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Die Kartierung der räumlichen und sozialen Durchlässigkeit von flexiblen Lokalgruppen

Thomas Widlok
Zeitschrift für Ethnologie
Bd. 124, H. 2 (1999), pp. 281-298
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25842717
Page Count: 18
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Die Kartierung der räumlichen und sozialen Durchlässigkeit von flexiblen Lokalgruppen
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Abstract

There are two trends in recent research which seem to be inherently linked: a growing recognition of the flexibility of social groups and a growing interest in the spatial correlates of social organization. The preoccupation with space seems to have grown at least partly out of the difficulties that arise when flexible social groups need to be described, analysed, and compared. Spatial structures are now no longer regarded as merely reflecting social organization but also as encouraging, requiring or discouraging particular social relationships and particular ways of social practice. This has stimulated the development of new ways of mapping settlements which help to elicit how space provides the medium not only for representing cultural ideas but also for establishing these ideas in people's minds and actions. What is required, therefore, is a method that deals with both, the relative inertia of physical forms and the flexibility of ways in which acting subjects behave meaningfully in spatial structures. This article works towards this aim by converting two-dimensional layout maps into graphical permeability maps. This method is applied to camp layouts recorded among Hai∥om hunter-gatherers in northern Namibia. With the help of permeability maps the apparent diversity of Hai∥om camp layouts is understood as the outcome of transformation processes in which changes to spatial form trigger off changes in social interaction. An extended version of the argument presented here is also available in English (Widlok 1999; im Druck).

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