Resilience of livelihood strategies in small-scale societies: a framework for studying the transition from food gathering to food production

Lancelotti, C., Zurro, D., Whitehouse, N. J. , Kramer, K. L., Madella, M., García-Granero, J. J. and Greaves, R. D. (2016) Resilience of livelihood strategies in small-scale societies: a framework for studying the transition from food gathering to food production. Ecology and Society, 21(4), 8. (doi: 10.5751/ES-08757-210408)

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Abstract

The origins of agriculture and the shift from hunting and gathering to committed agriculture is regarded as one of the major transitions in human history. Archeologists and anthropologists have invested significant efforts in explaining the origins of agriculture. A period of gathering intensification and experimentation and pursuing a mixed economic strategy seems the most plausible explanation for the transition to agriculture and provides an approach to study a process in which several nonlinear processes may have played a role. However, the mechanisms underlying the transition to full agriculture are not completely clear. This is partly due to the nature of the archeological record, which registers a practice only once it has become clearly established. Thus, points of transitions have limited visibility and the mechanisms involved in the process are difficult to untangle. The complexity of such transitions also implies that shifts can be distinctively different in particular environments and under varying historical and social conditions. In this paper we discuss some of the elements involved in the transition to food production within the framework of resilience theory. We propose a theoretical conceptual model in which the resilience of livelihood strategies lies at the intersection of three spheres: the environmental, economical, and social domains. Transitions occur when the rate of change, in one or more of these domains, is so elevated or its magnitude so large that the livelihood system is unable to bounce back to its original state. In this situation, the system moves to an alternative stable state, from one livelihood strategy to another.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Whitehouse, Dr Nicki
Authors: Lancelotti, C., Zurro, D., Whitehouse, N. J., Kramer, K. L., Madella, M., García-Granero, J. J., and Greaves, R. D.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Archaeology
Journal Name:Ecology and Society
Publisher:Resilience Alliance
ISSN:1708-3087
ISSN (Online):1708-3087
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
First Published:First published in Ecology and Society 21(4): 8
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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