Alluetain ethnoecology and traditional economy: the procurement and production of plant resources in the northern French Alps
This dissertation is an ethnoecological study of land and botanical resource use in the French northern alpine commune of Les Allues. It is based on at least two years of field research and extensive use of regional archives. The primary goals were two: to reconstruct a detailed description of the agro-pastoral system of subsistence production, with an emphasis on cultivation and gathering, and to demonstrate one manner in which folk knowledge of the environment was applied by alpine peasants toward the goals of procuring or producing botanical resources. By recognizing and defining 20-some folk biotopes, or emic habitat categories, and describing how these categories were "used" to order biotic space in conjunction with 250-some folk botanical taxa, this dissertation describes one aspect of the imbrication between cognitive process (gnosis) and practical action (praxis) in economic behavior. It is suggested that the folk biotope would be a useful concept in analyzing subsistence production in any small-scale society with close ties to the land. Several detailed accounts of Alluetain agricultural strategies were provided as a contribution to regional ethnography.
- Anthropology