Modern Conjunctures

Discussing the Distinctions between social groups

In the course of time, people have been searching for techniques and approaches to adjust to geographical, social, and cultural environment in the past and in the modern contexts. Gradual development of social and culturally different groups and nations, however, is not predetermined by a biological evolution, or by unequal conditions for the civilization development.

In this respect, Brody distinguishes between two social groups – hunters-gatherers and farmers – that were formed irrespectively of each other due to the certain historical and social conditions (14).

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Hence, the author states that farmers are more mobile, restless, nomadic, and expansive in comparison with hunter-gathers who prefer to stay on a more secure, home territory (Brody 114).

The difference between agricultural societies and hunter-gathers societies also lies in temporal characteristics and the level of technological penetrations (Gonzalez 3). In particular, farmers are more developed in technological terms because they should work out strategies for increasing productivity and advancing farming practices.

However, Gonzalez emphasizes that original farmers who lived on the territory of the North American were more inclined to use ecology-friendly techniques to sustain traditional modes of farming and agriculture (27).

In discussing the differences between farmers and hunter-gatherers, Evans-Pritchard outlines two distinguishing criteria that identify the Nuer tribes: political system and ecology (47). In particular, hunter-gathers do not have particular organizational structure and subordination; instead, their political order is more close to anarchy. In ecological terms, the hunters and farmer can be classified in accordance with spatial discontinuity.

In contrast, Pollan speaks about farmers and foragers through their attitude to plant and animals (123). In particular, farmers considered corn not only as the food, but as the good that can be sold. Therefore, there were mode focused on advancing their technologies and increasing yield. In their turn, foragers were less developed in these terms because they correlated food with culture and spirituality.

While examining the elements of Nuer culture as compared with contemporary communities originating from the immigration, Holtzman emphasizes that the Nuer life is closely connected with the waves of immigrations to the United States and explains that hunter-gatherers are more attached to traditions, kin relations, and culture (42). They had little interest in technologies and other techniques because their values were not based on materialistic objects, but on the spiritual development.

Social and Historical Forces That Are Responsible For These Modes of Life in the Recent Past

Considering social factors affecting the formation of the farmers and hunter-gatherers, mostly all humans were hunter-gatherers over the years. However, this mode of life gradually altered due to the rise of agriculture that developed in societies. Paradoxically, despite of their chaotic structures, these groups are often united on the basis of kinship and tribe membership.

Brody also emphasizes that hunter-gatherer tribes have a distinct division of labor on a gender basic (2). In this regard the nomadic groups of the past are closely associated with the migration process in the contemporary societies.

Hence, the waves of immigrations predetermined by political and social processes made people change their modes of lives and choose a hunter-gatherer style of living (Pollan 24). The social and economical instability, therefore, played a decisive role in forming the groups (Gonzalez 103).

The analysis of historic precondition distinctly reveals the evolution of farmers and hunters where the conventional strategies applied to agriculture have been gradually replaced by modern industrial farming (Gonzalez 172).

Social and Historical Forces As Presented in the Current Situation

Identifying the group: historical and social influences

The migration processes in the twentieth century caused significant shifts in the lives of the American people and immigrations. Blend of cultures and traditions, therefore, have made both groups change heir lives and outlooks on the current situation. I would like to present the migration process in the United States and how the waves of migration influence political environment and modes of life of different groups, which are the brightest examples of modern conjunctures.

It is possible to assume that migration paths are closely connected with group’s motivations and goals to explore other lands and possibilities. Therefore, those people who migrate to the United State were less concerned with economic and social conditions, but were guided by the possibility to innovate.

Providing connection between the past and the present.

The migrating groups debunk the myth about historical and social predetermination of the group affiliation either to farming or to foraging communities. Hence, the facts that the migrating groups derive from the agricultural societies does not guarantee that they could change their farming orientation.

Hence, the migration of the African tribes to the United States pushed them to the marginal areas proves that these groups with a deep historic of hunting and gathering can be simply converted in an agricultural society. Such process can also be called as the second Neolithic revolution, the transition from foragers to farmers.

Such a conversion is predetermined by necessity to adjust to the new mode of living. From migrated groups from Africa, agriculture and farming was the only means for survival; it also provided a favorable ground for adjusting to alien culture and tradition and for meeting the needs of a new social and political environment.

Works Cited

Brody, Hugh. The Other Side of Eden: Hunters, Farmers, and the Shaping of the World. New York: North Point Press, 2001. Print.

Evans-Pitchard, E. E.. The Nuer: A Description of the Modes of Livelihood and Political Instituions of a Nilotic People. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1940. Print.

Gonzalez, Roberto Jesus. Zapotec Science: Farming and Food in the Northern Sierra of Oaxaca. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001. Print.

Holtzman, Jom. Nuer Journeys, Nuer Lives. Needham Heights: Allyn & Bacon, 2000. Print.

Pollan, Michael. The Omnovore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. New York: Penguin Press, 2006. Print.

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