood was burned wholesale, regardless of its possible value as timber or fuel. In the age of agriculture, the torch was used for slash-and-burn and other land-clearing techniques and it served as the model for a whole array of fire weapons culminating in our own time in rocket-propelled missiles.

Altogether the process of stratification in advanced agrarian societies amounted to a form of differentiation, resembling the primal differentiation in behaviour, power and habitus between humans and related species in the animal world. The crucial difference was that differentiation now took place between and within human groups themselves. One result of social stratification was the relative decline in the esteem of ecological regimes. As elite groups became further divorced from the work of tilling the land, the aspects of social life directly related to the control of the natural environment were relegated to peasants and slaves and their overseers – in other words, to the lower orders.

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