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Wild things in the north? Hunter-gatherers and the tyranny of the colonial perspective.

Layton, R. and Rowley-Conwy, P. (2013) 'Wild things in the north? Hunter-gatherers and the tyranny of the colonial perspective.', Anthropologie: international journal of human diversity and evolution., 51 (2). pp. 213-230.

Abstract

The paper argues for a synthesis of Darwinian and Marxist theories of evolution. We challenge claims that hunter-gatherer societies evolve via a natural progression from simple to complex, arguing instead that huntergatherer social strategies are adaptations to specifiable ecological conditions, while having emergent consequences that shape the political structure of hunter-gatherer society. We review the various theories of which we make use, and those that we challenge, and test them against data from the ethnographic and archaeological literature on hunter-gatherers, discussing the evidence for variation in technology, mobility, territoriality and egalitarianism versus social inequality. We conclude that human societies do not evolve via a natural progression from simple to complex forms, and that complex hunter-gatherers are not necessarily incipient farmers. Many of the assumptions that colour common views of the development of hunter-gatherer complexity and the appearance of agriculture in prehistoric Europe have their roots, consciously or unconsciously, in nineteenth-century European colonialism.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Special Issue: Theory and method in the prehistoric archaeology of Central Europe.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://puvodni.mzm.cz/Anthropologie/article.php?ID=1515
Record Created:20 Jul 2016 16:05
Last Modified:07 Jun 2018 10:37

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