Subsistence Transitions and Social Inequality
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CitationMagnani, Matthew. 2021. Subsistence Transitions and Social Inequality. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation presents a contemporary archaeology of recent and ongoing subsistence transitions amongst the Digiri, a community in southern Kenya. In the last century and a half and heightening through the colonial era, their foraging lifestyle has become increasingly selected against by state and local actors—from adjacent Maasai cattle keepers to British and post-colonial state administrators. Such shifts in food production amongst foraging peoples are typically used by archaeologists to generate analogies to explain behavioral variability and the accumulation of social inequality in the past. To better address local meanings of subsistence transitions and their implications for Digiri marginalization in the present, this thesis instead applies emergent perspectives from contemporary archaeology. The approach reveals how over time, through a mix of local aspirations and external impositions, the Digiri have become increasingly settled and dependent on agro-pastoral products. Focusing on long-term social transformations as they are articulated through the reworking of subsistence, I show how the changing meanings of hunting, herding, farming, and the religious practices used to reduce the uncertainty associated with these ways of making a living, are mobilized by the Digiri to overcome, though sometimes aggravate, their marginalized social positions.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37368204
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