Download The Power of Feast: from Prehistory to Present by Brian Hayden PDF

By Brian Hayden

During this e-book, Brian Hayden presents the 1st complete, theoretical paintings at the heritage of feasting in pre-industrial societies. As a big barometer of cultural swap, feasting is on the vanguard of theoretical advancements in archaeology. the facility of Feasts chronicles the evolution of the perform from its first perceptible prehistoric presence to trendy business instances. This research explores habitual styles within the dynamics of feasts in addition to linkages to different elements of tradition equivalent to foodstuff, personhood, cognition, strength, politics, and economics. interpreting exact ethnographic and archaeological observations from a large choice of cultures, together with Oceania and Southeast Asia, the Americas, and Eurasia, Hayden illuminates the function of feasts as a useful perception into the social and political buildings of prior societies.

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Extra resources for The Power of Feast: from Prehistory to Present

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Dealing with material correlates of feasting is really more appropriate for an entirely separate volume devoted to the topic. Whereas Michael Dietler and I (Dietler and Hayden 2001:17–18) set ourselves the goal of studying archaeological feasting systems and their associated socioeconomic and political dynamics, dealing with full feasting systems of the past is complex and involved, so that delving into this topic would be unwieldy for the present volume. Elsewhere, I have attempted to develop a methodological framework for studying feasting systems using regional archaeological materials (Hayden 2011b).

In this respect, the use of high-cost foods like meat for political purposes among chimpanzees can be compared to the use by humans of domesticates as feasting foods. As suggested in Chapter 5, early domesticates were high-risk, costly foods that only appear to be produced when normal subsistence was assured, and they were probably used primarily for sociopolitical maneuvering. High-ranking or dominant political positions can, in turn, be used to organize other members of the group to increase the acquisition of specialty foods, as in hunting parties and feasting activities described in Chapters 4 and 6.

When females do obtain meat from hunters, they generally pass their portion on to their offspring. Other studies have shown that, after initial distributions, meat can go to grooming partners, potential mates, and political allies (Mitani and Watts 1999, 2001; Hockings et al. 2007; Gomes and Boesch 2009; Dubuc et al. 2012). Meat sharing may be highly political, as indicated by Nishida’s (Nishida et al. , McGrew 1996; Stanford 2001). In addition to being highly desired, meat is costly to acquire in terms of return for effort, and its distribution can be controlled (due to occurrences of small but divisible, highenergy, concentrated packets; see Melis et al.

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