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The Ecology of the Barí

Rainforest Horticulturalists of Latin America

By Stephen Beckerman and Roberto Lizarralde

Publication Year: 2013

The first book-length study of the human ecology of the Barí, drawing on more than forty years of field research to examine relations with natural and social environments, reactions to depredations and warfare, and belief in the possibility that a child can have dual paternity.

Published by: University of Texas Press


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-6

Kinship Abbreviations

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pp. vi-7

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pp. vii-xvi

This is not the preface I originally wrote. The manuscript for this book was finished, except for the concluding chapter and a few final entries in the bibliography. The maps had been done and redone. The tables were at last formatted correctly. ...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-26

The Barí are a group of native South Americans who live in the rain forests of Colombia and Venezuela. They are known in Spanish as the Motilón Indians, or simply the Motilones, and their land is sometimes called Motilonia. This book is about them and what the study of their culture has contributed to anthropology. ...

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2. Physical Environment

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pp. 27-60

Many of the particulars of the Barí natural environment derive from two general characteristics of its location: a northern tropical latitude and a landscape marked by mountain ranges on the south and west. From these features descends a string of consequences displaying two patterns, one temporal and one spatial. ...

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3. Social Environment and Ethnohistory

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pp. 61-81

All human groups relate to a natural environment of land and climate, flora and fauna, and to a social environment of other peoples. As described in chapter 2, the natural environment of the Barí seems to have been fairly constant over the last millennium or so. ...

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4. Production

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pp. 82-143

The field of human ecology has been criticized for its excessive emphasis on how populations achieve and/or maintain homeostasis, and the point is in general well taken. Human beings do not as a rule maintain stationary populations, or seek to; history is full of examples of burgeoning populations ...

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5. Protection

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pp. 144-159

Obtaining an adequate, regular supply of nutrients is necessary but not sufficient for the maintenance and reproduction of life. The world is full of dangers—and the tropical rain forest has its share, some of which are illustrated in Tótubi’s biography in chapter 1. Every society owns a set of strategies whereby its members try to protect themselves ...

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6. Reproduction

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pp. 160-211

If it is true that people, like all organisms, take in nutrients and defend themselves from dangers in order to live, in the ultimate biological sense they live in order to reproduce. The Barí, like all peoples, reproduce largely in the context of the peculiar human institution of marriage. ...

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7. Conclusions

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pp. 212-236

After our examination of the ecology of the Barí, concentrating on their practices in production, protection, and reproduction, there remained the task of putting these matters in wider perspective. Several points of views might have been appropriate. The most obvious was ethnographic comparison. ...

Appendix. Additional Data on Barí Horticulture

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pp. 237-242


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pp. 243-260


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pp. 261-273

E-ISBN-13: 9780292748200
E-ISBN-10: 0292748205
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292748194
Print-ISBN-10: 0292748191

Page Count: 291
Illustrations: 4 photos, 8 maps, 9 charts/graphs, 20 tables
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 856929562
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Ecology of the Barí

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Motilon Indians -- Agriculture -- Venezuela -- Maracaibo Basin.
  • Motilon Indians -- Venezuela -- Maracaibo Basin -- Social conditions.
  • Indigenous peoples -- Ecology -- Venezuela -- Maracaibo Basin.
  • Rain forest ecology -- Venezuela -- Maracaibo Basin.
  • Traditional ecological knowledge -- Venezuela -- Maracaibo Basin.
  • Maracaibo Basin (Venezuela) -- Environmental conditions.
  • Maracaibo Basin (Venezuela) -- Social life and customs.
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