Collectively referred to as primitive peoples are traditional oriented ethnic groups of the present and all the historical life associations referred to the outside or to the date of the industrialized civilization live or lived. The more detailed definition and use of the designation depends on the respective context:
- Current ethnology has distanced itself from the original technical term because it is now viewed as outdated , inconsistent or pejorative . In the later 19th century, the term was to distinguish the supposedly superior, European "civilized nations" of " primitive " peoples used (see also: Eurocentrism ) . In the 20th century, some authors tried to establish indigenous people without pejorative connotation as a collective term for traditionally subsistence-oriented hunters and gatherers , field farmers and nomads . The earlier association with "cultureless peoples" was never completely overcome.
- As a conventional generic term for “non-industrialized groups of people in remote wilderness regions with nature-related supply strategies ”, the term continues to be used outside of ethnological science. This ecological-economic determining component plays the decisive role in the majority of today's uses (see: "Natural people" as a popular name ) .
Primitive people were originally a culturally critical term of the European Enlightenment. The word creation is attributed to Herder , lexically it is first documented in 1777. The basic ideas for this come from Rousseau and other thought leaders of the Enlightenment. The civilization of the 18th century was thus countered with a counter-image of man in his original natural state .
The word "Naturvolk" occurs in the German-speaking area, in the Dutch and Scandinavian-speaking areas (Natuurvolk, Naturfolk), as well as in the form of Naturmenschen ( Naturels ) in the French language. Originally there was no equivalent in English.
In English-speaking countries, the term exists in ecology and anthropology since 1976 "ecosystem people" ( ecosystem-people ) , which refers to all ethnic groups who live in traditional subsistence way limited by the resources of one or less adjacent ecosystems. This definition includes the conventionally so-called "primitive peoples" . Only the vague restriction to remote wilderness areas is missing. The German Advisory Council on Global Change set the "so-called. Primitive peoples ”are the same as the ecosystem people. However, the new term has not yet established itself in German literature.
The two uncritical terms ethnicity or indigenous peoples (French peuples autochtones ) are used as a popular substitute for the controversial term natural people . However, these terms are not suitable for a differentiated designation with reference to people's way of life , as they are too general and therefore misleading or even wrong. In addition, various alternative names for non-industrial groups have been developed, which are used depending on the subject-specific context (ethnology, sociology, politics, human rights, ecology).
The term "primitive people" in the ethnological context
In the early days, the "primitive peoples" were the research subject of ethnology, but contemporary ethnologists have largely distanced themselves from this term.
The opposing pair of terms ( dichotomy ) nature ↔ culture , which is central to categorical thinking , suggests the opposition primitive ↔ cultured people , which has also promoted misconceptions: There are neither cultureless peoples nor peoples more or less dependent on nature. Already Herder and Voltaire , who in the wake of the work La Araucana ( "The Araukanerin") by Alonso de Ercilla was, made front against the idea of a solipsistic raw and predatory nature man who even Kant and Hegel were inferior: Even in its natural state man has language, hence reason, education and tradition. The title of the work Die Kultur der Kulturlosen by Karl Weule (1910) alluded to this obvious contradiction .
The career of the conceptual pair nature / culture coincides with the processing of the experience of difference and foreignness through the development of ethnology and ethnic psychology in Germany, represented by the philosopher Franz Theodor Waitz and the geographer Moritz Ludwig Frankenheim . Frankenheim distinguishes three different stages of development of peoples on the way to humanity, from the pure self-preservation of indigenous peoples through the development of spiritual striving among civilized peoples to a class of people only beginning to exist who develop an idea of the unity of the human race. Waitz arrives at his type of the natural man through abstraction from culture and analogies to an “uneducated”, egoistic child. Starting from this state, there are different levels of education with no fixed boundaries between them.
Even more recent evolutionist approaches saw less highly developed cultures in primitive peoples. One saw the dependence of indigenous peoples on regional resources and the lower regional dependence of modern industrial societies. However, if one considers newer forms of dependence on nature such as environmental disasters (climate change, ozone hole, acidification of the seas), this criterion of higher development seems questionable. Dependence on nature is therefore not a good criterion for higher development and cannot accurately distinguish indigenous peoples from industrial societies.
The decisive breakthrough came in 1871 with the publication Primitive Cultures by Edward Tylor , who draws attention to the fact that the civilized peoples are opposed to a plurality of cultures of the so-called indigenous peoples, who without exception have institutions that integrate culture.
Each of the repeated attempts to save the term has been criticized over time as discriminatory or misleading.
The analogous term “Les Naturels” (The “Naturals” ) is seen as problematic in France. There is no English translation for “Naturvolk” and “Les Naturels”. In the English-speaking world, however, there is also a variety of terms with, in some cases, similarly unfortunate names such as “Natives” , “First Nations” , “Tribal Peoples” (tribal peoples) or “ Aborigines ” (indigenous people). The term “ecosystem people” has recently been introduced in the USA , which roughly corresponds to the conventional meaning of the term primitive people .
Primitive people or indigenous people?
Today in ethnology and in other disciplines, the environmental movement or human rights , the general term "indigenous peoples" is often used for the lack of a concise alternative, even for traditional population groups whose way of life is very closely intertwined with their natural environment. However, this is also incorrect, because "indigenous" is a political category defined under international law that does not allow any conclusions to be drawn about the aforementioned way of life. A large number of the indigenous people today have a western lifestyle . In addition, the term “indigenous” is sometimes incorrect in this context, for example for the Brazilian quilombolas - descendants of African slaves - or for many traditionally living ethnic groups in Africa who are not minorities in their countries and therefore not indigenous according to the current definition should be considered.
Primitive people at the time of the Enlightenment
The term natural people comes from the Age of Enlightenment and is found for the first time in 1777 in Johann Christoph Adelung's dictionary . According to two well-known sources, the word creation is generally attributed to Johann Gottfried Herder , who used it only once in 1774 in the sentence "Also all primitive peoples that we call savages [...]". He used the synonymous term natural man in three places. Since the term is extremely poorly represented in German literature of the Enlightenment period, according to Hans Plischke , a takeover from French could also be conceivable: after Jean-Jacques Rousseau's les naturels .
"The primitive people [...] a people living in the state of nature, without a noticeable bourgeois constitution, such peoples and people are commonly called savages."
The background to this concept formation was the criticism of civilization of the 18th century, which found an ideal counter-image to the present in the indigenous peoples: The life of our ancestors was still free of artificiality and social inequality, knew neither property nor determined work. This counter-image criticized, on the one hand, the perceived contemporary decadence and, on the other hand, the negative view of the natural state of the natural law theorists Hobbes and Pufendorf . According to Hobbes, the initial state of mankind was a miserable, hateful, and desolate life that had to be left as quickly as possible in order to find a regular bourgeois life; for Pufendorf reliable peace beyond the circle of close relatives was not guaranteed in the natural state. For Rousseau, on the other hand, bourgeois man was the depraved (increasingly depraved) man who lived against nature. While the “wild person” only breathes “peace and freedom”, the citizen is “always active, sweating, rushing incessantly in order to secure even more arduous occupations; he works until death ... "
The terms “native people” and “natural state” express a dissatisfaction with the civilized state and a feeling that mankind has seen better days before. And “this attitude”, writes Rousseau “would be an eulogy of your ancestors, a criticism of your contemporaries”. In doing so, on the basis of his insight into the historicity of man, he reflects on the question of which world he was actually created for. What we take for granted today was tried for the first time back then: the answer to the question about the beginning of mankind is not sought in myths or the Bible, but in the historical evolution of our ancestors from their early life as hunters or field hunters.
In the 18th century, the Caribs , a widespread Indian people, were generally regarded as an example of the life of indigenous peoples in their natural state .
The ideas of the Enlightenment triggered a reassessment of the indigenous peoples. Until then, their assessment and the way they were dealt with were determined by colonialism and proselytizing . Rousseau is not an ethnologist, his writings are full of prejudices and arrogant attitudes. Nevertheless, his design was a historically significant attempt to come to a more appreciative assessment of our ancestors. A new research interest in these peoples arose, the ground for the following ethnology was prepared. Claude Lévi-Strauss could therefore say of Rousseau: "He is the father of all of us."
Ethnology and Evolutionist Theories
With the works “Völkerkunde” (1852) by Moritz Ludwig Frankenheim and “Anthropologie der Naturvölker” (1859–1872) by Theodor Waitz , the designation was introduced as a generally recognized technical term in German ethnology. While Frankenheim - ahead of its time - placed the emphasis on nature dependence, Waitz made the alleged lack of culture an essential characteristic. Nonetheless, he also included so-called “high cultures” such as the Aztecs, Maya and Inca. Even then it became clear how misleading this designation is.
In the course of the 19th century, under the influence of social Darwinism and imperialism , this meaning changed to an understanding that is viewed as derogatory in modern ethnology . "Primitive peoples" became the concept of racial theory and human biologists tried to empirically prove the alleged lower evolutionary level of development using physical characteristics . As late as 1908, Meyer's Konversationslexikon said:
“In contrast to civilized peoples, indigenous peoples are the deeper, primitive layer of humanity. A sharp separation of the two strata is not possible, since the civilized peoples are composed of very differently gifted individuals [...]. Physical differences are hardly taken into account, but even more spiritual ones. The inclination to work and mostly also to progress is generally inherited by members of the civilized peoples as a kind of brain disposition that is absent in the indigenous peoples who progress slowly or not at all and are satisfied with their condition. "
However, as early as the 19th century there were repeatedly voices who doubted this position. The geographer Friedrich Ratzel wrote in 1885: "Primitive peoples are poorly cultured peoples, and peoples of any race, of any degree of natural endowment can either not have advanced to culture or have declined in culture." In the Brockhaus Lexikon of 1932 the recommendation was to prefer the term "people without writing".
Adaptation to nature
After the Second World War , there were signs of a change to a generally more positive interpretation, for example in 1947 the Swiss lexicon already spoke of "adaptation to nature" and no longer of "dependence".
However, the formulation in this sense, which the German sociologist Wilhelm Emil Mühlmann created in 1964, again has a disparaging note: "Primitive peoples" can be retained as a conventionalized general term if one understands by it a way of life, an ecological type of people, whose technical -civilizational means are so weak that they force a still highly passive adaptation to the given, natural-environmental conditions. "
For the 5th volume of the Westermann-Lexikon der Geographie , published in 1968 , Waldemar Stöhr wrote a detailed discussion of the term primitive people . He already speaks of an “auxiliary term” that should be avoided if possible: “The term natural people is not only vague and blurred, but also inapplicable and contradicting itself, nevertheless it is retained for better or for worse because it has been used so far failed to find a better one. [...] You rarely find it without being enclosed in quotation marks or restricted with a "so-called". "
Until the 1980s, the term was used in ethnology in the sense of "(mostly non-European) peoples with simple political and economic forms of organization and non-industrial technology". Designations or concretizations of the term primitive people used with the same meaning in the 20th century, which are also largely avoided by today's scientists, were primitive, archaic, non-written cultures as well as peoples without history .
The term can no longer be found in the 1982 pocket dictionary of ethnology .
In 1984 the German ethnologist Klaus E. Müller tried to define the term neutrally: “'Primitive peoples' (or 'primitive societies' and similar expressions), [… are] groups that […] at the time of their research on influences from been the modern industrial civilizations still largely unaffected [... are]. "Müller put the focus clearly on the way of life" in the immediate and with nature "and to the Subsistenzweise of people. In this respect, he equates “primitive societies” with wild and field hunters , planters and nomads . This idea coincides with the popular usage , but initially found no consensus in science.
The New Dictionary of Ethnology in 1999 confirmed the final task of designation in ethnology:
" Primitive people is a term originally introduced into ethnology to avoid pejorative terms such as" savage "or" primitive ", but which itself quickly became questionable due to the implicit opposition to civilized people. Since there is actually no culture-less human group, one tried in various conceptual reallocations, e.g. B. Richard Thurnwald's "Peoples of Lesser Mastery of Nature". If, from today's ecological perspective, one uses the consumption of non-renewable energies as a yardstick for the sustainable use of nature, the "primitive peoples" appear as a rule to be much more efficient in the use of resources than "high cultures". The demarcation turns out to be artificial and is based on value decisions. The distinction between civilized and indigenous peoples can no longer be scientifically maintained. "
Today in Germany the term “indigenous culture” is often used, which makes clear the tension between maximum adaptation to nature and highly developed material culture or specialized economic form.
"Natural people" as a popular name
The human rights organization “ Save the Indigenous Peoples ” deliberately opted for the term, which is controversial in specialist circles, because, similar to some popular science books, it is primarily about the recognition of a popular term by the general public.
In rare cases, the terms “ primitive people” or “primitive peoples” are still used as an auxiliary construct in ethnology, placed in quotation marks or marked as misleading by the adjective “so-called”.
In the conventional sense, “primitive people” is a generic term for non-industrialized groups in remote wilderness regions with nature-related subsistence strategies . It is used in the mass media and in popular scientific literature today (in the case of the book “Naturvölker heute” (Bechtermünz, 2000) the title of the original “Traditional Peoples Today” (Harpercollins, 1994) was apparently deliberately incorrectly translated for the German market ).
The current interpretations follow the suggestion of the ethnologist Klaus E. Müller (see: Müller, Conceptual History ) with their clear relation to ecology (“little influenced natural areas”) and economy (“nature-related subsistence” ) . With regard to the conceptual problem of nature / culture, attempts are often made to avoid the association of cultural deficits by emphasizing positive statements, as suggested by the ethnologist Karl-Heinz Kohl .
Most clearly formulated in this context are the entries in the last edition of the Brockhaus Encyclopedia from 2006 and the Brockhaus Pocket Lexicon from 2010: "Smaller cultural communities, mostly outside Europe, which, in contrast to members of industrial societies, are in direct contact with their natural environment, use them systematically and i. d. Handle with care. In accordance with the rules recognized in nature, human behavior receives meaning and structure here. ”Note the connection between“ primitive peoples ”and“ cultural communities ”: The philosophical dispute about the allegedly irreconcilable contrast between“ nature ↔ culture ”is not taken up here. Following this definition, Brockhaus immediately criticizes the name he has chosen, since "a sharp distinction between primitive peoples and other ethnic formations is hardly possible."
The allocation of the so named peoples is very different depending on the source and sometimes appears arbitrary. If statements are made about their number, the estimates are between 70 and 5,000 peoples. This enormous range shows that it has so far not been possible to fill the expression “primitive people” with a clearly definable meaning.
The inconsistency of popular usage is made clear by the different formulations in other reference works: For example, under “Naturvolk” in the online dictionary Wissen.de : “(obsolete) people who inhabit a natural landscape untouched by technical civilization.”. In the same lexicon, under “primitive peoples” (in the plural): “[...] The description of the term is seen as more neutral as peoples who now live in peripheral or retreat areas and have a close relationship to their natural environment. […] ”In the Duden-online , however, a correct term is suggested and even an outdated, pejorative-discriminatory definition is used:“ Noun, neuter - people, tribe who (apart from civilization) live on a primitive level of culture. ”In Meyers Lexicon online stood in 2009: “Primitive peoples, smaller cultural groups, mostly outside of Europe, who, as members of industrial societies, are in direct contact with their natural environment and usually treat them with care. [...] "
The explanation is very detailed in the "Lexicon of Biology" from Spektrum.de, where the term can be found as a synonym for the keyword "Traditional Cultures":
"Traditional cultures or traditional societies is a collective term for cultures [...] or societies with different subsistence strategies without original written culture (writing), which - from the influences of the technical-civilized world (electricity, administration, telecommunications and other achievements of technology ) hardly or not at all influenced - mostly live in small groups and which are also known as primitive peoples because of their natural way of life. [...] "
Even in school books , “primitive peoples” is sometimes still used as an apparently easy to grasp expression. The authors try to cure the conceptual problem by positively emphasizing the knowledge and skills of the so-called people.
Primitive peoples as ecosystem people vs. Biosphere people
The American biologist Raymond Dasmann coined the term “ecosystem people” in 1976 on the occasion of an interdisciplinary exchange between ecologists and anthropologists. He found that there are some essential common characteristics for such different traditional ways of life as those of hunters, pastoral nomads or traditional horticulturists and field farmers:
- Ecosystem people only use the resources of one or a few neighboring ecosystems
- they are used extensively, conserving energy and resources ( sufficient ) and thus sustainable
- the impact on the environment has not had any negative consequences for people's livelihoods for many centuries
- there are various “natural religious” and social practices to maintain this fragile balance.
As a contrast to the ecosystem people, Dasmann coined the term "biosphere people" . These are the societies and cultures that are commonly referred to as civilizations and that have had a completely different relationship to their environment since the emergence of the first advanced cultures :
- the immediately available resources and ecosystems were overexploited to the point of degeneration of their efficiency
- then it was (by necessity) expanded to include neighboring ecosystems - and so on.
Ecosystem people are dependent on intact environmental conditions and feel disruptions in the natural balance immediately. In contrast, Dasmann assumes that biosphere people do not directly perceive environmental damage in distant biotopes and mostly compensate for the reduction in productivity of individual ecosystems in other ways. According to Dasmann, they have "the potential to make the whole earth a paradise or to destroy it."
Biosphere people suffer from a weak communicative memory : Central Europeans consider forests without wolves, bears and aurochs to be just as normal as Sahel residents consider the advance of the Sahara to be. In a few decades with advancing climate change , catastrophic weather events will presumably be regarded as everyday occurrences from today's perspective. In the same way, the traditional knowledge of ecosystem people is lost. Instead, the global community tries to counter environmental problems with the help of new technologies which, despite their scientific basis, are ultimately subject to the principle of “ trial and error ” - just like the centuries-old adaptation processes of traditional survival strategies .
The authors of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Federal Government on Global Change - who have a high scientific power of discussion in Germany - adopted the terminology of Raymond Dasmann in their main report in 1999: While the "biosphere people" would have brought about a disturbed relationship with nature and the crisis of the biosphere , the "ecosystem people" are attested to be harmoniously interwoven. In the section “Traditional Societies” the “so-called Primitive peoples ”equated with the ecosystem people.
Discussion, criticism and benefit
The argument against Dasmann's categorization is that paleontologists and archaeologists attribute the extinction of many animals to human influences in prehistoric times (see also overkill hypothesis ) . At least for isolated ecosystems such as islands, this is well documented. Dasmann explained that immigrants into unknown ecosystems first have to gain experience with the new conditions before a sustainable equilibrium can be established.
It is obvious that the division of humanity into only two categories is greatly simplified and just as inadmissible as a strict demarcation between “natural” and “cultured people”. Raymond Dasmann emphasized that most people can be found somewhere in this spectrum and not at the two poles.
The British anthropologist Kay Milton sees the usefulness of the model, however, in the clarification of the historical and ongoing process of the expansion of Western ways of life into all corners of the earth. The change from ecosystem to biosphere people used to be mostly reluctant and violent, today it is increasingly voluntary. The ideal of a responsible “natural man” has at least in some cases contributed to the development of sustainable, local production methods and flows of goods, and the promotion of traditional subsistence farming maintains or strengthens people's sense of responsibility for their immediate environment. Ethnologists discuss whether the "ecological wisdom of primitive peoples" , who live in a traditional way directly from their immediate environment, is reality or fiction. Milton considers ideological debates about it to be counterproductive, because in the current state of mankind it is important to clarify the question scientifically sound: Whatever the result, it will be important for future decisions.
The ideas of nature and the environment that development policy and the economy create often do not match those affected. Without knowledge of the way of life, the traditional knowledge in dealing with natural resources and the world views of those affected, however, all development concepts lack an elementary basis. In this context, the ecologist Madhav Gadgil and the historian Ramachandra Guha adopted Dasmann's category of ecosystem people in 2004 for their book “Ecology and Equity: The Use and Abuse of Nature in Contemporary India” (Ecology and Justice: Use and Abuse of Nature in Modern India). In addition, they created the two categories “Ecological refugees” and “Omnivores” (omnivores, or rather, all-users ).
- According to this definition, more than half of all Indians belong to the ecosystem people : These are not just the indigenous Adivasi , but the entire poor rural population. You have very little money and are completely dependent on the climate and your own ability to satisfy all basic needs with your own hands.
- Ecological refugees are those people who, due to overexploitation and destruction of their immediate environment, are forced to look for another subsistence basis : as dependent farm workers, street vendors or domestic workers. Guha and Gadgil add about a third of the Indian population.
- Ultimately, all-exploiters denote the remaining sixth of all Indians, the beneficiaries of economic development such as rich landowners, entrepreneurs, academics and politicians. They represent the biosphere people of the Dasmanns model.
The current development in India leads to an increasing reduction of resources in favor of the recyclers and to the detriment of the ecosystem people, who are becoming more and more ecological refugees who, moreover, have no possibility to actively influence the development. These remain dependent on the extended family for their care, which leads to further population growth. The vital ecosystems are damaged; both through the introduction of new technologies and consumer products for the benefit of everything recyclers - without the necessary environmental protection or safety standards - as well as through overgrazing and overuse of the ever smaller agricultural areas.
"Primitive peoples", sustainability and role model function
On the one hand, the direct, everyday reliance on an intact environment and the established knowledge of ecological relationships suggest an intimate (chthonic) connection with the earth. On the other hand, however, a number of examples show that chthonic ethnic groups are also strongly attracted to modern achievements. People have always been fascinated by new and obviously effective techniques and behaviors - even if the prevailing societal moral concepts actually demand the preservation of the traditional way of life. The psychologist Arnold Groh assumes that an inevitable feeling of inferiority of indigenous cultures in contact with modern industrial society practically allows hardly any other development than the adoption of the modern way of life and thinking “European behavior and Consumption patterns are establishing themselves in Africa, Asia and Oceania - but not the other way around. ”The fascination for the advantages of technical innovations is, alongside colonialism, proselytizing and globalization, one of the forces driving the dissolution of traditional ways of life.
The ethnologist Martina Grimmig writes: “Even a cursory glance at the relevant literature reveals how much the idea has established itself in circles of international environmental and development policy that traditional usage practices and forms of knowledge of indigenous peoples make a useful contribution to the sustainable management of ecologically problematic zones can. [...] Some narrative characters and images of the indigenous peoples appear in the debates about the destruction of tropical forests with remarkable regularity: The image of the suffering Yanomami, for example, who is waging a silent struggle for survival against disease and nefarious gold diggers; or the topos of the wise Amazonian forest ecologist with whom environmental groups, scientists and entrepreneurs alike endeavor to negotiate translocal and transnational 'partnerships' for the protection of the forest and its biological diversity; [...] "
Since the last third of the 20th century, the idea of the natural man in relation to environmental issues has experienced a revival: indigenous communities - here also often called "primitive peoples" - are traditionally sustainable economic methods or extensive ecological knowledge (partly attributed to a special ethical morality) and a corresponding role model function is said to be.
The British anthropologist Tim Ingold questions the difference between nature and culture. Hunting and gathering societies are not "natural" either, but rather one could say that they "inhabit" their surroundings in interaction with people and non-human agents. In these communications and connections, “the real world is no longer 'nature' [note: as an object], but reveals itself to us as an environment for people”. Ingold works out a role model function of the world access of the hunter-gatherer societies: He suggests "to reverse the hierarchy and to follow the guidance of the hunter-gatherers [...]" Inhabitant ontology gives us a better approach to understanding human existence than its alternative, Western ontology. ”It is better to see the world not as a matter of construction - but as active interaction; not as a matter of building - but of dwelling; not as a view of the world as an object - but as a view of interaction in the world.
The mainly moral role model postulated by Rousseau of the prehistoric indigenous peoples is continued in the approaches of Dasmann, Milton, Goldsmith and Ingold in an ecological and philosophical orientation. It is less related to the concrete actions of today's local communities, but rather to the ancestral role that the environment played for these people before they came into contact with civilization.
Stereotypes and clichés
Today the popular term is sometimes rejected as an idealizing stereotype , especially when used by various non-governmental organizations . It sees this as an equation with the romanticized image of the " noble savage ", an idea dating back to the Enlightenment , which especially with Jean-Jacques Rousseau is associated (see also natural state after Rousseau ) . According to this, man should be good and unspoiled from birth. If he grows up as a member of a "native people", this condition remains, while the influence of civilization is supposed to destroy the alleged "primordial morality" and the harmonious life. The criticism is directed primarily against the creation of such romantic projections , which - often encouraged by appropriate photos - can lead to the formation of stereotypes and clichés .
Delimitation and current discussion of terms
In reality, there are mostly fluid and complex transitions between societies , so that any classification is problematic. As the popular use of the term “primitive peoples” has shown, it is particularly difficult to differentiate between cultural characteristics; especially in a time that is characterized by an increasing concentration of global social ties and an enormous change in culture. In this context, the word component “ -volk ” is to be seen, which does not correctly capture small population groups , which today are simply referred to as whole natural peoples .
The current discussion about the popular concept of primitive people not infrequently refers to other philosophical issues that are related to the associations typical of European thinking for the two categories of "nature and culture" . In this context, representatives of culturalism object to the term “ natural landscape ”: Since humans as “cultural beings” always more or less shape their environment, there would be no ethnic group that did not influence nature in any way. In this respect, basically all habitats on earth are cultural landscapes . According to this logic, there can be neither natural landscapes nor indigenous peoples . In this context, the ethnologist Thomas Bargatzky argues against the notion of “nature-protecting primitive peoples”. He claims that it is precisely the lack of distance from nature that prevents conscious reflection on the influence of humans on their environment . In this sense, "what might look like nature conservation here [...] would be an unintended consequence of certain actions with a different intention."
The fact that near-natural living conditions and behaviors are extremely rare nowadays reinforces the critics, who emphasize that there is no “universal eco-morality” of groups living close to nature that would be preserved as “esoteric secret knowledge” by the so-called “primitive peoples”. For example, a drastic increase in population turns a previously adapted economy into an ecological disaster or the desire for consumer goods requires overproduction , which in turn requires larger cultivation areas, etc. However, global environmental destruction and global warming also endanger the livelihood of many groups of people who still benefit from a live direct, traditionally adapted use of natural resources.
The delimitation of so-called “primitive peoples” is sometimes also done using supposedly primitive technology. However, this notion is wrong: raw materials and energy come from renewable resources, most of which are immediately available and their use requires only a minimal amount of energy. In this way, “pre-industrial” cultures have been predominantly self-sufficient for decades . In contrast, modern technologies almost always require an energy-intensive infrastructure. Development cooperation, which tries to integrate local communities by introducing new production methods into market economy structures, makes their production safer and more efficient, but on the other hand inevitably reduces their economic independence.
Regardless of the question of whether there are cultures with a traditional ecological awareness, subsistence farming (mostly traditional or indigenous) ethnic groups are recognized by the international community of states and non-governmental organizations because of their environmentally friendly production methods.
“Traditional peoples and communities […] are the groups that have so far contributed least to the ecological and climatic threat to the planet. They have developed a large number of ways of life and economy that are adapted to the respective ecosystems. At the same time, it is the groups that suffer particularly from economic development projects as well as ecological and climatic changes. "
To avoid the term "primitive peoples", various new terms were created and defined. They are all adapted to the respective object and therefore differ more or less from one another.
Below are some specific terms for non-industrialized societies without reference to the problematic category terms “nature” or “ people ” that are used today in the scientific fields of anthropology , ethnology , sociology , economics or ecology and by human rights organizations :
- Name in the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity ( UNCED ). This is used to describe groups of people whose traditional ways of life are considered to be environmentally friendly and beneficial for biodiversity . These can be indigenous groups, but also non-indigenous “local communities” that have a subsistence-oriented way of life. The latter are z. B. the quilombolas in Brazil: descendants of former African slaves. The following designation is almost identical:
- Based on a decree of the government of Brazil, the sociologist Dieter Gawora ( University of Kassel : “Research Group on Traditional Peoples and Communities”) uses this term for groups of people who have developed ways of life and economy that are adapted to the respective ecosystem. Here, too, indigenousity is not a mandatory criterion. With its work, the research group would like to help establish the term internationally, as it considers the creation of a legal framework for the protection of such “traditional communities” - in addition to the existing agreements for indigenous peoples - to be important and necessary.
- Groups of people who currently have no or only very little contact with the global consumer society or who consciously avoid it.
- Term introduced by Claude Lévi-Strauss for cultures that actively strive to preserve their social structures and sustainable economic practices that have been tried and tested for generations. Her mythical thinking is considered to be true to life and useful, down to earth and holistic; subjective and animistic . The analyzes of functionalist ethnology and anthropology go in a similar direction. B. by Roy Rappaport , who used the example of the Papuan to describe the stabilizing role of rituals for maintaining the balance in the ecosystem and their effect on increasing social resilience . How resilient “cold cultures” really were to severe environmental changes is of course hardly documented.
- Term that the philosopher Edward Goldsmith used in his “Ecological Manifesto” for earthly cultures that “have retained the worldview of the early days, when people everywhere really knew how to live in harmony with nature.” Similar to Lévi-Strauss Or Dasmann, Goldsmith contrasts these cultures with the state-building, market-oriented and complex networked societies whose development is determined by the ideology of modernization .
- Name for groups whose life is based on ancient traditions. Klaus E. Müller used this to describe “camp and village communities in wild and armed forces , agrarian and nomadic pastoral cultures [...], which at the time of their research had not yet come into contact with modern industrial civilizations . Your life was strictly within the ancestral traditions (hence the term "traditional society") that by the example of our ancestors ( ancestors ) sanctified and were sanctioned by the creation and therefore were considered untouchable. "
- "Societies that do not live in industrial civilization"
- Subdivision of the indigenous peoples by the Institute for Ecology and Action Ethnology
- Natural law ("originated from nature")
- Primitivism , neutralism (ideologies of "return" to pre-industrial way of life or tribal society)
- Survival International
- Institute for Ecology and Action Ethnology eV
- Society for Threatened Peoples
- Save the primitive people
- Wolfgang Reinhard (Hrsg.): Krumme Touren: Anthropology of communicative detours. Böhlau Verlag Vienna, 2007. p. 24.
- Dieter Haller (text), Bernd Rodekohr (illustrations): Dtv-Atlas Ethnologie . 2nd Edition. dtv, Munich 2010. p. 15.
- Ditmar Brock : Life in Societies: From the Origins to the Ancient High Cultures. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften GmbH, 2006. P. 210.
- Bernhard Streck (Hrsg.): Dictionary of Ethnology. 2nd edition, Peter Hammer Verlag, Wuppertal 2000, ISBN 3-87294-857-1 . Pp. 89, 137, 267, 275.
- Gabriele Herzog-Schröder: Nature, primitive people and our longing for the origin. Political ecology. In Politische Ökologie, 9th vol., H. 24, 11/1991, pp. 43–45.
Examples from the mass media for the use of the term "primitive peoples":
- Film by Rudolf Kuzner (director): The last primitive peoples of our earth - The Yalimek in New Guinea. Rough Trade Distribution GmbH, Cologne 2005.
- Website of the association “Rettet die Naturvölker e. V. " .
- Keyword "primitive peoples" on the website of "planet-wissen.de" of the broadcasting stations WDR, SWR and BRalpha .
- Article "Isolated indigenous people are constantly on the run" in "Die Welt" online .
- Article “The messages of primitive peoples” ( Memento from July 12, 2011 in the Internet Archive ). PM magazine online.
- Article “Primitive peoples. The precious knowledge of mothers ” ( Memento of the original from August 26, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . greenpeace magazine 4.07.
Examples of books on "primitive peoples":
- Book by Peter Voss (journalist) : Primitive peoples: Hidden beauties of Africa. Michael Imhof Verlag, 2014.
- Book by Göran Burenhult (Hrsg.): Illustrated history of mankind, primitive peoples today. Bechter coin, 2000.
- Book by Rolf Bökemeier u. Michael Friedel: Primitive People. Encounters with people who will no longer exist tomorrow. Gruner & Jahr, 1991
- Book by Roland Garve a. Frank Nordhausen: Kirahé - The white stranger. On the way to the last indigenous people. Ch. Links Verlag, 2007
- A Google search for “primitive peoples” and “primitive peoples” on September 7, 2013 yielded approximately 497,000 results.
- University of Leipzig: Vocabulary Lexicon ( Memento of the original from September 13, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. “Primitive peoples”: Frequency class 17 (ie the word der is approx. 2 ^ 17 times more common than the word searched for). For comparison: "Indigenous" has frequency class 16.
- Waldemar Stöhr: Lexicon of peoples and cultures as a paperback edition on the basis of the "Westermann Lexicon of Geography". Westermann, Braunschweig 1972, pp. 140-141.
- Michael Schönhuth: Keyword: Naturvolk , Das Kulturglossary online, accessed on June 29, 2015.
- Page: “Terminology” on www.survivalinternational.de . Retrieved June 15, 2013.
- WBU: World in Transition - Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Biosphere. Springer-Verlag, Berlin / Heidelberg 2000, ISBN 3-540-67106-4 , pp. 124-126, 187.
- Gabriela Petersen: The term "primitive people" in ethnology - origin, discussion, theoretical problems. Scientific term paper for obtaining the academic degree of a Magister Artium of the University of Hamburg, published: SUB 934497217, Hamburg 1987, p. 57.
- Georg Bollenbeck: A history of cultural criticism. From Rousseau to Günther Anders. CH Beck, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-406-54796-6 .
- Netherlands including H. Kluin: Het geestesleven der natuurvolken. 's-Gravenhage,' s-Gravenhage 1924.
- Denmark, including National Museum (Denmark). Etnografisk samling: Tropiske naturfolk. JD Qvist & comp. bogtr., København 1940.
- Sweden, including Åke Hultkrantz: Naturfolk och Kulturfolk, Världens länder och folk efter andra världskriget. Sven Dahl, Part I, Stockholm 1947.
- Norway, including Fredrik Chr. Brøgger: "Naturfolk" i teori og praksis: Skildringen av seeds og den nordlige naturen i Knud Rasmussens Lapland (1907). In: Nordlit: Tidsskrift i literature and culture Issue 32 (July 2014), Universitetet i Tromsø. Pp. 99-115.
- Le Grand Robert de langue française. Volume 6, Le Robert, Paris 1985, p. 701.
- Stephan Bühnen: Culture and Cultures in Ulrich Veit, Tobias L. Kienlin, Christoph Kümmel (Ed.): Traces and messages. Waxmann Verlag, Münster 2003, ISBN 978-3830912293 , pp. 495-496, here 494-497.
- Dieter Haller (text), Bernd Rodekohr (illustrations): Dtv-Atlas Ethnologie . 2nd Edition. dtv, Munich 2010. p. 15.
- Andre Gingrich et al. Elke Mader (ed.): Metamorphoses of nature: social anthropological studies on the relationship between worldview and natural environment. Böhlau Verlag Vienna, 2002, ISBN 978-3-205-99499-2 , p. 23.
- K. Grotsch: indigenous peoples / civilized nations. In: Joachim Ritter u. Karlfried founder: Historical dictionary of philosophy. Vol. 6, Basel 1984, Col. 635-641, here: 636.
- Karl Weule: The culture of the cultureless. Kosmos, Stuttgart 1910.
- Grotsch 1984, Col. 637 f.
- Michèle Duchet: Anthropologie et Histoire au siècle des lumières - Buffon, Voltaire, Rousseau, Helvétius, Diderot. Francois Maspero, Paris 1971. p. 37, 180ff (esp. 185), 296.
- Indigenous Peoples and Nature Conservation: Basic Declaration of the WWF .
- Pro REGENWALD e. V. - Preamble and objectives .
- Indigenous peoples today . OroVerde website .
- The Earth Charter (Article 12b) .
- Manuela Zips-Mairitsch: Lost Lands ?: (Land) Rights of the San in Botswana and the Legal Concept of Indigeneity in Africa. LIT Verlag Münster, 2013, Part 2: “Beeing Indigenous in Africa”: Legal Developments of Indigenous Peoples Law in Africa, pp. 79ff.
- Johann Gottfried Herder: Oldest document of the human race. 1774. In: Complete works: On religion and theology. Cotta, Ort 1827, p. 104.
- Johann Gottfried Herder: Ideas for the philosophy of the history of mankind. Text edition, reprinted by Joseph Melzer Verlag, Darmstadt 1966, pp. 201, 233, 238.
- Hans Plischke: From the barbarians to the primitives - The primitive peoples through the centuries. Brockhaus, Leipzig 1925, p. 93 u. no reading list.
- Hildegard Cancik-Lindemaier , Hubert Cancik and Burkhard Gladigow (eds.): Handbook of basic concepts for religious studies. Volume 4, W. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart / Berlin / Cologne 1998, ISBN 3-17-009556-0 , p. 235.
- Lexicon entry: Primitive peoples. In: Wissen.de . Undated, accessed August 26, 2014.
- Johann Christoph Adelung : Naturvolk. In: Derselbe: Grammatical-Critical Dictionary of High German Dialect . Leipzig 1774–1786, column 449 ( online at Digitale-sammlungen.de).
- Oskar Hoffmann: Geography and ethnology, edited by outstanding geographers and ethnographers. Publishing house by FE Bilz, Leipzig undated (approx. 1905). Pp. 50-58.
- K. Grotsch: Tag primitive peoples / civilized nations. In: Joachim Ritter u. Karlfried founder (Hrsg.): Historical dictionary of philosophy. Volume 6: Mo - O, Schwabe Verlag, Basel 1984, pp. 636f.
- Lexicon entry: Primitive peoples. In: Meyers Konversations-Lexikon . Volume 14, Leipzig 1908, pp. 459-460 ( online at zeno.org).
- dictionary of zoology, anthropology and ethnology. Vol. 5, Eduard Trewendt, Breslau 1888. p. 597.
- Friedrich Ratzel: Völkerkunde. Volume 1, Verlag des Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig 1885, p. 10.
- The Big Brockhaus. Handbook of knowledge in 20 volumes. 15th completely revised edition, Volume 13, Leipzig 1932, keyword: "Naturvolk".
- Swiss Lexicon. Encyclios-Verlag, Zurich 1947, keyword “Naturvölker”, pp. 887–889.
- Wilhelm Emil Mühlmann : Races, ethnic groups, cultures. Luchterhand, Neuwied / Berlin 1964. p. 52.
- Josef Franz Thiel: Basic concepts of ethnology. Introductory lectures. Collectanea Instituti Anthropos, St. Augustin 1977, p. 11.
- Michel Panhoff: Pocket Dictionary of Ethnology - Terms and Definitions for Introduction. 2nd Edition. Reimer, Berlin 1982.
- Walter Hirschberg (Ed.): Dictionary of Ethnology. New edition, 2nd edition, Reimer, Berlin 2005. pp. 380–381.
- Lászlo Vajda: Studies on the history of the pastoral cultures. Volume 1. Wiesbaden 1968, p. 10; Ulrich Breitkreuz: Inuit - Greenland: Investigation of the typical dwelling of a primitive culture of today. University of Essen. WS 1972/73. On-line
- "About Us" . In: naturvoelker.de, accessed on August 31, 2014.
- Karl-Heinz Kohl: Ethnology - the science of the culturally foreign. An introduction. CH Beck, Munich 1993. pp. 11-28.
- Ursula Bertels u. Claudia Bußmann / Ethnology in School and Adult Education (ESE) ev. (Hrsg.): Handbuch interkulturelle Didaktik. Waxmann Verlag, Münster 2013, ISBN 978-3-8309-7889-3 . Pp. 143–148, here 143 and 148.
- Brockhaus Encyclopedia. , Vol. 19, 21st edition, Leipzig, Mannheim 2006. p. 411.
- Brockhaus - The pocket dictionary in 24 volumes. Gütersloh, Munich 2010. p. 5244.
- Planet knowledge . Website for the broadcast of the same name by WDR, SWR and BR-alpha. Retrieved September 7, 2013.
- Wissen.de, keyword “Naturvolk” , accessed on September 25, 2014.
- Keyword: “Primitive People” , accessed on September 25, 2014.
- Meyers Lexikon online at enzyklo.de, keyword “Naturvölker” , accessed on September 25, 2014.
- Biology Lexicon on Spektrum.de , accessed on September 25, 2014.
- Raymond Dasmann: Toward a Biosphere Consciousness. In Donald Worster (Ed.): The Ends of the Earth: Perspectives on Modern Environmental History. 2nd edition, Cambridge University Press, New York 1989, ISBN 0-521-34365-8 . Pp. 277-288, especially 277-279.
- Ivana Weber: The nature of nature conservation: how concepts of nature and gender codes determine what is worth protecting. Oekom-Verlag, Munich 2007. ISBN 978-3-86581-082-3 . Section III.2.3: Analysis and criticism of the annual report “Welt im Wandel. Conservation and sustainable use of the biosphere ”of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) from 1999. pp. 189, 198–199.
- Kay Milton: Environmentalism and Cultural Theory: Exploring the Role of Anthropology in Environmental Discourse. Routledge, London 2013, ISBN 9781134821075 . 29-30, 137.
- Sukant Kumar Chaudhury (Ed.): Culture, Ecology, and Sustainable Development. 1st edition. Mittal Publications, New Delhi 2006, ISBN 81-8324-132-8 , pp. 7-25.
- Joachim Radkau: Nature and Power - A World History of the Environment. 2nd Edition. CH Beck, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-406-634932 , pp. 62-70, especially p. 64.
- Antonius Larenz: Eco-Saints or: Renaissance of the primitive peoples. INFOE magazine 1/1992. Pp. 30-32.
- Bernd Herrmann (Ed.): Contributions to the Göttingen Environmental History Colloquium 2009 - 2010. In the Graduate College Interdisciplinary Environmental History. Universitätsverlag Göttingen 2010. p. 91.
- Walter Hirschberg (Ed.): Dictionary of Ethnology. New edition, 2nd edition, Reimer, Berlin 2005. p. 269.
- Bernd Wagner: Cultural Globalization . In: Federal Agency for Civic Education, From Politics and Contemporary History B12 / 2002.
- Thomas Bargatzky : Ethnology - An introduction to the science of the primordial societies. Helmut Buske Verlag, Hamburg 1997. p. 152.
- L. Fischer: Cultural landscape - natural theoretical and cultural sociological examples for a concept. ( Memento of the original from February 22, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. in food for thought . Landscape cult - cultural landscape. , Stiftung Natur und Umwelt Rheinland-Pfalz, No. 6, November 2007, pp. 16–27.
- Klemens Ludwig: Whisper to the rock. Herder, Freiburg 1993. pp. 14-16.
- Monika Neugebauer-Wölk u. Richard Saage (Hrsg.): The politicization of the utopian in the 18th century: From utopian system design to the age of revolution. In: Hallesche Contributions to the European Enlightenment 4. , Max Niemeyer Verlag, Tübingen 1996. P. 76.
- Christian Lauk: Socio-ecological characteristics of agricultural systems. A global overview and comparison. In: Social Ecology Working Paper 78. Institute of Social Ecology, Vienna 2005, . Pp. 4, 17, 367ff.
- Hans P. Elmiger: Energy consumption then and now - burden or opportunity for the energy transition? Seniors University of Lucerne, June 13, 2013, slides 7–11 (lecture slides; PDF file; 2.7 MB; 81 pages on sen-uni-lu.ch).
- Marvin Harris: Cultural Anthropology. A textbook , from the American by Sylvia M. Schomburg-Scherff, Campus, Frankfurt New York 1989, ISBN 3-593-33976-5 . Pp. 83-84, 87-88, 123, 133.
- Marshall Sahlins , quoted in Rhoda H. Halperin: Cultural Economies Past and Present. University of Texas Press, Austin 1994, p. 259.
- Anja von Hahn: Traditional knowledge of indigenous and local communities between intellectual property rights and the public domain. Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law , Springer, Heidelberg a. a. 2004, ISBN 3-540-22319-3 , pp. 47-56.
- Dieter Gawora: Research group traditional peoples and communities . Website of the University of Kassel, Faculty 05 Social Sciences. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
- Topic: Uncontacted Peoples . Website of the organization Survival International . Retrieved June 30, 2013.
- Claude Lévi-Strauss: The wild thinking. Suhrkamp, Berlin 1973. p. 270.
- RA Rappaport: Pigs for the Ancestors. New Haven 1967.
- Klaus E. Müller: Shamanism. Healers, spirits, rituals. 4th edition, CH Beck, Munich 2010 (original edition 1997), ISBN 978-3-406-41872-3 , p. 11 (footnote).
-  . Website of the Institute for Ecology and Action Ethnology, page 2 About INFOE. Retrieved June 29, 2013.
A) Klaus E. Müller: The better and the worse half. Ethnology of the gender conflict. Campus, Frankfurt a. M. - New York 1984, ISBN 3-593-33360-0 .
- Müller, pp. 27f, 42f, 52f, here 52.
- Müller, p. 389, especially 389-391.
- Müller, p. 13.
- Müller, p. 389.
- Müller, p. 52.
- Müller, pp. 394-396.
B) Dieter Gawora, Maria Helena de Souza Ide, Romulo Soares Barbosa (ed.), Mirja Annawald (transl.): Traditional peoples and communities in Brazil. Latin America Documentation Center. Kassel University Press, Kassel 2011.
- Gawora, pp. 19-20.
- Gawora, pp. 13–31, 51.
C) Edward Goldsmith: The Way. An ecological manifesto. Bettendorf, Munich a. a. 1996, ISBN 3-88498-091-2
- Goldsmith, p. 16.
- Goldsmith, p. 16.
- Goldsmith, pp. 94-95, 416-417.
D) Arnold Groh: Cultural change through travel: factors, interdependencies, dominance effects. in "Encounter and Negotiation: Possibilities of a Cultural Change through Travel", edited by Christian Berkemeier, Katrin Callsen and Ingmar Probst, LIT Verlag, Münster 2004.
- Groh, pp. 16-18.
- Groh, p. 17.
- Groh, pp. 13–31.
E) Jan Assmann : The cultural memory: writing, memory and political identity in early high cultures. Beck, Munich 2013.
- Rousseau in Bollenbeck, p. 56.
- Bollenbeck, p. 28.
G) Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Treatise on the origin and foundations of inequality among people . 1754, in Early Writings. Reclam, Leipzig 1970.
- Rousseau, pp. 147f.
- Rousseau, p. 123.
- Rousseau, p. 155 and note 179.
- z. B. Rousseau, pp. 135f. about the savage: "His desires go no further than his physical needs.", "His soul, which is not moved by anything, abandons itself to the mere sensation of its present existence ..."
H) Tim Ingold: Hunting and collecting as ways of perceiving the environment in Andre Gingrich u. Elke Mader (possibly publisher): Metamorphoses of nature: social anthropological studies on the relationship between the worldview and the natural environment. Böhlau Verlag Vienna, 2002, ISBN 978-3-205-99499-2
- Ingold, p. 99
- Ingold, p. 72