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Ecological Anthropology

Ecological anthropology attempts to understand the relative influence of environment on human societies and how it is used by different societies. The ecological perspective is based on the assumption that constant interplay takes place between man and his environment and these two are not two distinct spheres.

However the ecological perspective in anthropology was expressed by Steward in the 1930s through his most important concept cultural ecology which recognize that environment and culture are not separate spheres but are involved in a dialectic interplay or reciprocal causality.

According to this view sometimes culture plays a more active role and sometimes environment has the upper hand. Steward believes that some domains of a culture have stronger environmental relationships than others and these form the culture core and he insists that ecological analysis could be used to explain cross-cultural similarities only in this culture core.