Ecology + Anthropology = Ecological Anthropology? Cover Image
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Ecology + Anthropology = Ecological Anthropology?
Ecology + Anthropology = Ecological Anthropology?

Author(s): Balázs Borsos
Subject(s): Anthropology, Human Geography
Published by: Akadémiai Kiadó
Keywords: ecological anthropology; evolutionism; ecosystem concept; ethno-science; spiritual ecology

Summary/Abstract: An attempt is made to summarize the emergence and evolution of a sub-territory in anthropology, namely ecological anthropology. First the name of this discipline is considered, that deals with the interrelationship of culture and nature from cultural ecology to human ecology concluding to ecological anthropology. Here the word ecology appears in an attributive compound suggesting that it is a field of anthropology using ecological concepts as well. The second part of the article provides a brief history of the discipline from the beginnings (determinism, possibilism) through the emergence of the cultural ecology theory by Julian H. Steward and the work of neo-evolutionists (White, Sahlins, Harris), to the most ‘ecological’ investigations of the neo-functionalists (Vayda, Rappaport, Moran) who introduced the use of the category ecosystem in their research. The latter concept is analysed a bit more in details, mainly with the work of Roy Rappaport in the focus. The third part presents the different approaches of the last 30 years, ranging from environmental history up to radical ecology. It emphasizes the importance of ethno-science and cognitive anthropology, which appear in ecological anthropology in the fifties (Conklin) and flourish up today. Finally the process of ‘sacralisation’ of the research in ecological anthropology is outlined, namely the emergence of spiritual ecology and the investigation of traditional ecological knowledge which can help in resources management of the modern world just as well.

  • Issue Year: 62/2017
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 31-52
  • Page Count: 22
  • Language: English