An Anthropological Analysis of Food-Getting Technology

John Wiley & Sons New York Published In Pages: 1-310
By Oswalt, Wendell H.


In this book, the author conducts a cross-cultural analysis of the complexities of different types of food-getting technology. This book centers around the "technounit" which is a term the author coined meaning a discrete component of a tool, weapon, or other technology. The research in this book is chiefly concerned with measuring technological complexity by counting these technounits. Qualitative analyses and quantitative measurements are conducted for different types of food getting technology including tools, weapons, and facilities, both tended and untended. Additionally, this type of analysis is conducted for different types of exploitative networks in various climates. The author concludes that each type of technology (tools to weapons to facilities) is more complex than the last. Other findings of this analysis are as follows: hunters tend to have more complex technology than farmers, cultures in the desert and tropical climates have less complex technology than those in temperate and arctic climates, and intensive hunters tend to have more complex technology than intensive gatherers. The author also concludes with theoretical notes on human technological production and on the possibilities of this type of cross-cultural research.


While this book is thoroughly cross-cultural, the analysis is generally qualitative and no hypotheses are tested.


Sample Used Coded Data Comment
Unique sample of 36 societiesresearcher's ownthis sample was specifically selected to include a diversity of subsistence types in a variety of climates

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:dmccloskey103 anj.droe