Knowledge, Resources, and Rights

Edited by Ted L. Gragson and Ben G. Blount

Shows that indigenous peoples have much to tell us about their environments and their place in them


"A singularly important contribution to scholarship on human use of the environment, offering a welcome change from much of what passes for cultural anthropology today. The studies represent ethnographic research that is carefully done, methodologically explicit, and engaged with real human behavior and cognition. This volume is a powerful reminder that when freed from the opacity and nihilism of current theological fashions, cultural anthropologists can speak with lucidity to one of the most pressing scholarly and practical concerns of our time—human use of the environment."
—Mark Moberg, author of Myths of Ethnicity and Nation

"A quick read; it is also a worthwhile one. . . . Ethnoecology is a valuable addition to the conversation on issues of social development and environmental change. Sociologists, particularly those interested in ecology, development policy, indigenous communities, and even linguistics, will likely find several of the discussions stimulating and catalysts for their own work."
Contemporary Sociology

Scholars studying the ecology of specific areas often fail to take into account the presence of humans in those environments. People not only are fundamental components of an ecosystem but possess a unique understanding of its nature. This book examines subjects ranging from pastoralism to the use of medicinal plants to show that understanding the knowledge system of any people is essential to understanding their relation to their environment. Using cases from the American Southwest and Pacific Northwest, the Highland Maya Region of Central America, and the Lowland and Andean regions of South America, the contributors examine the relation of humans and environment within the context of each local system’s beliefs, values, and knowledge. All emphasize the practical and cultural significance of indigenous knowledge of the environment and the importance of comparing this knowledge to scientific understanding prior to initiating development or conservation programs. They also contribute to a theoretical approach that allows findings to be applied across studies, regardless of ethnographic differences.

Page count: 184 pp.
Trim size: 6 x 9


List price: $23.95

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Ted L. Gragson is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Georgia. Ben G. Blount is a professor of anthropology at the University of Georgia and the author of Environmental Anthropology.