alain testart

alain testart.png

[image]

intro’d to Alain while taking in David Graeber & David Wengrow talk from mar 2018 – Slavery and Its Rejection Among Foragers on the Pacific Coast of North America: A Case of Schismogenesis?

schismogenesis: creation of division – In his 1936 book Naven, Bateson defined schismogenesis as “a process of differentiation in the norms of individual behaviour resulting from cumulative interaction between individuals” (p. 175).

gregory

[https://www.college-de-france.fr/site/philippe-descola/seminar-2018-03-22-10h00.htm]

1:07 – (philippe descola) – ineq not on shift to agri but on stockpiling/accumulation.. whether thru agri or foraging.. the control of the stock becomes the central point precisely not interpreted in terms of the immediate ecological analysis.. but the point to understanding the emergence of social control/protection

yes that

referencing alain testart

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alain_Testart

The opposition Gathering / Storage

His book The Hunter-Gatherers, or the Origins of Social Inequalities (1982)  rapidly became a classic among prehistorians. It revisits the classical opposition between hunter–gatherers and agriculturalists (or horticulturalists).

http://www.alaintestart.com/UK/documents/storage.pdf

This opposition was accepted as valid in both ethnology and prehistoric archeology, as was the notion of the “neolithic revolution” earlier advanced by V. Gordon Childe: a radical transformation of social and economic structures that was said to mark the transition from an economy of gathering and hunting to one based on the domestication of plants and crops. In his book, Alain Testart points out that more than half of the hunter–gatherer societies known to ethnology, in fact, share the same characteristics as agricultural societies: a sedentary society which indicates village life; an increased demographic density (higher than neighboring agriculturalists); significant hierarchies, including slavery and the differentiation in social strata such as nobles and commoners. These are typically the American Indians of the Pacific coast, of California and the peoples of Southeastern Siberia. These peoples, who only exploit wild (undomesticated) food resources like salmon, acorns etc., collect them in large quantities during the season of abundance and store them in order to provide for sufficient foodstuffs during the remainder of the year. These hunter–gatherers live on their stored food just as the agriculturalists live on the reserves of grain they keep in their barns or silos.

..He proposes to substitute the classic opposition of hunter – gatherers and agriculturalists with a more general classification, depending on whether or not their economies rely on the large scale stockpiling of a seasonal, basic food resources. .. one finds an evolution which diverges, resulting, in one case, in food-storing hunter-gatherers, who remain unchanged into the 19th century and, in the other case, in agriculturalists, some of whom came to develop into very different forms of society.

1:08 – w: yes.. i can see that .. but at the same time i find it very hard to envisage.. how a situation of endemic raiding between relatively small scale foraging groups could ever have produced a farming economy.. because you never have the kind of stability that would lead to incremental return on investments.. which is implied by agri.. so i think the point (testart) makes that really interested me was actually about another schismogenetic possibility (which is something we’re working on) .. testart made a fascinating observation in the 80s which seems to have been completely ignored (anglaphone lit) and he seems to have worked quite a lot w archeologists.. and we’re certainly aware of head-taking and head-focused rituals and skull poachings .. he said ritual wasn’t necessarily meaning they were doing that violence.. what would be interesting is to see if there was that (violence) in contemporary foraging societies.. which increasingly i think might be the case.. so once again you could have rituals which are really about the care of the head juxtaposed to something which is .. it’s just a theory we’re playing with

1:11 – g: one theory .. seems almost reverse.. rather than agri leading to ie: class structures.. you have something like a stratified society already emerging.. and it’s quite possible that the agri people are just sort of running away from that.. 1st agri more egalitarian esp women

1:12 – g: and one of the most cogent signs of this you can actually see is their attitudes toward heads.. just seems like there’s a lot of severed heads/sacrifice.. and at same time.. carefully nurturing heads of ancestors

w: what testart seems to have done is make the pre historians confront this increasingly compelling evidence for extremely violent raiding and slave holding way back into pre history.. it goes back as far as you want to look.. but the scale of it in pre history in europe is really quite striking.. mass burials.. particularly in germany and i think there ‘s a lot of thinking to be done about generally the role of slavery.. which is something not much talked about because it seems too hypothetical but the evidence now is so compelling in terms of body mutilation .. mass burial.. and evidence of warfare

___________

The Significance of Food Storage among Hunter-Gatherers: Residence Patterns, Population Densities, and Social Inequalities (1982)

http://www.alaintestart.com/UK/documents/storage.pdf

I intend to present here a different solution: I will argue that the reason there are two different kinds of food-gathering societies is that there are two radically distinct types of economy. The first, which is found among nomadic hunter-gatherers such as the Bushmen and the Australian Aborigines, is based on the immediate use of food resources. This economy is flexible and relies on multiple alternative strategies. The second, which is found among more sedentary foragersuch as the Northwest Coast and California Indians, is based on large-scale seasonal food storage. In the first part of this paper, I shall point out the conditions underlying the latter type of economy and delineate its consequences for the society as a whole. In the second part, I shall use the cross-cultural codes published by Murdock and others to show how a distinction between storing and nonstoring types of economies may account for the observed differences among hunting-and-gathering societies.

storage econ: 1\ seasonal variation – work then leisure  2\ rigidity – planning plays crucial role – handling/preservation

charcteristiscs:

1\ sedentary way of life

Flannery (1972:28) suggests “that the origin of ‘sedentary life’ had more to do with the installation and maintenance of permanent facilities . .. than it did with agriculture per se.” So does Smith (1976:27-28): “Except under unusual circumstances, when adequate supplies of food are locally available all year round, the degree of sedentism of a community is related to the maintenance of food reserves.” Taylor (1973) considers storage one of the most fundamental aspects of the Neolithic Revolution. On the other hand, the topic of storage has been of little interest to anthropologists concerned with hunter-gatherers

2\ high population density

3\ socioeconomic inequalities

The Neolithic Revolution is believed to have paved the way for civilization, class society, and the state. The basic assumption is always that only agriculture was able to generate a regular economic surplus sufficient to maintain a nonproductive class, such as priests, warriors, bureaucrats, and the like. This idea was clearly stated in Childe’s works (e.g., 1954:41-48) and has since become commonplace. The argument has been taken over by Marxist writers. The key notion is that of surplus product, i.e., production beyond the needs of the producers. Hunter-gatherers, who are said to be perpetually in quest of food, supposedly have no time to produce a surplus. According to this view, it is only with the development of the productive forces brought about by agriculture that the production of a surplus becomes feasible, thereby opening the way for possible control of this surplus by a class of nonproducers and thus giving birth to the exploitation of one man by another and class societies.

one cannot so easily explain why hunting-and-gathering societies are classless, egalitarian, and based on generalized reciprocity. The explanation in terms of surplus definitely has to be replaced by a new one. Moreover, not all hunting-and gathering societies are egalitarian, and this too will have to be accounted for. Northwest Coast societies, for instance, are rank societies, and, although to a lesser extent, stratification or wealth disparities are reported from various groups of hunter gatherers in California and Siberia. It seems that only nomadic hunting-and-gathering societies which do not practice intensive storage are egalitarian, while important social inequalities similar to those exhibited in agricultural societies are present among sedentary, food-storing hunter-gatherer societies.

This preliminary evidence suggests that the relevant factor for the development of inequalities is not the presence or absence of agriculture, but the presence or absence of a storing economy, whether it be hunting-gathering or agricultural. How both a settled way of life and intensive food storing are likely to lead to the emergence of socioeconomic inequalities is what remains to be explained.

this was referenced in d and d talk above by philippe

In the first place, sedentarism is a prerequisite to the accumulation of material goods. While the development of means of transportation makes ownership of material wealth compatible, to a certain extent, with a nomadic way of life, generally speaking hunter-gatherers travel on foot and carry their loads themselves. Thus, wealth is generally limited to light, easily transportable possessions.Apart from the implements, weapons, and tools required for subsistence activities, possessions are mainly confined to clothes or bodily ornaments: belts, headbands, necklaces, armbands, pendants, labrets, and so forth. Other items regarded as precious often pertain to tools even if they have no functional value, such as carefully chipped spearheads or painstakingly polished axes. The incompatibility of nomadism and material wealth has been underlined by Sahlins (1972:11-12). Owen Lattimore’s comment “The pure nomad is the poor nomad,” although referring to pastoralists, applies as well to hunter-gatherers. Sedentarization makes possible the accumulation of an unlimited number of light and portable goods. It also permits the development of heavy and nontransportable equipment for food processing and food storage. The Australian Aborigines leave their large grinding slabs behind when they move, along with small stocks to which they come back in time of need.

while the advantages of accumulating grain are obvious to people in our society, it is a different matter among hunter-gatherers. What can be done with an excess of well-preserved food? ..

Such a development is intimately connected with a tradition of food sharing common among nonstoring hunter-gatherers: the food brought back to the camp by the hunter is totally or partially shared out, thus bringing prestige to the successful hunter. This custom, however, acquires a different meaning when food is stored. Among nonstoring people, the only way excess food can be used is to give it away. Among storing people, on the contrary, it can be individually appropriated by the producer insofar as it can be converted into a lasting product: in this context the prestige tied to a gift of food has an utterly different quality.

We have seen that the accumulation of wealth is made possible by sedentarism, realized by the transformation of food into lasting goods, and rendered potentially unlimited by the exchangeable nature of stored food. This last point is especially important, since only those who have at their disposal an excess can be classified as “rich.” This brings us to economic inequalities. These can only develop with the existence of material goods, but such goods cannot engender a differentiation between rich and poor if they are appropriated by the community as a whole.

commoning

This is generally the case among nomadic hunter gatherers as far as food is concerned: indeed, there is a universal rule which stipulates that the products of hunting and, to a lesser extent, those of gathering must be shared by all members of the community.

The social relations prevailing among people who store food must therefore be radically different if their food reserves are to be privately appropriated.

it is important to underline the total change in mentality brought about by the adoption of food storage.Among nomadic people such as the Bushmen, accumulation or storage has the immoral connotation of hoarding (Lee 1969: 75). In societies in which sharing is the rule, goods must circulate among all members of the group for immediate consumption. Thus the decision to store food implies a change in ideology: a change in customs (the rule of food-sharing has to be either transformed or given up), in attitudes towards other people (less reliance on kinship, affinity, or friendship to secure the future), in attitudes towards time (the past, that is, the goods already accumulated, is of greater consequence than the present for ensuring subsistence), in attitudes towards work (work invested in the means of production, such as storage facilities or stocks, may prove to be of greater importance than present capacity to work), and in attitudes towards nature (people rely more on the results of their own past work than on

Nomadic hunter-gatherers consider storage superfluous insofar as they trust the generosity of nature to supply them with wild resources at any time. Nature is, as Marx said, “their primitive store of foods.” A Dene hunter states: “Whites always have money in the bank. I will never have any. All I can put aside is in nature and it allows me to make a living. This is my bank. This is my savings account” (Berger 1977: 101, translation mine).2

testart storage law:

Thus storage expresses a distrust of nature, and whenever nature is viewed as a divinity whose blessing and unlimited generosity is praised the act of storing is irreverent or sacrilegious at the same time as it constitutes in the social order a transgression of the rule of sharing..t

agri surplus – storage

In addition to a fundamental alteration in ideology and social relations, storage is often, though not always, connected with a tendency towards the development of individual ownership. Where there is individual property, the development of wealth leads to the emergence of economic inequalities. .

h & n property law

Gould (1975: 149-50) opposes the classical hunter-gatherers who enforce the rule of sharing to those who individually appropriate and accumulate resources and goods.

Up to this point, we have assumed that wealth originates only in the work of those who amass it. We now have to discuss what may be viewed as the major source of social inequalities throughout history, i.e., the exploitation of one man by another. We must ask whether or not the presence of a storing economy provides a basis for the emergence of this exploitation.

When consumption is delayed, the products stored acquire a certain distance from the producers, and this distance seems to foreshadow the separation of producer and product that is typical of class societies

The longer the period of conservation, the more opportunities there are to divert the product from its producer: stored food is the primary object of raids, and it may be stolen, monopolized by men of high status, or made the subject of rent or tribute.

The generation of a surplus above the consumption needs of the producers and above the technical prerequisites of production is meaningful onlv if it is aimed at the maintenance of a class of nonproducers

thinking of slavery and david’s ref to

@davidwengrow): Or Amazonian groups where hunting and capturing other people to make them “pets” is a basic way of establishing power relations – my friend Luiz Costa has a great new book on this called “The Owners of Kinship.”

https://www.amazon.com/Owners-Kinship-Asymmetrical-Indigenous-Malinowski/dp/0997367598

Through a comprehensive ethnography of the Kanamari, Luiz Costa shows how this relationship is centered around the bond created between the feeder and the fed.

imagining – if we all were part of the feeding.. so that all are fed (which .. 1\ all aren’t fed today 2\ if all part of feeding.. less feeling obliged to ie: bs jobs .. in order to pay the feeder)

People who are important because of their religious status or their kinship ties will assume the management of the stores, control their utilization by members of the community, preside over their redistribution, orient their use in accordance with their own interests or those of their own group, and justify both the share they appropriate of the communal stores and their poor contribution to it in terms of the importance of their function

Agriculturalists and storing huntergatherers together are neatly in opposition to nonstoring hunter-gatherers.

The conclusion to be drawn is that it is certainly not the presence of agriculture or its absence which is the relevant factor when dealing with such societies, but rather the presence or absence of an economy with intensive storage as its cornerstone..t

agri surplus – storagen- testart storage law

___________

wikipedia small

Alain Testart (Paris, 30 December 1945 – 2 September 2013) was a French social anthropologist, emeritus research director at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Paris and member of the Laboratory for Social Anthropology at the Collège de France. He specialized in primitives societies (like those of the Australian Aborigines and the hunter-gatherers in general) and comparative anthropology. His research themes included: slavery, marriage arrangements, funeral practices, gift and exchange, typology of societies, the political, the evolution of the societies, and questions of interpretation in prehistoric archaeology.

h g 

giftexchange

With his works Alain Testart argued for the autonomy of anthropology as a social science and, against the anti-evolutionism that has dominated social anthropology over the past century, for a sociologically founded evolutionism. With force of arguments he contested naturalist approaches of the evolution of the societies that draw their explanatory models from evolution in biology. Based on a critical review of the foundations of ethnology, in particular of the work of Lewis H. Morgan, Alain Testart has attempted to renew an almost forgotten tradition in ethnological research, basing himself on the data acquired by a century of research in ethnography and prehistoric archaeology.

The opposition Gathering / Storage

His book The Hunter-Gatherers, or the Origins of Social Inequalities (1982) rapidly became a classic among prehistorians. It revisits the classical opposition between hunter–gatherers and agriculturalists (or horticulturalists).

http://www.alaintestart.com/UK/documents/storage.pdf

This opposition was accepted as valid in both ethnology and prehistoric archeology, as was the notion of the “neolithic revolution” earlier advanced by V. Gordon Childe: a radical transformation of social and economic structures that was said to mark the transition from an economy of gathering and hunting to one based on the domestication of plants and crops. In his book, Alain Testart points out that more than half of the hunter–gatherer societies known to ethnology, in fact, share the same characteristics as agricultural societies: a sedentary society which indicates village life; an increased demographic density (higher than neighboring agriculturalists); significant hierarchies, including slavery and the differentiation in social strata such as nobles and commoners. These are typically the American Indians of the Pacific coast, of California and the peoples of Southeastern Siberia. These peoples, who only exploit wild (undomesticated) food resources like salmon, acorns etc., collect them in large quantities during the season of abundance and store them in order to provide for sufficient foodstuffs during the remainder of the year. These hunter–gatherers live on their stored food just as the agriculturalists live on the reserves of grain they keep in their barns or silos.

..He proposes to substitute the classic opposition of hunter – gatherers and agriculturalists with a more general classification, depending on whether or not their economies rely on the large scale stockpiling of a seasonal, basic food resources. .. one finds an evolution which diverges, resulting, in one case, in food-storing hunter-gatherers, who remain unchanged into the 19th century and, in the other case, in agriculturalists, some of whom came to develop into very different forms of society.

[..]

The gift

He uses the same approach to propose a new definition of the gift. The difference between a gift and an exchange does not depend on a gift being returned: the regular exchange of presents is well known. Nor does the distinction depend on whether the reciprocity is expected: gift-giving with selfish motives also exists, giving something in the hope of getting back more in return (for example: the baksheesh). The radical difference between a gift and an exchange is that the gift-giver cannot legitimately claim a counter gift (even when he expects a gift in return, or when this hope is his most important motive), whereas the person who exchanges always has the right to demand compensation. The difference does not depend on the form of payment or on the motives of the actors. Here too it is the juridical aspect that enables us to distinguish both phenomena: the right to demand compensation characterizes the exchange but is absent with the gift. On this basis one can show that the kulawith the Trobriand is not a gift but an exchange: one can compel compensation, by force if necessary. This is clearly not the case with the potlatch of the American Indians of the Pacific coast, which has to be characterized as a series of gifts and counter gifts.

These new theses, that are exposed in their main lines in A Critique of the Gift: Studies on non profit circulation  lead to a reevaluation of the famous theories ofMauss, in particular of his idea of an “obligation to give in return”. Alain Testart reproaches Mauss for not specifying whether the nature of obligation is juridical or only moral and, by consequence, thus obscuring the nature and importance of the gift in history and in society. These theses are currently being widely discussed and debated.

obligation..ness.. there whether or not a gift or exchange

his site: http://www.alaintestart.com/UK/engindex.htm

___________

___________

Advertisements