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Socio-Spatial Organization and Decision-Making Processes: Observations from the Chipewyan

Robert Jarvenpa and Hetty Jo Brumbach
American Anthropologist
New Series, Vol. 90, No. 3 (Sep., 1988), pp. 598-618
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/678226
Page Count: 21
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Socio-Spatial Organization and Decision-Making Processes: Observations from the Chipewyan
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Abstract

This article is broadly concerned with the spatial or locational principles governing hunter-gatherer society. Toward this end, the settlement-community hierarchy of the southern Chipewyan Indians is interpreted as a framework for resolving the conflicting advantages and disadvantages of nucleation and dispersion, for regulating information flow, and for maintaining organizational flexibility and options in decision making. Recent ethnoarcheological research reveals a sociospatial organization based on three recurring stages or phases: (1) concentrated summer band, (2) winter staging community, and (3) dispersed winter hunting encampment. Parallels with other Northeastern Athapaskan groups are noted, and the issue of cultural syncretism in sociospatial forms is raised.

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