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Peter Gronn: Early human society hunted, gathered – and worked without 'leaders' | The Independent
There may have been nominal or incipient chiefs and leaders, "sometimes women but usually men" and usually adult heads of households, but these were kept in line by a strict regime of scorn, ridicule, criticism, irony, intimidation, ostracism, disobedience, desertion, expulsion and even killing. A wise hunter with pretentions to lead, therefore would learn to sit quietly with the other men, and "[allow] the blood on his arrow shaft to speak for him". At best, we have evidence here of a rudimentary division of leadership labour. In practice a headman or an informal leader might step forward to make decisions only "as long as the band welcomes him to do so", with bands having a series of such individuals "who come forward when their particular expertise is needed".
SON  state  Leadership  Pol.11  Pol.12  pol.505  Violence_y_Power  Psychology  anthropology 
3 days ago by Jibarosoy
Cultural Constraints on Grammar and Cognition in Pirahã Another Look at the Design Features of Human Language | Current Anthropology: Vol 46, No 4
The Pirah language challenges simplistic application of Hocketts nearly universally accepted design features of human language by showing that some of these features (interchangeability, displacement, and productivity) may be culturally constrained. In particular, Pirah culture constrains communication to nonabstract subjects which fall within the immediate experience of interlocutors. This constraint explains a number of very surprising features of Pirah grammar and culture: the absence of numbers of any kind or a concept of counting and of any terms for quantification, the absence of color terms, the absence of embedding, the simplest pronoun inventory known, the absence of relative tenses, the simplest kinship system yet documented, the absence of creation myths and fiction, the absence of any individual or collective memory of more than two generations past, the absence of drawing or other art and one of the simplest material cultures documented, and the fact that the Pirah are monolingual after more than 200 years of regular contact with Brazilians and the TupiGuaranispeaking Kawahiv.

Wierzbicka writes supportingly of Everett's conclusions; Sapir-Whorf rears its head.
-- Everett's work is supposedly not mainstream.
linguistics  debates  foundations  cultural_transmission  anthropology 
5 days ago by rvenkat
Nick Seaver on Dissecting the Algorithmic Organism
What do you mean by saying “algorithms are multiple”?

Nick Seaver: If we think that algorithms are whatever people say they are, and many people are saying that they’re many different things, then we have an apparent problem: someone’s got to be wrong, right? Not necessarily. In practice, people have different ideas about the systems they’re working with all the time—those definitions and assumptions inform the actions they take, and what you get in the end is a big mess. That mess, where the algorithm simultaneously seems to be many things to many people, is what I mean by it being “multiple.”
anthropology  software-development-is-not-programming  engineering-design  philosophy-of-engineering  have-read  interview 
6 days ago by Vaguery

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