Society Culture and Environmental Adaptability in Central and South America

Date: Sep, 2001
ODID Working Paper No. 75
Author(s): Laura Rival (QEH)

This paper constitutes an in-depth and comparative review of three recent anthropological studies of environmental adaptability in Central and South America. In an attempt to overcome the dualism of former ecological anthropology, Arizpe, Paz and Velßzquez (1996), Wilbert (1998), and Santos-Graneros and Barclay (1998) bring nature and society into a common framework aimed at understanding human adaptation, as well as the changing relations of human societies to natural environments. The paper discusses the ideas and arguments contained in these three books by focusing on the cultural dimensions of human adaptation to the environment. It then examines the local and global patterns of resource management. The paper concludes with a few remarks on how to link anthropological research on indigenous survival in the context of deforestation and modernization with policy recommendations.

ODID Author(s)