Social Organization and Adaptation in Alpine Environments Essay examples

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Social Organization and Adaptation in Alpine Environments


Adaptive Strategies in Alpine Environments: Beyond Ecological Particularism, is an article that evaluates the similarities and differences of two alpine environments. The author’s main point of the article is to identify the consistencies of social organization and adaptation throughout communities existing in high altitudes. The mountain chains used to investigate these regularities were the Swiss Alps and the Himalayan Mountains. Along with finding the consistencies of the communities with in the mountains, they also wanted to discover whether adaptation was created though the mountain environment or outside influences. Rhoades and Thompson, through researching these
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In both groups, one can see that material culture evolves due to the demands of an alpine environment. In both areas due to alpine demands, there is a method of migration with in the mountain between valley and pasture. This is done for survival purposes, they must move to wherever the resources are abundant. Continuing with the mountain agriculture another similarity is "the complex rotation of animals over the land for purposes of fertilization". Moving on beyond agriculture is the concept of ownership with in the mountain communities.

In both areas in order to assess the demands of mountain terrain, land ownership is necessary. What is common is that there is individual land ownership, and community ownership of larger forests and pastures at the higher altitudes. This division of land and ownership is an example of how in both groups form specific institutions to provided subsistence in the difficult alpine regions.

Another example that the authors provide to support their theories is that there is a common social organization. "The underlying principle of alpine village government, whether Swiss or Sherpa, is that local authority is vested in the entire population." The authors continue to elaborate on this theory by saying that in order to survive in the harsh conditions of the alpine environment it is necessary to have everyone in the community be involved in the decision making process. The formation of social groups in…

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