Sunday, January 18, 2009

Scales of observation in forager studies

From R. Layton's Time and Change: Crisp Snapshots and Fuzzy Trends:

"... while anthropological field studies provide an adequate time scale to explain the mechanisms and proximate causes of human-animal interactions in particular circumstances, archaeological or evolutionary time scales are necessary to explain the long-term processes that brought those conditions about. The emergent properties of an ecological system are generated by the long-term interaction of species. The consequences of such interaction may well not be apparent within the time-span of participant observation, nor could they be understood by simply adding up a series of ethnographic 'snapshots.'" (Layton 2008: 8)


Layton, R. 2008. Time and change: Crisp snapshots and fuzzy trends. In Time and Change: Archaeological and Anthropological Perspectives on the Long-Term in Hunter-Gatherer Societies (ed. by D. Papagianni, R. Layton, and H. Maschner), pp. 1-13. Oxbow Books, Oxford.

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